Updated: Oct 8, 2018
If you want to look at what great flexibility can do for a wrestler, look no further than John Smith, an Olympic wrestling champion. His flexibility and smoothness would have him out-maneuver his opponents every time. Check out this YouTube video of him wrestling in the 1988 Olympic Trials.
Stretching and flexibility are often the most overlooked aspects in wrestling and in most other sports.
The truth is that flexibility is more important than you may ever realize. Dan Gable rates flexibility among his “7 essential ingredients of good wrestling”. In his book Coaching Wrestling Successfully he details how “using one’s flexibility to get into certain positions normally not attacked makes a wrestler feel very powerful” (pg 63). And he’s right! Just like strength, flexibility will give you that extra advantage that makes your wrestling just feel “easier”.
Also- have you ever tried scoring on someone with ridiculous flexibility? If you won or lost, think back to how hard it was to finish a takedown as they smoothly and painlessly resisted.
Like most wrestlers, I don't enjoy fluff in my workouts. I could never take stuff like "yoga at the beach" or "YouTube" yoga seriously. I want to get in, improve the machine that is my body, and get out. So I'm going to share to you my favorite non-fluff resource to learn and practice from.
Disclaimer: I am in no way being paid to promote Bodybuilding.com. I honestly think it's an amazing resource to share to wrestlers.
I used to bodybuild and the reason I left it was because I felt like it was a beauty pageant- not a sport. Other than the photos, you don't really have to worry about that stuff on BodyBuilding.com. It would be safe to say that it is the world's most extensive online library on exercise and nutrition. You can view videos, read articles, and even track your workouts to learn all you need.
The flexibility specific resources I really suggest that you look at is their 100+ stretching exercise list here - https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/finder/?exercisetypeid=3
It's so easy! Check a muscle group that you want to see on the left side and watch through a video walkthrough of each exercise. I suggest to mix and match 14 at the end of each workout and at the beginning of each day for your own customized sessions. I have plenty of lower back pain, so I really hit the hamstrings and back stretches pretty well.
I also suggest that you you follow this workout, (video below) by Ashley Conrad for 20 minutes every day or every other day. Add up all those minutes to account for a year, and you'll see how flexible you can really become.
After stretching after your workout or practice, cool down with some light cardio to get the blood pumping. If you can, also hit the sauna or hot shower to reward yourself for your hard workout and taking care of your body. This will also promote a faster recovery. Feel the endorphins rush!
I hope this information has helped you begin your journey to become a better wrestler, athlete, and person for taking care of your body. If you want to more help like this, please be sure to subscribe to the blog to not miss out on the next content to help you #DefyDefeat.
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