Can Wrestlers Lift Weights? (Read THIS First!)

As wrestlers it’s important to be strong enough to maneuver your opponent, but also agile enough to escape them if needed. With this in mind, can and should you lift weights as a wrestler?

Can Wrestlers Lift Weights?

Wrestlers can lift weights as weightlifting can help improve their strength, endurance, and overall performance. However, it’s for wrestlers who lift weights not to sacrifice their quickness and flexibility for size and strength when lifting weights.

Weightlifting plays a vital role in a wrestler’s training regimen for several reasons:

  1. Strength development: Lifting weights helps wrestlers build muscle and increase their overall strength. A stronger wrestler can generate more force in their movements and apply more pressure on their opponents, making it challenging for the opponent to execute their techniques effectively.
  2. Injury prevention: By incorporating strength training, wrestlers can develop a balanced physique, reducing the risk of injuries resulting from muscle imbalances or weaknesses. Strong muscles can better support joints and tendons, helping to protect them from strains or tears during intense competition.
  3. Explosiveness: Weightlifting can help wrestlers develop power and explosiveness, which are critical for executing takedowns, escapes, and reversals. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, and power cleans are especially beneficial for developing the fast-twitch muscle fibers needed for explosive movements.
  4. Endurance: Wrestlers need muscular endurance to maintain their performance levels throughout an entire match. Weightlifting, combined with proper conditioning, can help build the necessary endurance to prevent fatigue and maintain a high level of performance during competition.
  5. Grip strength: Lifting weights can improve grip strength, which is crucial in wrestling for securing holds, controlling opponents, and preventing escapes. Exercises like deadlifts, pull-ups, and farmer’s walks can help wrestlers develop a stronger grip.
  6. Body composition: Weightlifting can help wrestlers achieve a more favorable body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body fat. This can be especially beneficial for wrestlers who need to maintain a specific weight class while maximizing their strength and performance.

To maximize the benefits of weightlifting, wrestlers should follow a well-structured and periodized training program that takes into account their specific goals, strengths, and weaknesses.

Working with a knowledgeable coach or trainer can help ensure that the athlete is performing the appropriate exercises with proper form and technique, reducing the risk of injury and optimizing their results on the mat.

How Often Should Wrestlers Lift Weights?

Wrestlers should lift weights 3-4 times per week during the off-season, and 2-3 times per week during the season. The frequency with which wrestlers should lift weights also depends on factors such as a wrestlers level of experience, the time of year (off-season vs. in-season), and their individual goals.

Here are some additional details to consider when determining the ideal weightlifting frequency for a wrestler:

  1. Experience level: Beginners should start with a lower frequency, around 2-3 times per week, to allow their bodies to adapt to the stress of weightlifting. As they gain experience and build a foundation of strength, they can gradually increase their frequency to 3-4 times per week.
  2. Off-season training: During the off-season, when wrestlers are not actively competing, they can focus on building strength, muscle mass, and improving their technique. At this time, they can lift weights 3-4 times per week, allowing for ample rest and recovery between sessions.
  3. In-season training: During the competitive season, the primary focus should be on maintaining strength, improving technique, and ensuring adequate recovery between matches. Wrestlers should aim to lift weights 2-3 times per week during this period, with an emphasis on maintaining intensity while reducing overall volume.
  4. Individual goals: A wrestler’s specific goals should also be taken into account when determining their weightlifting frequency. For example, a wrestler looking to increase muscle mass may need to lift weights more frequently than someone focusing on maintaining their current weight class.
  5. Recovery: Wrestlers should prioritize rest and recovery to avoid overtraining and ensure optimal performance. Proper nutrition, sleep, and active recovery techniques (such as stretching and foam rolling) should be incorporated into their routine to support muscle repair and growth.

A sample wrestler’s lifting schedule might look like this:

MondayUpper bodyRest
TuesdayLower bodyLower body
ThursdayUpper bodyUpper body
FridayLower bodyRest

This schedule is just an example, and a wrestler’s specific training plan should be tailored to their individual needs and goals.

Consulting with a coach or experienced strength and conditioning professional can help wrestlers develop an effective weightlifting program that supports their progress in the sport.

What Lifts Are Best For Wrestlers?

The best lifts for wrestlers are:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Pull-Ups
  • Power Cleans


Squats are a fundamental exercise for building leg strength, which is crucial for wrestlers who need powerful takedowns and explosive movements. They target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, as well as the lower back and core.


Deadlifts target the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. These muscles are essential for maintaining a strong base, driving through takedowns, and maintaining control of an opponent.

Bench Presses

Bench press helps develop upper body strength, specifically targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This exercise can improve a wrestler’s ability to apply force when pushing or controlling an opponent on the mat.


Pull-ups are an excellent upper body exercise that targets the back and biceps, essential muscles for pulling and gripping opponents. Developing these muscles can enhance a wrestler’s ability to secure takedowns, maintain control, and escape from challenging positions.

Power Cleans

Power cleans are a full-body exercise that develops explosive power and coordination. This exercise helps wrestlers generate force quickly, which is vital for successful takedowns, lifts, and other dynamic movements during a match.

Should Wrestlers Lift Weights?

Weightlifting offers numerous benefits for wrestlers, making it an essential component of their training regimen. Incorporating weightlifting into a wrestler’s training program is crucial for unlocking their full potential in the sport.

A comprehensive training approach that combines weightlifting, technique practice, conditioning, and flexibility work will create a well-rounded wrestler prepared to excel in competition.

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