Explosive Power Training for Wrestling

By: Dickie White
Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 1

Limits of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty:
This manual is designed to provide information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not rendering medical advice or other medical/health services. You must consult your physician prior to starting any exercise program or if you have any medical condition or injury that contraindicates physical activity. These exercises and programs are designed for healthy individuals and the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. The author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this Ebook. Don’t lift heavy weights if you are alone, inexperienced, injured, or fatigued. If you experience any lightheadedness, dizziness, or shortness of breath while exercising, stop and consult a physician. Mention of specific companies, organizations, or authorities in this E-book does not imply endorsement by the author.

Copyright Notices:
This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. Any unauthorized transfer, use, sharing, reproduction, sale, or distribution of these materials by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise is prohibited. No part of this manual may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, without the expressed written consent of the author. Published under Copyright Laws of the Library of Congress of The United States of America, by: Dickie White 2 Tracy St. Binghamton, NY 13905 Got-Dickie@Hotmail.com

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Quick Thank You/Intro
First off, I’d like to thank you for downloading this E-book. I’m putting this together with confidence (based on the years of experience I have training wrestlers at all levels) that it will help take your wrestling performance to the next level. With as much information as there is available on the Internet, in the locker room, from the jacked guy at your gym, from all the bodybuilding magazines, etc. I am humbled that you have chosen to improve your performance on the mat with my knowledge and programs. Years ago (but not that many!) it was a common belief that if you wanted to improve your performance as a wrestler, all you had to do was wrestle more. While this is partially true, we know now that there are a number of components that go into improving your performance as a wrestler. However, in the past, prominent figures in the physical education field, in addition to old school coaches, believed and preached that lifting weights would make wrestlers “muscle bound” or “bulked up” and therefore too clumsy and slow to perform well on the mat. But as years passed and a new age of wrestling emerged, these dogmatic beliefs slowly started to fade away. Modern wrestling has evolved to a higher level and the athleticism and abilities as today’s modern warriors of the mat keep getting better. Gone are the days when you can get away with wrestling during the winter season and be as successful as some of today’s new age wrestlers. With the constant improvement in the performances of wrestlers as a whole, an increasing demand has emerged for high level strength and conditioning plans focused on maximizing strength, power, and speed on the mat. Today most coaches and wrestlers generally believe that various forms of resistance training create stronger and more powerful wrestlers in addition to decreasing the risk of sustaining an injury on

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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the mat. But while that concept is almost universally accepted in our sport, the methods used to best improve strength and power is what seems to be causing the controversy nowadays. Unfortunately, there remain people in the wrestling community that argue against the use of weightlifting and explosive training for wrestlers, and athletes in general, due to the possibility of injury. It’s important to keep in mind that there is nothing inherently dangerous about traditional resistance training movements. As you know, injuries during training can occur under all sorts of conditions, including the use of “safer” machines. There is no doubt that mastering complex barbell and dumbbell movements is more difficult than simply sitting on a machine and performing an exercise within a fixed range of motion, but then again so is mastering a Standing Granby Roll as compared to a Stand-Up. A machine has a fixed range of motion which will restrict you from doing anything but what it was designed for you to do. A barbell or dumbbell, on the other hand, needs constant focus and feedback- just like what is needed to be successful on the mat! The true key to avoiding injury during training is to know how to perform the exercises properly and, preferably, to perform them in a professionally supervised setting. As it turns out, the ability to produce force against an external resistance is dependent upon the speed at which the wrestler is trained. What this means is that if heavy weights are lifted at a slow speed, the wrestler will get good at lifting at that speed. Therefore, slow deadlift training will not necessarily make for an improved Clean. However, if a wrestler gets good at lifting at a faster speed, as in a Power Clean or other explosive lift with external resistance, he’ll get good at generating force at that faster rate of speed.


The rate of speed that is trained in the weight room is the rate of speed

to which we get accustomed to generating.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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But this idea only works well in one direction. Strength developed at slow speeds can only be effectively used slowly. However, strength developed at fast speeds can be used effectively at both fast and slow speeds! So of course the next question is why then should I perform lifts such as the squat at slower speeds, if I am training for an explosive sport like wrestling? The reason is because there are slow and isometric (stalemate) situations in wrestling that are best overcome by developing strength through the usage of maximal weight and slower speeds (these lifting techniques and programs are detailed in my Wrestler Strength System at www.wrestlerstrength.com) . The bottom line is this- both types of training are necessary, and both contribute to the development of one another. For example, who has the greater potential to be explosive- a wrestler who deadlifts 500 pounds or a wrestler who deadlifts 200 pounds. With this in mind, coaches and wrestlers alike have begun searching for the ultimate power training system for wrestlers. Consequently, Olympic weightlifting, their dumbbell derivatives, and plyometrics have become commonly utilized methods to developing speed and power in wrestlers (after all Olympic weightlifters are arguably the most explosive athletes on the planet so they must be doing something right!) Explosive Power Training for Wrestling is written for wrestlers and coaches who are looking to better understand how to maximize both power and speed on the wrestling mat. Through a better understanding of how and why these various methods of increasing power and speed are performed, you’ll be able to safely and effectively incorporate them into your training program for maximal gains! When learned and developed properly, explosive weightlifting and power training movements will contribute to an improved wrestling performance. One of the focuses of Explosive Power Training for Wrestling is to effectively teach and demonstrate the various movements that will lead to the increases in power, speed, and explosiveness that you’re looking for. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 5

So if you’re ready to learn the proper techniques to all of the exercises that are going to give you an explosive edge on the mat, then let’s get started!

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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My Two Cents
…But, before I begin, I’d like to first offer my thoughts on the Olympic lifts. I think if there are ways around them, that you should consider those ways. I’ve found the Olympic lifts to be fairly difficult for any of my wrestlers except for the most athletic to learn and show good technique with (which is why I have detailed the Clean and Jerk as much as I have, we never do BB Snatches though). Additionally, because they are difficult to master, they become difficult to derive the maximal benefits from (in this case explosive power). The purpose of using traditional Olympic lifts in strength and conditioning programs is to develop powerful triple extension. Triple extension is defined as the simultaneous extension of the ankle, knee, and hip. Triple extension in wrestling is in your drive leg when taking a shot, when you stand up with to get off the bottom, when you sprawl to keep an opponent from advancing his leg attack, when you lift an opponent to return them to the mat after a stand up, during various throws including headlocks, etc. In a nutshell, triple extension is found EVERYWHERE in wrestling. For further discussion on this check out the series of blog posts I wrote starting at- http://www.wrestlerpower.com/training-for-wrestling/ However, what I’ve found over my years of using them with my wrestlers (I tend to introduce them during their senior year before they go to college so they show proficiency at them and don’t fall behind during their Freshman year) is that they’re too concerned with catching the weight in the rack position. Because I feel they’re more focused on catching the weight rather than aggressively throwing their hips in and powering the bar up with explosive triple extension, I don’t feel as though they get the maximal benefits of the Clean. As a result, I tend to favor a few derivatives of the Olympic lifts as well as a few alternatives to generate explosive power in wrestlers.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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So why then am I detailing the Olympic lifts first in this E-Book? I am doing so because they are still widely used in a large number of strength and conditioning programs for wrestlers around the world. It would be completely irresponsible of me to not include some information and descriptions on the Olympic lifts even though I usually implement different methods to increase explosive power. Are my methods superior? No, not necessarily. However, I think it is worth mentioning that at the time of writing this, in the last 5 years of training wrestlers, 3 of my clients have won NCAA Division 1 National Titles- Troy Nickerson (125lbs in 2009), J.P. O’Connor (157lbs in 2010), and a 3rd (2010-2012, I can’t mention his name until he graduates due to NCAA compliance rules). That means that 20% of the 2010 NCAA National Champions were past clients!! Anyway, enough of that; let’s get into it!

