Does Wrestling Build Muscle? (What To KNOW!)

Besides being a fun sport to compete in, wrestling also is a great way to stay in shape. In this article I go over how effective wrestling is at building muscle.

Does Wrestling Build Muscle?

Wrestling can build muscle, especially in the upper body and core, as it requires strength, endurance, and explosive power for moves like takedowns and escapes. However, adequate nutrition and strength training outside of wrestling practice are also important factors in building muscle mass.

Wrestling also engages the muscles in the legs, which are used for balance and stability during matches. Strong legs can provide a solid foundation for the upper body movements, making the wrestler more effective in executing moves and defending against opponents.

Additionally, wrestling involves a lot of cardiovascular activity, which can help to burn fat and reveal the muscle definition underneath.

However, it’s important to note that adequate nutrition is critical to building muscle mass. Wrestlers need to consume enough calories and protein to fuel their training and recovery, as well as to support muscle growth.

Not only that, they need to avoid processed foods and sugars which can cause inflammation and fat gain. For wrestlers looking to add muscle, it’s crucial to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.

Strength training outside of wrestling practice can also help to build muscle by targeting specific muscle groups and allowing for more focused and intense workouts. But sticking just to wrestling, here are the main muscle groups worked by wrestlers.

Main Muscles Worked In Wrestling

The main muscle groups worked by wrestlers are:

  • Upper Body (arms, shoulders, chest, and back)
  • Core
  • Lower Body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves)

Upper Body

Wrestling involves a lot of grappling, holding positions, and takedowns, which require significant upper body strength. The muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest, and back are all heavily engaged during wrestling.

When you have wrestled someone, regardless if you were wrestling in a competition or for fun, you have probably felt this. When you are wrestling it literally feels like every muscle in your upper body is being used.


The core muscles are also heavily utilized in wrestling, as they help to maintain balance and stability during matches. The muscles in the abdomen, lower back, and hips are all important for executing moves and defending against opponents.

This is why you may have noticed that a lot of wrestling drills and exercises you do engage your core. When it comes to balance and stability, the core is the most important part of a wrestlers body and so it is important to build a core that is strong and flexible.

Lower Body

The muscles in the legs are important for maintaining a solid base and providing power for moves like takedowns and escapes. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves are all worked during wrestling.

Many people don’t realize this, but strong legs are actually crucial to being a good wrestler. Once you start wrestling, you’ll notice your legs become more toned and muscular.

Additionally, if you want to be a stronger, more agile wrestler, strengthening your legs is crucial. But if wrestling builds muscle, do you still need to lift weights?

Do You Still Need To Lift Weights While Wrestling?

You should still lift weights while wrestling, regardless of the muscle you are building from wrestling. While wrestling can help to build muscle, incorporating strength training and weightlifting outside of wrestling practice can be beneficial for maximizing muscle growth and performance.

Lifting weights can target specific muscle groups and allow for more focused and intense workouts, which can help to increase strength and power on the mat.

Additionally, weightlifting can allow for more focused and intense workouts, as wrestlers can adjust the weight and repetitions to target specific muscle groups and work towards their individual goals.

Strength training can also help to prevent injury by strengthening the muscles and connective tissues around joints, reducing the risk of strains, sprains, and other injuries.

However, it’s important to balance weightlifting with proper recovery and nutrition to avoid overtraining and injury.

Wrestlers should aim to incorporate strength training exercises that complement their wrestling practice, such as compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and bench press, as well as accessory exercises like pull-ups, dips, and core work.

A proper warm-up and cool-down, as well as stretching and foam rolling, can also help to prevent injury and improve recovery. Adequate nutrition, including sufficient protein and calories, is also crucial to support muscle growth and recovery.

Overall, while wrestling can help to build muscle, incorporating strength training and weightlifting into a wrestler’s training regimen can be beneficial for maximizing muscle growth and performance, as long as it is done in a safe and balanced manner.

When deciding on what exercises to perform as a wrestler, it’s always best to speak to your personal coach or trainer.

Every wrestler has different goals and what those goals are will determine what type of exercises a wrestler should perform. For example, a wrestler trying to lose weight would perform different exercises and different reps than a wrestler who is trying to gain weight.

Does Wrestling Increase Testosterone?

Wrestling can increase testosterone levels, as it is a high-intensity, physically demanding sport that requires strength and endurance. Testosterone is a hormone that is associated with muscle growth and recovery, and studies have shown that wrestlers often have higher testosterone levels than non-athletes.

However, the extent to which wrestling specifically increases testosterone levels is not well understood and may vary depending on individual factors such as diet, sleep, and stress.

Does Wrestling Make You Faster?

Wrestling can help to improve speed and agility, as it involves quick movements and changes in direction. The sport requires a combination of speed, strength, and endurance, and wrestlers often develop explosive power and quick reflexes.

If you know wrestlers, or if you have wrestled yourself, you have probably noticed this. Wrestlers seem to always be quick and explosive in their movement.

However, it should come as no surprise that wrestling makes you more agile, especially when you consider the training they go through and the movements that take place within the sport.

Looking For Gear To Use When You Train?
If you are interested in training Wrestling, here is some of the gear I recommend:
Best Ear Guards(Headgear)
Best Mouth Guard
Best Wrestling Shoes
Best Groin Protection
Want To Learn To Fight, But Don’t Want To Go In Person?
CoachTube has online training videos for Wrestling, Boxing, MMA and more. And best part is you can do it all from your home allowing you to go at your own pace. Check them out here.
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