by Brendon Lowe
The Reasons That Your Training May Be Hurting You
Those of you that are “die-hard” wrestlers may currently be in a state of disarray. Folkstyle season always brings the comfort and warmth of having an experienced coach telling you how to train and when to do it. Sure, you may do a bit of extra work to gain that competitive advantage, but all he best do. Freestyle and Greco Roman season is a whole different story.
It’s typical for many high school coaches to take a break following the Folkstyle season (I’m NOT saying that they are bad coaches). Now wrestlers are left to their own devices to get the training that they need. This often results in a wrestler going to club practice, lifting weights after school, running at some point in the day, and taking a fitness class at the local gym. More often than not, all of this leads to overtraining.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the dedication and intensity of a hardcore wrestler, because that’s what this sport is about. Society’s values tell us that “more is better,” just look at our so-called role models. Pro athletes and actors/actresses make millions and strive to out-bling the next guy. But in strength and conditioning, this philosophy can be wrestling suicide!
Organization is the cornerstone of a fundamentally sound training regime. For this, we will use a term called periodization. Periodization is the organization of work, not only strength training but also cardiovascular training and recovery training throughout a given year or more. The whole picture, an entire year for example, is known as a macrocycle. The macrocycle will be broken down into shorter time periods called mesocycles. Finally, mesocycles are broken down into microcycles.
A macrocycle is the plan to achieve your long-term goals, such as a state title, reaching the status of All-American, or just perfecting your double-leg shot. Remember, this is what you will train the entire year to achieve.
A mesocycle will be categorized as one of two phases; GPP or SPP. Everyone wants to train sport specifically, and so they miss the crucial skills that are general to many different sports. This refers to the GPP, or General Preparatory Phase. The more sport specific training should be performed during the SPP or Specific Preparatory Phase. The GPP and SPP should be strategically placed throughout the macrocycle according to when you are in season. Each phase or macrocycle can last from one month to seven or eight months. Deciding between GPP and SPP will determine the types of exercises you will do during a given mesocycle. More information about GPP and SPP will be provided in future articles.
Lastly, a microcycle will determine what you will do for a particular week or set of weeks. Microcycles should not be set in stone. Instead, they should be flexible enough to change due to unexpected circumstances, like overtraining. If you feel the effects of overtraining simply change that microcycle to include recovery activities.
When organizing your training remember that more is not always better. Include activities that are conducive to the phase that you are in and this will help prevent overkill. After all, how can you optimize your performance if your abilities are broken down from too much work?
This month’s exercise: The Zercher Squat
1. Begin by holding an Olympic bar in the crooks of your arms at a standing position.
2. Lower your hips to the ground into a squat position where the backs of your thighs are touching your calves.
3. Rise back up to a standing position, pushing through your hips and heels.