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Hang Clean
The term “power” as a qualifier in front of an exercise refers to an abbreviated version of a more involved and complicated exercise. In the case of the Power Clean, it simply means finishing the lift in a standing position as opposed to a full front squat as you would see in the Olympics. Before I get any further into this section, I want to first differentiate between a Power Clean and a Hang Clean because I oftentimes use the terms interchangeably. While a Power Clean finishes in the standing position, it is started with the bar on the ground. A Hang Clean is performed from a standing position, and therefore is not only easier to learn but also transfers easier to your performance on the mat (most of the power you generate in wrestling is from a standing position, so it makes sense to me that developing power from this position will optimally carryover). Here is a quick video of me performing my preferred variation of the Clean for wrestlers, the Hang Clean- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4UVZTw_hec The reason the Cleans are so popular in wrestling strength and conditioning programs is because they increase explosive power and, when done correctly, many believe Cleans to be the best exercise for converting the strength obtained during other exercises into power. Since the very nature of wrestling is explosive, developing the ability to accelerate your body and/or an opponent’s body is paramount to success. The Hang Clean requires pulling the barbell up fast and high enough using power generated by the hips and legs in an effort to catch it in the rack position. As a result, typically, the faster the barbell comes up, the higher it will go and the higher the bar can be pulled the more weight can be cleaned. Additionally, the higher the bar can be pulled to the shoulders is a direct result of power being Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 9

generated by the legs and hips, the two primary areas we’re looking to target to make you a faster and more powerful wrestler! The reason I support the use of finishing Hang Cleans in a standing position versus a Front Squat is because I’ve found a traditional Clean to put too much emphasis on getting under the bar and catching it in a full Front Squat position. This is a BIG mistake I made in college. By focusing on finishing in a deep Front Squat, I learned the hard way that you end up taking the focus off of maximizing your power output to pull the bar as high as possible. As a result, while my Clean increased, I didn’t notice my explosive power getting any better on the mat. Since the purpose of using the Clean as a means to improve your performance on the mat, I believe the Hang Clean is the best variation of the Clean for maximizing speed and power in wrestlers! To further support this, past research studies have shown that vertical jump performance is predictive of sports proficiency (in your case, your ability to perform at a high level as a wrestler) and that Hang Clean performance is predictive of vertical jump performance as it has a direct and positive correlation with the vertical jump. Therefore, the Hang Clean (and other Explosive Power Training lifts) is believed by many to be the lift that bridges the gap between the strength and conditioning program to on the mat performance! Alright now that we’ve covered how and why the Hang Clean (and other explosive power exercises) is most often used in wrestling strength and conditioning programs, let’s now get into a stepby-step breakdown of the technique.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Power Position
All of the Olympic lifts are developed around your Power Position. Your Power Position is individually specific, but is easy for anyone to find. To get into your Power Position, simply lower yourself into the same position you would as if I instructed you to perform a max vertical jump. Once you have identified your Power Position, you are ready to start developing your Explosive Power Training Plan as this is the position that all of the movements will center around. And why wouldn’t they, right? I mean, if you are using a vertical jump to measure the effectiveness of your explosive power production, wouldn’t it make sense that the movements you’re training center around the power you can generate from your Power Position?! This is why my wrestlers have been able to get so explosive without doing many traditional Olympic lifts. All of the lower body explosive power training movements that they perform is all based upon their ability to generate maximal power from the Power Position.

This is the key to success

of any exercise aimed at increasing explosive power!

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Learning the Hang Clean
The Hang Clean is most often taught from the top down. This means that the rack position (when the bar is resting across your shoulders) is taught first and then the subsequent parts are introduced after the wrestler shows good technique at each stage. When the rack position becomes comfortable, you’ll simply slide down a little at a time into the full Hang Clean, making the eventual transition from partial movements to the full thing. When learning how to perform a Hang Clean be sure to avoid muscling the weight up. Wrestlers often have the tendency to do this with the lighter weights that are be used to learn the technique. Instead, focus on developing smooth technique, just like you would learn a new wrestling move. During the preliminary stages to learning the Hang Clean, you must become comfortable with holding the bar in the Rack. However, due mostly to flexibility issues, many wrestlers who first try learning the Hang Clean have a difficult time getting into the proper position. Don’t rush this process and instead take the necessary time to develop the required flexibility. Don’t worry, I’ll show you lots of exercises that will develop the explosive power you’re looking for that you can use during the time it takes you to get comfortable under the bar.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Front Squat
The Front Squat is introduced as the first exercise in most Clean instructional sequences. While the technique for the Front Squat is not important for improving your Hang Clean (because you finish a Hang Clean in an athletic stance, not in a full Front Squat), it is definitely still the best way to begin teaching any variation of the Clean because it gets wrestlers comfortable in the Rack position. Additionally, it’s a great builder of lower body strength and flexibility as well as core stability. To begin a Front Squat, place a bar at about shoulder height in a power rack. Take double overhand grip on the bar about a thumb length away from the start of the knurling (this will be individually specific and is dependent upon flexibility and comfort levels). Rotate your elbows under the bar as you step both feet under it. Because you may not have the flexibility for it immediately, your elbows may point slightly outward and your triceps may not be parallel to the ground. Lock your core and squat the bar off of the rack by standing straight up. Take a step back with both feet and position them on the floor a little wider than hip width apart with your toes pointed out slightly. Begin the exercise by driving your hips back and bending at the knees so that you begin to squat straight down. As you lower yourself focus on keeping your feet flat and your knees out. Once you have lowered yourself to a parallel position (tops of thighs parallel to the ground) or below parallel position squat back up to the starting position. On the way up put extra emphasis on driving your elbows up as you drive with your legs. This will prevent you from falling forward and/or losing your balance. When you’ve completed your set, return the bar to the hooks. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStPjvF8DzQ If you are having trouble getting low with the Front Squat, or any Squat for the matter, check out these links to some of my past blog posts about hip and lower body flexibility: Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 13

http://www.wrestler-power.com/strength-wrestling-diagnostic-tip/ http://www.wrestler-power.com/squat-stripper/ http://www.wrestler-power.com/proper-hamstring-stretching/ http://www.wrestler-power.com/positional-release-wrestling/ http://www.wrestler-power.com/2-positional-releases-wrestlers/ Once you are comfortable with the Front Squat, you are ready to move on.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
To begin this exercise, place a barbell in the hooks of a Power Rack at about a mid-thigh height or load up a bar on the floor for which to Deadlift to the starting position. Take a double overhand grip about a thumb length from the start of the knurling. You can also use an alternate grip if you’re looking to use heavier weights than you’d be able to Power Clean, but for learning and transferability purposes stick with a double overhand grip initially. Lift the bar off the hooks by standing up with it and step back into the center of the rack. Arch your back and lock your core into place. Bring your chest up and look straight ahead. Bend at your knees slightly while simultaneously driving your hips back as you begin to lower into your Power Position. Once you have reached your Power Position, if your flexibility allows (it should), continue to lower the bar past your knee and down your shins. Once you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, return to the starting position by driving your hips forward and pulling the bar up your legs until you are standing. It is of the utmost importance that your back stay arched throughout this exercise both for safety’s sake and so that you are able to optimally transfer the RDL to a better Power Clean. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpeo5YM9n60

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Hang Clean Starting Position
Begin by placing your feet directly under your hips with your toes forward. Your shins should be a couple inches away from a bar that is loaded and on the ground. The bar should be no more than over the middle of your foot. Once your footing is set, squat down to the bar by driving your hips back and bending at the knees. Keep your feet flat throughout this process while putting forth a strong effort to keep your bodyweight on the mid to upper portion of your feet. Take a double overhand grip on the bar about a thumbs length from the start of the knurling on the bar. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar and your elbows should be rotated out. Inflate your lungs, arch your back, look straight ahead and perform a Deadlift so that you are standing upright with the bar. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSQoI9qwbYs If you’re having trouble getting into this position follow the blog series I wrote herehttp://www.wrestler-power.com/strength-wrestling/

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Power Position
Once you are standing with the bar, you’re ready to lower to your Power Position. Drive your hips back and bend at the knees slightly until the bar is across the middle of your thighs. A big mistake made by many wrestlers is bending too much at the knees and not driving their hips back far enough. Think of it almost like you’re performing a shortened range of motion Romanian Deadlift. Additionally, from a muscle functioning perspective, the hamstrings and glutes extend the hips so loading them by assuming a proper Power Position will help you to maximize your power output during the Hang Clean. Here’s a video demonstrating getting into Power Positionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXun7obTrdY

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Jump Shrug/Power Shrug
Once you have reached your Power Position and the bar is mid-thigh, begin to aggressively drive your hips toward the bar by beginning to extend at your hips, knees, and ankles. While you’re driving your hips into the bar, simultaneously begin to put forth a strong effort to jump off the ground with the barbell. Continue this until you have reached a full triple extension position and you’re literally on your toes right before you’re about to leave the ground. Continue to drive the bar upward by allowing your feet to leave the ground as you literally try to jump the weight up (if the weight is light enough your feet will most likely leave the ground, however if the weight is maximal, you may not get much, if any liftoff from the ground). As you reach this position begin to carry that power from your lower body to your upper body by shrugging as explosively as possible. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnA-y1Yu04s

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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High Pull
As you reach the peak of your Jump Shrug, you will begin to pull the bar up farther by lifting your elbows toward the ceiling so that the bar’s momentum continues until the bar is at chest height. As soon as you begin to pull the bar up, you’ll notice that you’re also going to begin pulling yourself down slightly as your feet begin to return to the ground. If you only get efficient at a High Pull, that’s still great as it’s an exercise I have the wrestlers I train use regularly, especially toward the end of the season to help maximize their power for the big end of the year tournaments. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWXI93-9zP8

