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Six Cross Training Activities that Are Great for Wrestlers

Six Cross Training Activities that Are Great for Wrestlers


It is very important for wrestlers to spend a lot of time on the wrestling mat both in season and out of season. Generally speaking, the more mat time you have, the better you will be. But just as it is important to train on the mat, it is also important to train off the mat as well. 

Cross training is training in one sport or activity that will have benefit to another, in this case wrestling. Finding activities other than wrestling to do can not only help to increase different physical skills, but it can also help prevent wrestlers from burning out. Wrestling is a grueling sport and everyone should have some activities outside of wrestling they like to participate in, and if you are going to do them, they might as well help make you a better wrestler. Here are six activities that are great for wrestlers. 

Mountain Biking 

Mountain biking is a really fun sport that can have a lot of benefits for wrestlers. First of all, it helps to develop a lot of cardio endurance which all wrestlers need to have to help them make it through grueling workouts. Secondly, mountain biking involves a lot of hill climbs which require short bursts of explosive energy from the legs which is a lot like taking a shot and driving through your opponent. Because of this, mountain biking is great for developing the type of explosive power wrestlers want in their legs. Lastly, when compared to running and many other sports, mountain biking is low impact. Wrestling is very hard on the body so doing an activity that is not as abusive can give your body time to heal and not add additional injuries to you. 

Olympic Weightlifting

Most wrestlers spend time in the weight room lifting, but the sport of Olympic weightlifting is a great way to build a lot of overall strength, explosiveness, speed, and hip power. Olympic weightlifting revolves around two lifts: the clean and jerk and the snatch. Both of these are highly technical movements that require full body control and strength. In fact, much of the power in Olympic weightlifting comes from the hips so a lot of time is spent on developing hip power which is great for wrestling. Other benefits include development of shoulder and leg strength, core stability, and flexibility.

If you are worried about getting too big by doing a lifting sport, Olympic weightlifting has weight classes just like wrestling. In fact, the mindset in terms of being as strong as possible all while being as small as possible is very similar in both sports.  


Another great activity that has good cross over to wrestling is swimming. It is a great activity to not only get in really good shape and build up very good cardio, but it is also low impact which is good in comparison to how hard wrestling can be on the body. Swimming also really helps to develop shoulder and back muscles which are really important muscle groups that are used a lot in wrestling. In a lot of ways, swimming during the off season is much more beneficial than other cardio type exercises such as running. 


Boxing is another great sport that crosses over to well with wrestling. You don’t even have to necessarily compete, you can just train at a boxing gym. Boxing can help to develop quick feet and really strong core and shoulders. Much like wrestling, boxing is very demanding both physically and mentally and developing both types of strengths are really important to be successful in wrestling. Wrestlers and boxers have a very similar mentality when it comes to training and competing. 

Another possible of boxing during the off season is it can be a great background to have if you ever want to transition into MMA after your wrestling career is over like many wrestlers do. 

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Obstacle Course Racing

Obstacle course racing is a new sport that can be a lot of fun and very challenging. If you don’t know what it is, basically there is a course that you run, usually off road, that has many different obstacles or challenges you have to complete throughout the race. Some obstacles may be climbing ropes or monkey bars, climbing over walls, crawling under barbed wire, or carrying heavy tires for a portion of the race. These races can range from 3 miles up to 13 miles depending on the specific race. 

Training for these types of races include things running, climbing ropes, flipping tires, and pullups which are all great exercises for wrestlers to be doing. So if you are looking for a fun yet physically challenging off the mat, be sure to check out an obstacle course race. 


CrossFit has labeled themselves the sport of fitness. They model their training methods around developing the most fit athlete which they describe as having these ten attributes: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.

Most wrestlers would agree that these ten attributes also help to make up a great wrestler. To achieve results, CrossFit workouts combine powerlifting, high intensity training, gymnastics movements, Olympic weightlifting, and many forms of cardio like running and rowing. 

Not only are CrossFit workouts intense, but most CrossFit gyms have a strong sense of community and healthy competitiveness which makes it a great activity to use to cross train for wrestling. 

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Float Like A Butterfly By J'Den Cox gives you the tools to become a smoother more natural grappler. J'Den goes over the movement and traps that he uses to takedown the world's best wrestlers. In this 4-part instructional J'Den takes you on a tour of what it takes to FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY!