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Strength training will help girls prevent injuries

Updated: January 28, 2019

By Zach Even-Esh

It is awesome to see girls wrestling picking up major steam. In New Jersey, there are high school teams with full line-ups of girls! I was just at a youth tournament and saw a lot of girls beating a lot of boys!

The opportunities for girls in wrestling as well as in MMA are likely inspiring a lot of girls and their parents. That being said, we need to make sure girls are training to prepare their mind and body for the rigors of wrestling.

I have heard statistics of female athletes having up to eight times the amount of ACL tears compared to boys, usually from sports like volleyball, soccer and basketball. Case in point: if you’re a parent or coach of female wrestlers, you need to get these girls strong and durable!

Here are some basic exercises that can begin to get implemented now, in season. Do not wait for postseason to implement these exercises. A sample workout is also included below. The exercises below develop strength in the body as well as strengthening the tendons and ligaments. The goal is to improve performance and reduce chances of injuries.

1. Recline Row on Rings / Suspension Trainer (Back Strength / Pulling Strength)

2. Push-Ups (Shoulder Stability, Pushing Strength, Elbow Strength)

3. Lunges & All-Lunge Variations: Alternate Forwards, Reverse Lunges, Walking Lunges & Bulgarian Split Squats (Lower-Body Strength, Knee Strength)

4. Band Face Pulls & Band Pull-Aparts

5. DB Farmer Walks (Full-Body Strength)

6. DB or KB Goblet Squats (Lower-Body Strength & Core Strength)

7. Side Planks & Front Planks (Core Strength)

8. Jumping Rope (Speed Work, Agility, Foot Strength & Ankle Stability)

Here are sample introductory workouts to be performed AFTER a thorough warm-up.

Workout 1

1A – Recline Row 5 x 8 reps

1B – Push-Ups 5 x 8 reps

1C – Band Face Pulls 5 x 15 reps

2A – Reverse Lunges 3 x 10 / 10 each leg

2B – DB Farmer Walk 3 x 150 ft.

3A – Jump Rope 4 x 100 reps

3B – Band Pull-Aparts 4 x 15 reps

3C – Side Planks 4 x 20 / 20 seconds each side

Workout 2

1A – KB Goblet Squat 5 x 5

1B – Push-Ups 5 x 5

2A – Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 10 / 10 each leg

2B – KB Farmer Walks 3 x 150 ft.

3A – Recline Row 3 x 10 reps

3B – Band-Face Pulls 3 x 20 reps

The above workouts are beginner / introductory workouts. They can be made harder by adding resistance to lunges or adding reps to the calisthenics. As always, technique is number one. Do not sacrifice technique for intensity.

The best way to improve wrestling performance is to improve wrestling technique. The best way to make a dramatic jump on how effective your technique is, is to add greater strength and power to your wrestling skills.

If you’re ready to take your wrestling seriously, then be prepared to add two or three strength and conditioning sessions a week in the off-season, one or two times a week in season with shorter sessions.

Feel free to reach out with questions. Good luck!

(Zach Even-Esh is a sports performance coach who specializes in training wrestlers. Zach has written the and runs the in N.J. For consulting or coaching, e-mail  

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