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Rack and Rack Drill
As soon as you reach the peak of your High Pull and you begin to travel back down to the ground from the peak of your explosive effort you need to focus on a few things. First, get your feet flat on the ground as soon as possible. This means driving them at such a rate that a “stomping” noise is often made. While you’re doing this you should also begin to rotate your elbows forward and under the bar. Your wrists will begin to bend back as the bar starts to come in contact with your shoulders. As the bar settles in to the rack position bend at the knees slightly to cushion the impact of the bar against your body. The Rack Drill is an exercise I learned from long time Cornell Wrestling Strength Coach Tom Dilliplane. To perform it, set up a bar across safety pins in a Power Rack at chest height. Take a double overhand grip about a thumb length from the start of the knurling. Lift your elbows up toward the ceiling so they are at the top of a High Pull position (the bar should still be across the hooks or safety pins). When you are ready drive your elbows under the bar as quickly as possible and get into the Rack Position. The focus of this exercise is 100% speed and precision to get you used to quickly and accurately Racking the weight. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMj2p4Cwbb8

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

Page 20

The Jerk is second Olympic lift I’m going to introduce in this eBook. To be honest, I use the traditional barbell Jerk from time to time in my programs with my wrestlers, but I regularly have them perform this exercise with a dumbbell or Kettlebell. While the Jerk is executed very quickly like the Hang Clean, I feel as though it’s much easier to learn. Contrary to how similar it looks to a barbell overhead press, a Jerk is far from an upper body exercise. In fact, when performed correctly the arms and shoulders only push the body under the bar and stabilize it overhead in the final position. Earlier, in the Hang Clean section, I wrote about how I fell victim to performing full Cleans as opposed to Power Cleans in college and how that ended up not improving my performance as I had intended them to. Jerks, on the other hand, paid HUGE dividends for me in terms of my explosiveness on the mat. In fact, I still vividly remember performing Jerks in the Power Racks of the Hill Center weight room (the athletes’ only gym at Ithaca College). Because it was a Division 3 school, over the summer very few athletes would stay and train. In fact, in regards to the wrestling team, only me and my long time friend and training partner, KC Beach, would stay each and every summer to take full advantage of some good training sessions. Because the campus would slow down so much over the summer, we’d have to break into the Hill Center just to lift. Once we got up there, we always did our best to stay quiet so as to not alert anyone that we were up there training hard. We always had good alibis ready just in case, but we tried to stay quiet none-the-less. That is, unless it was a day we were doing Jerks. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 21

Being two competitive guys, KC and I would regularly work up and beyond what we were planning on lifting that day and continually get into contests to see who could lift the most weight. I swear KC liked doing Jerks just because he liked to drop the weight from over his head to see how much noise it would make. Man that would piss me off LOL!! While we definitely both benefited on the mat from performing this lift, I’ll still never forget a few of KC’s missed attempts where a barbell loaded with 270+ pounds would come crashing down across the pins! …Anyway, sorry for the quick aside; let’s get back to business. Just like the Hang Clean (and all of the Explosive Power Training movements), the Jerk centers around your ability to generate force from your Power Position. In fact, high level lifters have been able to Jerk 2-3 times their bodyweight! Unlike the Power Clean, however, the Jerk has 2 finishes (Power and Split), which I will introduce to you later. As I mentioned earlier, while the Jerk is a quick lift, there are actually a number of different stages that you go through to properly execute it. So let’s get into exactly what you need to do to properly perform a Jerk.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Learning the Jerk
As opposed to the Hang Clean, the Jerk is a relatively simple and straightforward movement that closely resembles an Overhead Press (which I’m sure you’re familiar with if you’ve ever lifted weights before). In fact, once the bar feels comfortable to you in the starting position, some quick experience with pressing a bar overhead is all that’s really needed.

Overhead Press
The Overhead Press is an extremely important lift for developing strength in the shoulders and triceps as well as stability throughout the upper body and core. To perform an Overhead Press, set a barbell in a rack at the same height you would to perform a Jerk. If you are too tall (which results in the plates hitting the top of the rack) simply set the bar up outside the rack. Take a double overhand grip on the bar about a thumbs length away from the start of the knurling and slightly squat under it (about a quarter squat). Stand up with the bar with your wrists locked (this is very different than the starting position with the Jerk). The bar should be against the tops of your shoulders. Step back, set your feet up the same way you would to perform either a Front Squat or a Jerk, and lock your knees by squeezing your quads. Once you are in a stable position, press the bar straight up while simultaneously leaning back just enough so that the bar does not hit your chin or face as it’s pressed up. Once the bar is over your head, bring your head forward and continue to press the bar straight up until it is locked out overhead. Return the bar under control to the starting position and repeat for reps. Even though we’re using the Overhead Press to prepare you to perform a Jerk, be sure to avoid using your legs to aid in driving the bar up. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rib0dWfl7hk Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 23

Push Press
The Push Press is nearly identical to a Jerk; you’ll just be using less of a leg drive. In fact, if you’ve ever done a heavy set of Overhead Presses, you may have actually performed a Push Press as you fought to squeeze out another one or two reps at the end of a set by driving slightly with your legs. Set the bar up the same way you would to perform an Overhead Press. Once you have walked the weight out and are in the starting position, begin to dip by bending at the knees and driving your hips back slightly. Go about halfway to your Power Position before redirecting your dip into a drive. Keep in mind that there is a difference between the drive for a Push Press and the drive for a Jerk- the drive for the Push Press should be much less explosive. Instead of exploding off of the ground, simply use your legs to drive yourself onto your toes while you press the bar overhead using the momentum from your leg drive. Because the drive you use for the Push Press is less than that for a Jerk, you’ll have to lock the weight out overhead by pressing it the last few inches. An important technique point to keep in mind here is to not lean back to squeeze out one last rep as this may result in an injury to your back. Other than that, a Push Press is identical to a Jerk. Once you are comfortable with performing a Push Press, you’re ready to move on to the Jerk! Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote better detailing the difference as well as the executionhttp://www.wrestler-power.com/training-wrestling-db-push-press/ Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U02WQd5YUME

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Phases of the Jerk
Starting Position
The Jerk is performed in competition immediately after the completion of a Clean. However, I normally have my wrestlers perform this exercise separately, and almost always from a rack; so I’ll introduce it that way. However, if you don’t have enough room to safely perform a Jerk in or outside of a power rack, your best bet is to perform a Hang Clean to get the bar into proper starting position and then perform the exercise from there. Position a bar in hooks that are set up outside of a power rack at the same height you would if you were going to perform a Front Squat (if you’re short enough where the bar or plates won’t hit the top of the rack you can set it up in the rack just as you would for a Front Squat). Take double overhand grip on the bar about a thumb length away from the start of the knurling (this will be individually specific and is dependent upon flexibility and comfort levels). Rotate your elbows under the bar as you step both feet under the bar. Drive your elbows up in an attempt to position your triceps parallel to the floor. I personally don’t get too crazy with this as I’ve experimented with both and don’t like performing the Jerk from a full Rack Position. Lock your core and squat the bar off of the rack. Take a step back with both feet and position them on the floor a little wider than hip width apart.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Dip and Drive
The dip is simple, and should be fairly easily performed, especially after your Power Position becomes second nature to you. With the bar solidly in place across your shoulders, lower yourself into your Power Position with as much speed as you’re comfortable with. The faster you can do this, the greater potential you’ll have to produce maximal power. Avoid going so fast that the bar escapes your shoulders during your dip. Additionally, don’t push yourself to go fast when you first begin; operate at a speed that is comfortable to you. As soon as you’ve reached your Power Position, stop your descent and then rapidly begin to explode upward in a vertical jump. Because the Jerk is nearly a straight up and down explosive lift, I actually like it more for building the lower body power necessary to produce BIG speed and throws on the mat. Use the same power generated by your triple extension in the Jerk as you would use for the Hang Clean. As you rise up on your toes, begin to drive the bar off your chest directing the bar up with your shoulders. Be sure to keep your chin back slightly as the bar begins to travel in front of your face. Once the bar has been driven a few inches off your chest after you’ve completed your maximal upward explosion, you’ll begin to set up for your catch. The first catch, the Power Catch, is the one I use with my wrestlers and the second catch, the Split Catch is the one Coach Dilliplane favors with his wrestlers.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Power Catch
I find the Power Catch easiest to learn because you don’t need to move your feet. I also like it because it forces you to produce maximal power from your lower body and hips, instead of doing just enough to split under the bar to catch it (remember my story about how full Cleans didn’t improve my performance? I compare the Split Catch to a full Front Squat finish for the Clean). To finish a Jerk in the Power Position will almost feel natural after performing Hang Cleans. Just like in the Hang Clean, once you have reached your maximal vertical explosion, begin to focus on quickly returning your feet flat to the ground and “pressing” your body under the bar. I put pressing in quotes because in order to perform a proper Jerk, there is actually no pressing or muscling up of the weight. It is one explosive, fluid motion. Once you are under the weight lock your elbows and firmly settle into your Power Position with the bar secure and stable overhead (known as the “catch”). Return to a fully standing position with the bar locked overhead to complete the Power Jerk. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOvJWv5L2Iw

