Body Lifts by Mike Malinconinco
Wrestling is a sport encompassing many variables for success. As much value as we place on athletes for skill and technique, sometimes it just boils down to old-fashioned speed and strength. Speed can be developed by sprints, laps around the facility, and increased understanding of the techniques, and strength can be built by dumbbells and barbells inside your local gym.
However, what if you don’t have access to any free weights?
Flo Wrestling technique expert and former Oklahoma State University wrestler Mike Malinconinco examines four different body lifts you can do with a partner to develop strength and correct form while lifting.
The first exercise Mike goes over is the classic buddy carry, where your partner hooks their legs around your hips from the back and holds on with their arms. A few things to note about this lift is to make sure that you carry someone appropriate for your size. Your partner should not be too small (which is no benefit to your strength) or too large (which can result in injury).
Once you have your partner lifted, you have a few options as far as reps. Mike mentions squatting with your partner but emphasizes not to go overboard with the range of motion. Too low of a bend and you may wind up not coming back up. You can also walk down the mat, but be careful about other partners or your surroundings.
Cross Body Lift
Mike’s next exercise is a cross body lift. As the name implies, your partner is going to be across your body, where one arm is between their legs and the other arm is across their shoulder (your right arm across their left shoulder, and vice-versa). Your partner will be facing the opposite direction. Mike stresses to keep a tight hold of your partner close to your chest rather than loose and by your waist, as this becomes problematic for moving and lifting.
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From there, you can walk up and down the mat just like the previous exercise. If you have access to a crash pad, you can complete the repetition by bringing your partner down onto the mat and switch or repeating reps for additional lifts.
Although Mike doesn’t demonstrate this lift, he briefly explains the benefits for both partners. This lift requires you to lift your partner from behind the legs while they hold on by wrapping around your head. This lift naturally requires strength from the person lifting, but the other person is also working on their arm and core strength by holding on. You can walk up and down the mat with this lift to continue working on strength and stability.
Cross Limb Lift
Your partner is going to be on their side facing away from you with their legs locked as if they were putting on a body triangle and their arms crossed. Standing behind your partner, one arm is going between the arm gap and the other arm is going between the leg gap. You lift as if it were a deadlift: bending your knees, facing forward, head up, and back straight. This lift is perfect for Greco-Roman wrestlers who often have to lift a resisting opponent and turn them over.
As far as repetitions, you can lift your opponent and bring them back down safely or you can carry them down the mat provided that you do so safely.
No matter what lifting exercise you choose, your objective is to build your strength and posture. Always be mindful of how you lift and how you dismount your partner. With enough practice and persistence, your throws will be stronger and your pins will be harder to escape by the time your next competition arrives.
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