For those of us that are involved in professional sport, managing the off-season and pre-season periods can be difficult at the best of times for the standard team or athlete competing from September – May. How much time an athlete needs in the off-season is always planned, but often comes down to subjective feelings of the athlete & coach, and guesswork! How much off-season should a pro-footballer take in May when The World Cup is just around the corner? How long is the ideal pre-season; four weeks, six weeks, 7 weeks? Perhaps a sensible comment is that professional footballers, basket-ballers and rugby players have the luxury of a structured season where they can break the year down into general and specific phases, beginning with the off-season and peaking at a certain point in the year.

However, there are sports where the concepts off-season/pre-season are virtually non-existent. The athlete competes all year around and must stay fast, strong, flexible and maintain endurance without peaks and troughs. Tennis is one such sport: an athlete must be fit all year round to compete in 25-30 tournaments per year including the  four Grand Slam peaks. Tennis players defend points accumulated in the year previous based on results. If a player loses points, he/she loses ranking, and this has implications for getting into a tournament or not. Tennis is a very tough sport physically and mentally, as a player cannot afford a drop in form at any point. The same principle applies to wrestling, where an athlete must fight 180-250 days per year, and maintain top physical condition. Our amateur turned pro expert “Maxer” talks to us here about his training cycles. 

Professional wrestling is unlike most forms of other sports. Most sports may work off a 2 – 3 month preparation cycle to get into peak condition and work off that for the rest of the season. Unfortunatly with professional wrestling we have no days off, we have to be in peak condition all year round. It is extremely difficult and very demanding. If you throw injuries into the mix, it’s one of the most demanding sports around. I use three different types of training regimes to keep me conditioned: 1. Death Circuit 2. Weight/Resistance training 3. Dojo/Wrestling training.


1. Death Circuit: Two or three times a week I will do a 20min death circuit (length of a typical wrestling match). I take a number of functional moves and exercises that would be typically found in a wrestling match or that are relevant to wrestling, and do as many as possible in forty seconds, I try fatigue my body through this exercise followed by an active rest then again followed by work. I try mimmick a match as most sports are start/stop, start/stop. If I can fatigue my body and exercise in my fatigue zone for 20 minutes, then my aerobic and cardio capacity for a wrestling match should be of high standard, like any sport. 


2. Resistance training: This is for many reasons, these days weight training and sport come hand in hand. It increases my explosive power, my muscle endurance and my strength, components that are necessary for all sports, e.g. American football and rugby. Just as in American football and rugby, I need to protect my skeletel frame and organs as I take many, many knocks and slams day in day out. 3. Unlike many other sports weight training in wrestling is used for aesthetics, ‘look’ is part of the job.


3. Dojo/wrestling training: This is to keep our fitness at an optimul level and fine tune our skills, and make sure there is never any ‘ring rust’.


So there you have it! In our next article from Sean, he breaks down the precise details of 1,2,3 above. Thanks “Maxer”!