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Split Catch
While the Split Catch seems a bit more complicated, Coach Dilliplane has told me that is has been his finding that this actually comes naturally to wrestlers simply because of the thousands of penetration steps they’ve taken in their lives. He also says that wrestlers will always step the foot forward that they’d normally take their penetration step with. So for what looks to be a complicated movement, he has found it actually comes easily to wrestlers! To complete a Split Catch simply drive your penetration step forward and your other leg back simultaneously as you return your feet to the ground from your maximal vertical explosion. It is suggested by most Olympic Coaches that the distance between your two feet should be somewhere between 2 and 2 ½ feet apart. However, don’t get too caught up in this suggestion. Remember- you’re a wrestler just trying to become more explosive, not an Olympic lifter trying to maximize the amount of weight you can Jerk. Complete the Split Catch by “pressing” yourself under the bar while simultaneously catching your body and the bar in a bent knees position with your arms locked out with the bar overhead. Once you have the bar secured overhead, quickly step your front foot back and then your back foot forward meeting halfway so that you are fully upright and the bar is still locked overhead. Here’s a video demonstrating this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5zTOHvKhHQ

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Returning the Weight
The final phase of the Jerk is returning the weight. There are two ways to do this. First, you can lower it back to your shoulders if you are planning to perform more reps (as I demonstrate in both the Power Catch video and Split Catch video above). Do so by lowering it as much as you can under control while simultaneously bending at the knees to cushion the bar against your shoulders. The second way is the way I mentioned above when I told the story of KC. Simply direct the bar to the floor while stepping back so that it does not hit you. Make sure to keep your hands on or near the bar if you are using bumper plates to prevent it from bouncing and hitting you after. DO NOT drop the barbell to the floor like this if you are using standard iron plates or the gym you’re lifting at doesn’t allow it as it’s a good way to get yourself kicked out in the middle of a training session!! On a side note, if you’re looking for a serious gym that will allow this, check out this locatorhttp://www.powerliftingwatch.com/node/4420

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Strength-Speed Exercises
The same reasons as to why you’d perform a Hang Clean or Jerk to increase power for wrestling are the same as to why you’d perform the exercises detailed below. Why? They all fall under the same Strength-Speed category. In a nutshell (for those of you who regularly read my blogs on WrestlerPower.com this is nothing new) Strength-Speed exercises are performed with heavier implements and the speed at which the exercises are executed are lower than those detailed in the SpeedStrength/Plyometric category which use lighter implements and/or your body weight. That said, while Strength-Speed exercises are typically slower due to the heavier weights, they should still be performed explosively. In fact, choosing your weights to ensure the power output remains high is of the utmost importance for getting maximal benefits from Strength-Speed exercises. For example, just the other day I was performing DB Jerks during my Friday workout. Although my right shoulder was a little banged up, I was feeling good and moving the weight pretty fast. However, once I got to 80lbs I noticed I just didn’t feel as explosive as I did with the 75lb dumbbell; especially with my right arm due to the shoulder that was bothering me. So, rather than sacrifice my execution speed, I choose to move back down to 75lbs; the heaviest weight at which I did not feel my speed was being compromised because of the external resistance. So while percentages are typically used with Olympic-style Power Programs (and I myself use them from time to time), it is of more importance that you go by feel when training for maximal power output and development. So keep this in mind when you’re implementing these exercises below and following the plans in the Speed-Strength/Plyometric eBook.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Strength-Speed Exercises
Kettlebell Exercises
Below are the exercises along with brief descriptions of the Kettlebell exercises I have the wrestlers I train perform. I’ve listed them in order of how I progress them from the most basic to the most complex. So follow work them into your program to develop the proper foundation for Kettlebell training before progressing.

Kettlebell Swing- This is the most basic of Kettlebell lifts for power. It’s fairly easy to perform, but takes some practice to get the purpose of the exercise mastered (maximal hip extension to propel the bell). Take a double overhand grip and deadlift the KB to a standing position. From there lower into your Power Position and lightly swing the bell between your legs. Once it’s as far back as it will go drive your hips forward snapping them at the top to propel the bell up to chest level. Keep your lats tight throughout and pull the KB back to the starting position once it’s reached peak height. Your feet should remain flat on the ground throughout.

Kettlebell Clean- This is the next exercise in the Kettlebell progression. Much like the Hang Clean, the rack position with a KB takes some time to get used to. If I have a wrestler that is having difficulty performing KB Cleans due to issues with the rack position, I’ll have him simply walk around the gym with the KB in the rack and/or perform squats and overhead presses with the bell in this position. Regardless of what you do to get a feeling for the position, once the rack position is comfortable, the exercise is easy to learn. Again, all of the power is being generated from the Power Position as the KB is pulled much like a Hang Clean to the rack position. Be sure to finish each rep by showing control of the bell in the rack position rather than simply bouncing it off your shoulder and returning it for the next rep. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 31

Consistency with your reps and showing control at the end of each one will help you know when to progress to the next weight. While there can be a lot of issues with this exercise or any other Strength-Speed exercise in terms of attaining maximal power output, I recently read an article in Power magazine by Glenn Pendlay going over Power Cleans. In it he said that the one thing he found to correct most of the mistakes with Power exercises is forcefully stomping your feet as you reach the completion of the exercise. This helps to place a strong emphasis on generating maximal power from your legs and hips. If you listen to the Kettlebell Clean video, or any other Strength-Speed exercise for that matter, you should be able to hear my feet land upon the completion of each rep.

Kettlebell Clean and Jerk- This is essentially the same as above, just with a Jerk added to make it a two part lift. Once you perform the Clean and have the KB secured in the rack position, lower yourself back to your Power Position (do so slowly to prevent the bell from “jumping” from your body which will make the Jerk very difficult to complete and could injure your shoulder). Once you’ve reached your Power Position explode back up in an effort to perform a vertical jump with the bell. At the peak of your jump transfer the power generated from your lower body to your upper body as you continue to direct the bell overhead. Stomp your feet and catch yourself under the bell to complete the Jerk. Return it in the reverse order to begin your next rep.

Kettlebell Snatch- The KB Snatch along with the Double Hand KB Snatch are probably my two favorites in terms of Strength-Speed Kettlebell exercises. I really think the triple extension and the hip power needed to complete a KB Snatch transfers over to the mat as good as any exercise (to see what I mean watch the speed of my hip extension during the KB Snatch and compare it to the KB Clean, Jerk, or any other exercise). To perform it, start by lowering into your Power Position while holding a bell in one of Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 32

your hands. Again, just like any Explosive Power Training movement, explode once you have reached your power position. The upper body pull is very similar to that of a KB Clean, it just continues as you pull the bell overhead and settle in under it. Because you finish the lift overhead with one powerful triple extension, I feel as though the legs and hips need to work overtime to produce the power needed to successfully complete a rep; making this a great lift for wrestlers. So while this exercise may take a little time to get used to, once you do I suggest you keep it in your regular rotation.

Kettlebell Swing + Band- This exercise is the same as the Swing, the only difference is the addition of the band. As you can see by the video the band forces your hips to work harder to produce the power necessary to drive the bell to the peak of the movement. In addition, the band helps with pulling it back into position faster which will set off a stronger stretch reflex. All in all greater power output is achieved with this exercise, so when you’re ready, work it into your program for a few weeks and see how your performance on the mat improves.

Double Hand Kettlebell Snatch- To perform the Double Hand Kettlebell Snatch, position your feet on either side of the Kettlebell and take a double overhand grip. Lower your hips, arch your back and perform a Deadlift to lift it to the starting position. From there drive your hips back which will lower the bell straight down to just about between your knees. Drive your hips forward and drive your legs into the ground in an attempt to jump as high as you can. At the peak of your jump begin to pull the bell over your head by shrugging and then performing an Upright Row as you direct it overhead. Keep in mind that at no point during this exercise should you be performing the lift with your upper body; it is simply used to direct the bell overhead from the force being produced by your lower body and hips. Once the bell is overhead, stabilize it in the bottoms up position. This will help build your reactive grip strength as well as your shoulder and core stability making this a great strength Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 33

training for wrestling exercise. Return the bell as shown in the video to the starting position and repeat for the necessary reps.

Double Kettlebell Clean- The next two KB exercises I tend to use only with my most experienced guys and also with guys who can handle the 88lb KB (the heaviest at my gym) with ease and are therefore in need of more resistance. I’m fortunate to have a pair of 71 and 53lb KBs that guys can perform Double Cleans with if they need an additional challenge or I want to change things up with them to keep their bodies from adapting to the power training they’ve been doing. So give these a shot if you have a pair of KBs that are the same size, just make sure to pay close attention to your fingers. I’ve banged mine between two bells before while performing Double Cleans and let me tell you, it’s not fun!

