Avoid the ‘yo-yo’ effect in your preseason training

Updated: September 27, 2018

The following appeared in the latest issue of Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine. To subscribe to WIN, go to WIN-Magazine.com or call 888-305-0606.

By Zach Even-Esh

I have a quote that constantly runs through my mind: If you’re always ready, you never have to get ready!

What does this mean? It’s simple. It came about after seeing wrestlers and other athletes train with an on/off system. They show up only in the off-season or only in the pre-season. They always have a few months of skipping workouts. Those skipped workouts create a “yo-yo” effect, which is the worst place to be as an athlete.

It looks like this: The athlete begins training and get stronger, faster, tougher. The athletes stops training and, after two weeks, the “detraining” effect begins. The athlete gets weaker, loses confidence, and loses power and overall performance declines.
Then, the athlete returns, and the yo-yo journey begins again, up and down, never a consistent increase in performance because the athlete is always starting over again from square one.

Here’s another quote for you, from my friend Mark Bell: Either You’re In Or You’re in the Way!

I understand coaches have to be careful with saying things that offend kids nowadays, but the truth is, we’re simply talking about basic fundamentals here: showing up, being consistent, giving your best effort, not having ridiculous excuses and being accountable and reliable.

In addition to training, you must understand, it’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it. Remember, every college wrestling program knows doubles, singles, cradles, etc. But Ohio State and Penn State are consistently winning so it must be how they do everything.

So technique matters when you’re doing the basic exercises such as squats, pull-ups, push-ups, lunges, bent-over rowing. Intensity matters!

If you want this to be your best season ever, then this pre-season needs to be consistent in training and your overall lifestyle. The food you eat, the social circles you choose to be part of and your overall lifestyle all counts.

And looking ahead, if you plan on being “too busy” or “too tired” in season for your strength work, then the competition will gain the edge. It takes two weeks for the detraining effect to begin. Training is an all-year commitment for champions. For the average wrestler, they only train out of convenience.

For your pre-season training, organize three training sessions a week; two of them in the weight room and the third session should be a conditioning day with circuits and sprints blended together. Swimming or biking can also be part of your conditioning day.

On strength days, focus on technique, using a full range of motion on all exercises as well as proper body mechanics. I see lots of round-back dead-lifts and half-rep calisthenics. You don’t get one point for almost scoring a takedown so apply that same mentality to training. You either do it correctly or it doesn’t work. No results from half-reps.

The smarter you train, the more successful you will become this season. If you remain consistent, you will not end up in desperation mode like too many wrestlers who suddenly cram and try to squeeze in three months of training into two weeks before the end of the season.

(Zach Even-Esh is a strength & performance coach for wrestlers all over the world. He does a training piece for WIN each month. New Jersey wrestlers can visit https://UndergroundStrengthClub.com and coaches can visit http://WorkoutsThatWIN.com for more info.)