Double Kettlebell Clean and Jerk- Much like the Double KB Clean, the Double KB Clean and Jerk is performed the same as with one bell. Be sure to treat both the Clean and the Jerk as two separate movements. What I mean by this is sometimes guys I train will not get a full triple extension on the Clean and will stay in a squat after they’ve racked the bells before they perform the Jerk rather than performing the Clean, getting settled, and then performing the Jerk. Notice in the video how I perform each lift separately even though I’m doing one after the other.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Other Strength-Speed Exercises
Below are the other strength-speed exercises I perform and have my wrestlers perform. I’ve decided to lump them all into one category because there’s only a couple of different exercises we do with each implement. Regardless, they’re all great exercises to add into your program, and if you don’t have access to KBs, they’ll provide a bulk of your strength-speed training.

Power Squat Flip- While you may not have access to a Power Squat machine, there’s a good chance there’s some kind of squat machine at the gym you go to. So play around with some different variations like this on the one you have available to you. Essentially that’s how my training partner and I came across this; we were just trying to come up with easy to implement alternatives to traditional Olympic lifting and came up with this explosive Tire Flip alternative. So try it out and get creative if you have to.

Power Squat Jerk- Much like the Power Squat Flip, you may need to get a little creative with the squat machine(s) you have at the gym you train at. The Jerk should be a little easier to perform though as it doesn’t require such a low starting position which some machines may not allow for safety reasons.

Grappler Jerk- While you may not have access to a Grappler (video of a Grappler and it’s many uses), to perform this exercise all you need to do is anchor the end of a bar in a corner or against something that it can wedge into and not move around. Here’s a video of a press being performed with a bar wedged in a tire tread. As you can see setting up a “Grappler” at your gym shouldn’t be too difficult so try out this Jerk variation.

Grappler Twist- The Grappler Twist is one of my top 3 ways to build rotational power on the feet (the other two are the Band Twist and Rope Ball). Keep the weight at a level that allows you to perform the Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 35

exercise explosively, but don’t be afraid to add weight each set so long as your speed stays high as this is a strength-speed exercise. Focus on creating as much force at the side of your hip to drive the bar over to the other side. Much like the other exercises in this section, your arms should not be doing the work; it’s all from your legs, hips, and, in this case, core.

Barbell Jump Squat- The Barbell Jump Squat is a great way to build lower body and hip power, but what I like best about it is that it can be performed at almost any gym. While some of the exercises above require specialized equipment, or tweaking things a bit, the Jump Squat only requires you have a barbell and some weight (and not even a lot, I don’t have my guys use more than 30% of their max Squat for this exercise). Even if you don’t have a rack you can Clean the barbell and get it on your back (I’ve written programs for a wrestler before who had a bench, but not a rack so he had to Clean the barbell to get it on his back to perform Squats, Front Squats, etc.). Anyway, it’s as simple as performing a Squat and then jumping up as violently as possible. The landing is key though! Be sure to cushion your landing using the landing techniques introduced in the Speed-Strength section below.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Plyometric/Speed-Strength Exercises
Alright, now that we’ve covered two of the Olympic lifts, their progressions and the other strength-speed exercises I use to develop explosive power in wrestlers, it’s time to get into the various speed-strength exercises that I use with the wrestlers that I train to build explosive power! Speed-strength is one type of explosive power that, when developed, will improve your performance in certain areas on the mat. Speed-strength is improved by using your bodyweight or VERY light weights (we’re talking 10lb medicine balls and things like that). The primary objective of improving speed-strength for wrestling is improved speed with your own bodyweight. Improved speed-strength will increase the speed and power at which you take shots, stand up off the bottom, sprawl, scramble, and create effective motion on the mat. In terms of what I’ve personally noticed in speed-strength training I do for MMA- I feel much more athletic in training and in the cage. I’m able to move a lot quicker and do a lot more than I was previously able to do when simply spending time lifting weights for strength when I was in the weight room. Additionally, my training partner who plays college Lacrosse has said the same thing. In fact, he was recently “promoted” to Long-Stick Midfielder (I have no idea what this means, lol) which he informed me is usually filled by the fastest and most athletic kid on the team. Keep in mind that we’re both self-admitted former fat guys who were not in the least bit athletic in high school. One important thing to keep in mind with speed-strength is that it is also improved by actually wrestling. Being quick on the mat is as much a function of your ability to time and react to your opponent as it is how good you are at performing speed-strength exercises. However, by combining the speed-strength exercises I’m going to detail with an already rigorous on-the-mat training schedule as I’m Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 37

sure you’re already doing, you’re certain to see marked improvement with your speed and power in the situations I detailed above. In a nutshell, utilizing speed-strength exercises (plyometrics) is one of the methods for developing explosive power for wrestling. As a result, coaches and wrestlers alike have taken notice to the improvements plyometrics can elicit. As such, they have begun to integrate various plyometric exercises into their training programs. However, there is a lot that goes in to both exercise selection and programming which will help maximize your potential. While the exact science behind plyometrics is unknown, there is a lot known in the field of strength and conditioning that can help explain exactly how and why they are so effective. The human body is continually being acted upon by external forces. These forces cause the muscles to contract. The contractions that occur can be both positive (concentric, active shortening of muscles like pressing a bar off your chest) and negative (eccentric, active lengthening of muscles like lowering a bar to your chest). The energy needed to perform an eccentric action is less than that of a concentric action (which is why you can lower a bar to your chest but can sometimes not press it back up). Because of this different relationship between input and output of energy, there exists a higher mechanical efficiency in eccentric movements than in concentric movements. Additionally, force production during eccentric contractions is higher. Why is all this science crap significant?!? Because when eccentric actions are performed at moderate to high speeds (commonly seen in jumps, bounds, etc.) the muscles called upon to perform the work are fast-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers have higher firing frequencies, are larger, and produce more force per motor unit than any other muscle fiber type!! In summary, because of various factors within your body that influence force, eccentric to rapid concentric muscle actions (as seen in various jumps and other explosive efforts) produce the greatest Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 38

force and power capabilities in your muscles! That’s why plyometrics work and that’s why you NEED to do them to maximize your explosive power!!

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Before I get into the specifics of the exercises, I first want to introduce a couple considerations from the two plyo books I reference. These considerations are meant to maximize your safety. Remember- you can’t win matches when you’re sidelined with an injury, and believe me, I’ve injured myself (muscle tears in my legs) by not properly assessing and preparing myself for plyometric workouts. There are a number of factors to consider, so let’s get right into it. The first aspect to consider when planning to engage in a plyometric program is your age. Chronological age is an important consideration because pre-pubescent individuals should not participate in high intensity plyometrics. The continual growth of the skeletal system, cartilage at the epiphyseal plates, and joint surfaces make the extreme forces of some plyometric exercises destructive. Light/low intensity plyos are ok; in fact, as a young wrestler, I’m sure you’ve already performed a number of varieties in the wrestling room including various skips, hops, and jumps. Your physical capabilities and health limitations must also be brought into consideration. For example, assess your ankle/calf flexibility by standing in front of a bench press and placing your foot flat on top of it. Drive the knee of the foot on the bench forward. If you can drive your knee over your toe while keeping your foot flat on the bench, you have enough ankle flexibility for proper landings in various plyometric jumps. Similarly, look back to any past injuries you may have sustained. For example, a previous knee injury may prevent you from performing certain exercises without pain or it may compromise your ability to land from a jump in proper position. If either of these situations are the case, know your body and make the necessary adjustments to exercises that you can perform properly. For example, yesterday I tried performing Single Leg Jumps to a box. However, due to a nagging right ankle injury, I was unable to perform the jumps with my right leg nearly as well as my left. I was unable to get full

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triple extension to get off the ground and was landing very poorly. As you may have guessed, I dropped the exercise for the day and just worked on some lower intensity plyos that I could perform without putting my ankle at risk for further agitation. Your genetic makeup is another BIG factor in your success with plyometrics, and your training in general. In fact, I was taught in college that genetics are the #1 predictor of athletic success. Second was training, and third was nutrition (two things you can, and should control!). The fact of the matter is no matter how hard you hammer your explosive power training; if you just don’t have the genetic makeup (your body isn’t full of Type-II muscle, aka Fast Twitch, fibers) you will only get so explosive. That’s not to say that you won’t benefit from this style of training. Here, let me give you an example of two wrestlers I’ve worked with for a few years. The first wrestler, Colin, is about 5’7” and weighs about 240lbs in the off-season (as you can imagine, he’s a pretty stocky guy). He has Box Squatted 565lbs before. But, for as strong as he is, he is not as explosive. He’s pretty powerful, but not as powerful as you would expect a 565lb squatter to be. The second wrestler, 4x NHSCAA National Champ Tyler Beckwith, has been training on and off with me for a number of years. He weighs about 190lbs in the off-season and doesn’t lift as regularly throughout the season as Colin does. As a result, he doesn’t make the continual gains Colin makes. However, Tyler is able to come in at any given time and Log Clean into the high 200s; at least 60 more pounds than Colin. He’s just a naturally explosive individual. I train both fairly similarly, but Colin obviously responds better to more traditional strength training, while Tyler, being the naturally explosive wrestler that he is, will always be able to perform better with explosive lifts. Training experience with explosive exercises is another thing to consider before beginning a plyometric program as it can be more important than chronological age. It is unfortunately too common for mature, high-level wrestlers who are at the top of their on-the-mat game to suffer injuries from explosive power training because they lack experience with it. Most of you reading this are doing so to Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 41

benefit you personally, so it is of the utmost importance that you realistically determine your abilities by reviewing some of the considerations above. Remember- you should always start light and work up. With that in mind, let’s get into some landing drills that will help to prep your body for higher intensity jumps in the future. Showing control and stability when performing the drills below will help to best insure that you’re body is prepared for higher level plyos.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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My Thoughts On Implementing Plyos
I’ve read a bunch of different rules in lots of fancy books (good old college!) as to what to use as an indicator(s) in regards to when to start a wrestler with plyos, but in all honesty I don’t follow them. Running and sprinting are considered plyos and I’d venture to guess any wrestler in the world has done both of those activities. In addition, as you know various jumps are as well and you can’t tell me a wrestler hasn’t jumped at least once in their life before. So rather than worry about the little things, I just start them off with the basics and progress them as soon as they show consistent proficiency with the exercise. …As I’m writing this I decided to take a short Facebook break and saw that one of my mentors, Jim Wendler, posted a new article on T-Nation where he gives his thoughts on implementing plyos. Below is an excerpt from the article. For the rest of it Click Here. There’s been a lot of confusion about the role of jumping, throwing, and different explosive movements in training. It’s reached the point that no one seems to be “ready” for them. Some experts have deemed that a lifter must achieve a certain level of strength in the main lifts (double bodyweight squat for example) before embarking on any type of jumping program. Apparently, this rule does not apply to my 7-year-old-son and his classmates at recess, or they just choose to ignore it as they run, hop, and jump until the bell rings. Perhaps in 10 years, my son will read these experts and become, like many, totally paralyzed in training. But not if I have anything to say about it. So let’s clear things up now. First, unless you’re terribly obese, have no coordination, and/or play World of Warcraft your entire life, you can jump. If you’re reading T-NATION, you probably can jump better than the average mouth breather. You may no be fielding offers for track and field scholarships, but you can do it. If you

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still doubt that you can, please expect more from yourself. Seriously, Doctors put animal hearts into humans to allow them to live, so I don’t think it’s asking a lot that you get a little air under your feet. Second, your jumping programming doesn’t have to be “Russian” or whatever the new pseudounderground buzzword is. If you want to jump in your training, the best way to do it is to jump. Seriously, don’t over-think it too much. Third, you don’t have to “max” out in your jumps every time. As long as the height of the box in a box jump or the distance to travel in a long jump challenges you, you’re doing it right. Don’t think that every time you leave your feet that you have to set some kind of personal record. It’s not necessary. You can’t jump a challenging height or distance slow, so stop stressing about it. …Man, I’m glad Jim was able to put into words the thoughts that were going through my head right now. Anyway, I really like his philosophy on training- don’t make excuses that you’re not ready for this or you can’t do this exercise because you don’t have the right equipment. Instead, make do with what you have. It’s more about pushing yourself to get better every training session than it is getting worried about small stuff that’s out of your control. Alright, now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into some basic landing drills I use to build a basic foundation in the wrestlers I train.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Plyometric Landing Drills
Learning how to land is of the utmost importance when it comes to performing plyometric exercises. Not only will training your body to land properly enable you to better absorb force thereby optimally preparing your body to redirect it as forcefully as possible but it will also help train your joints to stabilize properly so you can avoid injuries. There are two important things to keep in mind while landing; but in a nutshell you want to land in an athletic stance. First, train yourself to land in your Power Position. This will best prepare you to explode immediately for reactive jumps. Additionally, try to cushion the landing as much as possible. Basically, you should focus on landing as quietly as possible. Here are the landing drills I first start the wrestlers I train using to build the proper base. Once they show proficiency with them I’ll move them on into some of the progression detailed further on in this eBook.

Double Leg Bench Landing- This is the first exercise I begin a wrestler with. Don’t worry about working up in height for this exercise. Just perform a few and make sure you feel comfortable and land properly. If you don’t, practice these for a few weeks until you are and you’ll be ready to move on.

Box Jump- I like to implement Box Jumps early because they will build an explosive lower body and hips and there isn’t a hard landing associated with it so the chances of sustaining an injury are low as the wrestler develops their landing skills. Don’t get too carried away looking to increase the height early on. Just get comfortable with performing each jump and landing properly. In addition, avoid jumping down from the box. Instead, slide down like I do in the video or step down of the box is low enough. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 45

Vertical Jump With Landing- This is the next jump in the progression because there is a little more force that travels through the body from the landing. It’s a great way to train your body to land properly and softly and be in a ready position to jump again. While you shouldn’t jump again right away, training your body to be ready will optimally prepare you for the various higher intensity reactive jumps later in your training.

Horizontal Jump With Landing- Much like the Vertical Jump With Landing, the Horizontal version is great at training your body to land properly so it’s ready for another explosive effort immediately after. I’m a big proponent of explosive horizontal training for wrestling because in that’s the power you’ll be looking to generate when shooting on your opponent. So while vertical power is great for mat returns and getting off the bottom, developing your horizontal power equally important. So be sure to have a good balance between all the jumps in your explosive power training program.

Low Intensity Reactive Vertical Jump- This is the first type of reactive jump I’ll have the wrestlers I train perform. I don’t stress attaining a certain height or being as explosive as they can be. Rather, I just want them to get a rhythm down and get comfortable with absorbing the force of a landing and redirecting it into an explosive effort. In addition, this is a great way to warm-up before performing higher intensity jumps on any given day. For instance, on days I am to perform reactive Vertical Jumps and/or a heavy strength-speed exercise, I’ll perform a few sets of this for about 6-8 reps.

Low Intensity Reactive Horizontal Jump- The focus for this is the same as the Low Intensity Reactive Vertical Jump only it’s performed horizontally. Again don’t worry about how far you jump, just get

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accustomed to putting about 5 jumps together give or take. Much like the vertical version, I oftentimes use these as a warm-up before more intense horizontal jumping.

Short Pogo Jump- This is a lower intensity reactive jump that should mimic using a Speed Jump Rope as much as possible. It’s a great way to warm up the ankles and get your Central Nervous System firing before getting into higher intensity jumps. I personally perform a few of these as part of my warm-up before most workouts.

Single Leg Bench Landing- Once you start developing a good base with double leg landings and jumps, it’s time to move into single leg variations. As you know, I’m a big believer in developing both single leg strength and power in wrestling because a large percentage of the time on the mat you’re looking to develop power off of one leg at a time. So start preparing yourself for higher level single leg jumps by first training your body to stabilize properly during a landing. As you can see by the video, it’s not the easiest thing in the world.

Single Leg Jump To Bench- Much like the Box Jump, I like to start working in Single Leg Jumps to a bench very soon so that the wrestler can start developing single leg power almost immediately without as much of a fear of injury from an improper landing.

Single Leg Vertical Jump With Landing- Because there is more force to absorb and stabilize against, I like to work this in once the wrestler shows a consistent ability to stabilize properly from a Single Leg Bench Landing.

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Single Leg Horizontal Jump With Landing- Nearly identical to the vertical version, the only difference is you jump horizontally for this jump making it a great way to build the single leg power that is as specific as it gets for wrestling.

Lateral Jump With Landing- Another common movement in wrestling that oftentimes gets overlooked is lateral movement (side to side movement). Cutting angles on shots is sometimes the only way you’re able to finish and get 2 points, so training your body to move explosively in a lateral direction is of the utmost importance. Again, focus on demonstrating good stability and landing appropriately to decrease your risk of an ankle or knee injury on the mat.

Sample 4-Week Program
Here’s a sample 4 week program that incorporates the exercises above to build a solid base before getting into some of the exercises below.

Week 1 Day 1: Double Leg Bench Landing 4x5, Box Jump 4x5 Day 2: Double Leg Bench Landing 4x5, Horizontal Jump With Landing 4x5 Day 3: Double Leg Bench Landing 4x5, Box Jump 4x5

Week 2 Day 1: Double Leg Bench Landing 4x5, Box Jump 4x5 Day 2: Box Jump 4x5, Vertical Jump With Landing 4x5 Day 3: Horizontal Jump With Landing 4x5, Vertical Jump With Landing 4x5

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Week 3 Day 1: Single Leg Bench Landing 4x5, Single Leg Jump To Bench 4x5 Day 2: Single Leg Bench Landing 4x5, Single Leg Vertical Jump With Landing 4x5 Day 3: Single Leg Vertical Jump With Landing 4x5, Lateral Jump With Landing 4x5 Week 4 Day 1: Lateral Jump With Landing 4x5, Single Leg Horizontal Jump With Landing 4x5 Day 2: Low Intensity Reactive Horizontal Jump 4x5, Short Pogo Jump 4x10 Day 3: Low Intensity Reactive Vertical Jump 4x5, Short Pogo Jump 4x10

The sets and reps suggested above are far from set in stone. While I do like the suggestions of Chad Smith from Juggernaught Training (he suggests no more than 30 total high intensity jumps twice a week in his BJJ Training Manual), because these are base building jumps, I wasn’t too concerned with sticking to that. Besides, are there days that I go over 30 jumps? Sure. Does my body shut down on jump 31 and say “Dickie, you went over the limit by 1 jump so we’re done for the day?” No. Remember, sets, reps, and all that are just suggestions. Eventually you’ll learn to go by feel as you learn what your body is going to best respond to. Anyway, once you’re comfortable and confident in your ability to perform the base building plyos above, you can start implementing the plyos below.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Explosive Jump Training
Most of the jumps below are listed in order of single effort jumps which I’ll categorize as medium-intensity, to reactive jumps which I’ll categorize as high-intensity. In terms of how I work these into programs, I always start with a single effort, medium-intensity exercise of a certain direction (vertical, horizontal, lateral) and follow that up with a reactive jump of the same direction. For example I may begin with a Box Squat Vertical Jump and then follow that up with a Reactive Vertical Jump and/or a Reactive Single Leg Vertical Jump.

Box Squat Vertical Jump- I’ve been using this exercise for a number of years and feel it’s a great way to develop power from a “stalemate” position much like a Box Squat or Anderson Squat. There are two ways to perform this exercise. The first (as shown in this video) is to rock back slightly and bring the feet up. This helps to produce a little momentum as well as add a slight reactive component to the jump. The second is to simply squat to the bench/box and pause without rocking or bringing the feet up.

Box Squat Horizontal Jump- Here’s the second variation of this jump that I just started working in within the last couple months. This video shows the more difficult way to perform Box Squat Jumps- no rocking or lifting the feet off the ground. I mix both styles in so don’t feel you have to always perform it this way because harder is better. They’re both different and will both help to improve your power in different directions on the mat.

High Pogo Jump- I really like these as I feel they do a great job of training powerful ankle extension. I sometimes get the parents of the wrestlers I train asking me why we don’t do direct calf work like calf presses and things like that. I always respond with the question that if I were to ask them to jump as Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 50

high as they can with straight legs using only their calves to do so versus having them jump as high as they can using typical vertical jump technique which one would enable them to get higher? Of course you’ll be able to jump much higher from your Power Position because the hips are the point where maximal power is generated. However, the calves do contribute and High Pogo Jumps are a much better way to train functional, explosive ankle extension in wrestlers as opposed to calf presses.

Single Leg Bench Jump- This is a great exercise to build some serious single leg power. While performing this keep a couple of things in mind. First, start with a lower box to get a feel for the exercise before working up in height. Second, be sure to vary your box/bench heights to train your legs to produce power at all different angles. Finally, control your landing to the best of your ability. Don’t just fall to the ground after jumping as high as you can.

Lunge Jump- This is the reactive version of the Single Leg Bench Jump and has been a staple in the power programs for the wrestlers I train for quite a while now. KEY POINT APPLYING TO ALL REACTIVE JUMPS: Much like any other reactive exercise, when you first begin focus on developing a good rhythm and getting maximal height. However, once you get comfortable with it, the real focus should start to shift to minimizing the time you spend on the ground between each rep. By cutting down on the time you spend on the ground (known as the amortization phase) you’ll train your body to react quicker and with more power on the mat!

Double Leg Reactive Lateral Jump- I work this in from time to time with the wrestlers I train, but if I have a choice, I almost always favor the single leg variation for this because I can’t think of a time when you look to produce lateral power off of two legs in a match. Nonetheless this is still worth working in as it will provide a different stimulus on your body. As with any other reactive jump focus on two thingsCopyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 51

minimizing your time on the ground and maximizing your height. Don’t worry so much about the height of the object you’re jumping over. The last thing you want is to use something too high and trip over it causing some kind of injury.

Reactive Lateral Jump- In terms of lateral jumps, this is my preferred style for wrestlers. It’s very similar to the double leg version except you’re going to be looking to cover as much horizontal distance with this jump rather than vertical height like you would with the double leg variation. This is great for building power to finish shots by cutting the corner and driving.

Reactive Single Leg Horizontal Jump- The Reactive Single Leg Horizontal Jump is another very high intensity jump (just like the Lateral above and Vertical below) so build the necessary base before performing these. Additionally, get a thorough warm-up. Reactive single leg plyos are about as good as it gets for wrestling so definitely try to work these in focusing on covering as much ground with each jump as possible while minimizing the time you spend on the ground between each jump.

Reactive Single Leg Vertical Jump- This is another great high-intensity reactive single leg jump. While they don’t transfer to the mat as well as the Lateral or Horizontal Jumps, they are still worth working in to give your body a different stimulus. However if you had to exclude one reactive single leg jump in your training, I’d choose this over the other two.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Explosive Kneeling Jump Training
In the last couple of months I’ve really start to regularly implement Kneeling Jumps and their variations into the workouts I use with my wrestlers. While I’ve worked them into their programs for a couple of years, I’ve started to really get excited about the possibilities of these after reading about the success Phil Harrington had with them to set the World Record Raw Squat at 198lbs. Here’s a video of his squat. And here are some vides of his jumps- Kneeling Jump 1 and Kneeling Jump 2. So as you can see, not only will these jump help you get off the bottom with more speed and power, but they’ll increase your power in many other positions on the mat (like if your shot gets stuffed and you need to power through your opponent’s sprawl) and in the weight room.

Kneeling Jump- The Kneeling Jump is the first in the progression. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will affect the difficulty of these exercises. First, the lower your hips are to your heels at the start, the easier it will be. Second, the jump will also be easier if your toes are dug into the ground as opposed the tops of your feet being flat. Notice how my hips are high and there is minimal motion in them to perform this jump. Additionally, my feet are also flat. That’s what you want to work towards. However, don’t be discouraged if you don’t start like this. Most of the wrestlers I train start with their butt by their ankles and their toes dug into the ground. You can see what I mean by the “toes dug into the ground” by looking at some of the reactive Kneeling Jumps I perform below (for instance the Kneeling Vertical Jump).

Wide Kneeling Jump- A wider stance will also help you to perform this jump a little easier. Additionally, if you take a wider stance when squatting, this style of Kneeling Jump will transfer over to higher weights. I like to work both into the programs I write because there are times when you need to Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 53

produce hip power from a narrow base and times when you need to produce hip power from a wide base. I’m sure you’re beginning to notice that I like to use a variety of power exercises for the very reason that you can’t predict the number of positions you’ll be in during a wrestling match. So being prepared for them all will have you ready to come out on top anywhere the match goes.

Kneeling Vertical Jump- This style of single effort, reactive Kneeling Jump is what I’ve used more often in the programs I write for wrestlers. The technique is the same as any other Kneeling Jump except that as soon as you land from the initial jump, you’ll be looking to perform a max vertical jump. As it shows in the video, be sure to land with proper technique.

Kneeling Horizontal Jump- The Kneeling Horizontal Jump is the Kneeling Jump that started it all at my gym in terms of plyo jumps. I saw it as a great way to incorporate two important jumps, the Kneeling and the Horizontal, into one that would build the hip and lower body power as well as functional reactive power. Focus on maximal horizontal distance while minimizing your ground contact time after the initial Kneeling Jump.

Kneeling Single Leg Lateral Jump- This jump is a great supplement to the Lateral Jump variations detailed above. In addition, it’s about as good as it gets in terms of training your body to produce the maximal, single leg lateral power needed to cut the corner and finish a High Crotch or Double Leg.

Kneeling Lunge Jump- This is a new variation I’ve been implementing with great success into my programs the last few months. Because you oftentimes come up on one leg at a time when standing up, this trains the body to come up very quickly and then produce maximal vertical power which is needed to continue the stand up once you get your feet under you. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 54

Kneeling Jump With Bar- The next two jumps are ways to increase the difficulty of any of the above Kneeling Jump variations. First, by putting a bar (in this case a PVC pipe) being your back, you’ll eliminate any arm action that may have been assisting you during your Kneeling Jumps. This forces your hips to work like never before to produce the necessary power to get up. As you get comfortable with a light bar or PVC, start increasing weight by using an EZ Curl bar, weight vest, Body Bar, or pre-loaded curl bars. While these take some practice and refining technique, they will pay huge dividends in time as you begin to increase weight.

Kneeling Jump To Box- The second way to increase the difficulty of a Kneeling Jump is to jump onto a box. The fact that such a short box can be so intimidating will surprise you like none other. Nearly every wrestler that I’ve had perform these has always hesitated the first few times I’ve put a small box in the video in front of them. However, once you get comfortable, as with anything else, start working up as your power increases.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Explosive Band Training
While I’ve used bands for a number of years in the power training programs I have wrestlers use, I’ve narrowed the exercises down to just 4 primary movements. If you don’t have access to bands, cable machines are a suitable replacement, but often the force you generate will cause the weight to slam and make a lot of noise and/or potentially damage the machine. Therefore, I’ve found most gym owners and managers to discourage the use of the machines in this way. So if you can’t get away with it at your gym, just buy a couple bands. I get them at Elitefts.com. Just search bands. I’d suggest getting a Mini, Monster-Mini, and Light band to start.

Band Twist- The Band Twist is a great way to build rotational speed and power that will translate into an increase in effectiveness of the various throws you may use during a match. I personally use this to increase my rotational power so I can throw harder punches, but either way, it’s a great exercise to incorporate. Focus on driving with your legs and rotating as quickly through your core as possible. The speed of execution coupled with a good, full range of motion with the Band Twist will help you to maximize your gains with it.

Band Arm Spin- This is another great rotational exercise to improve your throws, specifically Arm Spins or Headlocks. Additionally, it’s a great alternative to striking a tire with a Sledge Hammer if you don’t have access to that. So try this out and remember- feel free to take your time on the steps before the explosive portion of the exercise. All that really matters is the force you produce when you’re throwing your hips back and pulling the band with your core.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Band High Pull- The Band High Pull is a great way to increase your hip speed for throws and fast mat returns. As you can see, the movement is almost identical to a High Pull performed with a barbell. The only real difference is you’ll lean back slightly as you perform this exercise whereas with a BB High Pull you’ll remain upright.

Band Snap Down- Finally, I have the wrestlers I train use the Band Snap Down to increase the power at which they perform snaps on an opponent’s head. Not only will this help you to more effectively score snap down go behinds, but it will also produce a better reaction from your opponent if you’re snapping his head to get him to stand up so you can take a shot. Either way, this is a great exercise to implement.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Explosive Medicine Ball Training
Seated Rope Ball- This isn’t the most common piece of equipment in a gym, however, you can make one fairly easily by using a mesh bag (one that you may already use to carry your wrestling gear in). While mesh bags typically are not the most durable, if you’re just using it once and a while for Rope Ball exercises like this, it should hold up alright. Rope Ball training is a fantastic way to build unbelievable rotational core power so be sure to train it when/if you have the opportunity to.

Rotating Med Ball Slam- This is a great alternative to a Sledge Hammer strike on a tire. While the Sledge Hammer is a useful tool to build core power in wrestlers (along with forearm and shoulder endurance if used for high rep sets), it’s not the be all end all of training implements regardless of how popular they seem to be. Regardless, the Rotating Med Ball Slam will build unbelievable core power and will directly transfer over to your ability to put a lot of force behind each one of your snap downs.

Med Ball Slam- This is nearly identical to the Rotating variation above. A little while ago I wrote a fairly detailed post on the ins and outs of performing a Med Ball Slam and how you can use it to maximize your power. Check it out HERE.

Med Ball Overhead Wall Slam- The MB Overhead Wall Slam, much like the Chest Pass, is a great way to train your body to produce some serious horizontal power to act upon an external resistance. While this may look like an upper body exercise, it’s far from it. The single leg power along with the hip/core snap is what makes this exercise so explosive. Focus on producing maximal force from your leg drive off the ground and carrying that through your core to create a snap that rockets the ball against the wall with serious force. Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 58

Med Ball Chest Pass- While the upper body motion is different here when compared to the Overhead Wall Slam, the same lower body and hip mechanics are required to produce the power needed to get maximal power output with this exercise. Watch the two videos and notice the similarities in my lower body and hips.

Med Ball Rotational Throw- This is another great rotational exercise that will directly carryover to any throwing situation you may be in during a match. Again, the power is coming from my lower body and hips, not my upper body. Watch my back leg in this video and see how quickly it drives and pivots in the ground to initiate the throw. Look to produce the same effort when implementing this into your power program.

Med Ball Toss- The Med Ball Toss has been one of the most used power exercises with the wrestlers that I train. However, because we live in wonderful Central New York, there is a limited window during which these can be performed. So while I do think they’re a great exercise, I unfortunately am unable to implement them at the end of the season. Regardless, it’s an excellent speed-strength exercise and a good excuse to get outside and train when it’s nice out. Here’s a fairly detailed blog post I wrote about it a while ago- Med Ball Toss.

Single Leg Med Ball Toss- This is a great variation to work in after a couple sets of a MB Toss. The mechanics are all the same, you’ll just perform this exercise on one leg at a time, rather than both. It’s another great way to build single leg power for wrestling.

Standing Rope Ball- The Standing Rope Ball is very similar to the Seated Rope Ball. Again, because of the weather in Central New York I tend to have the wrestlers I train use the Standing Rope Ball during Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 59

the months where they can actually go outside and the Seated Rope Ball during the colder months when we’d have to shovel a bunch of snow just to create a space outside for to perform this variation. Whether you perform this seated or standing, it’s great for rotational speed and power as well as building grip strength. So do your best to find a way to work it into your training program.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Misc. Explosive Training
These next five exercises are other power exercises I use primarily to build upper body power (except for the Speed Russian Twist). However, because your upper body power is affected by the power you can generate from your hips (Med Ball Chest Pass, etc.) and because hip power is the most important athletic quality for wrestling I put more of an emphasis on that. Additionally, look at some of these “upper body” power exercises. Notice in the Plyo Pushup how my hips come up slightly to initiate the movement. Also notice how my hips move to help produce enough power at the bottom of the Clap Pullup to generate the necessary power. Some would say this is bad form, but I’m not a bodybuilder looking to isolate a certain muscle in my body. I’m a former wrestler who’s looking to be as fast and powerful as humanly possible in the cage. So training my body to produce maximal speed and power as whole is the primary focus.

Bench Plyo Pushup- This is the first of the 3-part progression. Even if you are at a later stage in the progression, it’s still a great, low-impact way to warm-up. The big thing I’m not too focused on when doing Plyo Pushups of any kind is clapping. While I’ll mix them in with more experienced wrestlers who’ve trained with me for a while, I discourage wrestlers who first start training with me from doing this. I feel like the emphasis is lost on getting as high as possible when you look to clap in between. Instead, you focus on getting just high enough to clap and then come back down. This situation is identical to the Full Clean story I told in the Hang Clean section.

Plyo Pushup- The Plyo Pushup is next in the progression, and in all honesty, is stage 2 of 2. The reason I say that is because the reactive nature of this exercise makes it just as challenging as the single effort Plyo Pushup to a bench or box that I detail below. Both are great ways to build serious upper body Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved. Page 61

pushing power so make sure to work this into your training. As you begin to increase your power, look to clap your hands behind your back or stand up like I do at the end of your set.

Plyo Pushup To Box- This is a great way to measure the power you’re generating with your Plyo Pushup. As the height at which you’re able to push up to increases, the more power you are probably generating (you may also be getting more flexible allowing you to land deeper, similar to a Box Jump). So work these in from time to time to get an idea of the power gains you’re making.

Pylo Pull-up- I’ve messaged around with different variations of these in the past. Here’s a video of a Reactive Rope Chin-Up performed by Conor Kleitz, who a month later took the Bronze at the Fila Cadet Pan-Am Games. Any type of Clap Pull-up, or chin-up where you switch your grip to a pull-up, or any other kind of explosive upper body pull is a great way to build serious pulling power in the Lats and Biceps. The returns on this type of exercise include being able to pull in your opponents legs faster when you shoot, lock up and pull faster with various body locks, and pull with more force when you have an underhook.

Speed Russian Twist- The Speed Russian Twist is another way I build rotational speed with the wrestlers I train. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t require any specialized equipment to perform, so anyone can do it. To increase the difficulty hold a weight of some kind (I prefer dumbbells). Don’t let the speed at which you perform this exercise suffer from the increase in weight, so move up conservatively.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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Chu, Donald A. Jumping Into Plyometrics, 2 ed. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL, 1998.

Newton, Harvey. Explosive Lifting for Sports. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL, 2002.

Radcliffe, James C. and Farentinos, Robert C. High-Powered Plyometrics. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL, 1999.

Smith, Chad W. Juggernaut BJJ Physical Preparation Manual. Self-published eBook, 2011.

Copyright © 2013 by Dickie White. All Rights Reserved.

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