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Cross Training for Wrestling: Developing a Workout that Supplements Your Style

Several different aspects of the body must be addressed in order to cross train effectively. One of the issues trainees have is placing overemphasis on one aspect over the others. Overemphasis makes it difficult to give each aspect the maximum amount of effort each deserves.

The simplest approach is to split each necessity of your body into four different categories: strength, endurance, technique, and explosive. “Explosive” refers to powerful, elastic movement in the body. “Technique” refers to kata (forms), self-defense, and other movements practiced in your martial arts style.

Developing A Program

In order to come up with a program specific to you, focus on what your best category is. Someone who has spent their life lifting probably needs more cardio endurance.

cross training for muscle endurance in wrestling

Also important is to put together a training program that doesn’t cause so much fatigue that martial arts technique becomes stunted. It’s easy, as the body becomes more sculpted and open to ego, to ignore the technique that intense training is meant to simply supplement.

The following categories have a series of workouts that can be used to exercise each aspect of training for your muscles to last longer in time. Don’t view this as a complete list of techniques. Developing a program is unique to each person, though for beginners it would be best to train in each category twice a week, compiling four exercises max.

A final category not mentioned in this article is abdominal muscles. Many famous martial artists, boxers, wrestlers, and MMA fighters have all been quoted saying that “fighters without developed abdominal muscles have no business fighting; it’s called your ‘core’ for a reason.”


- Pushups
- Bench
- Inclined Bench
- Farmer’s Walk
- Lateral dumbbell exercises

Any “T” lifts, front horizontal lifts, or bent-over row exercises that work lats and deltoids fit into these exercises that promote muscular strength:
- Squats
- Rows


- Running
- Kata (depending on difficulty)
- Biking
- Swimming

In terms of joint strain, full-body workout, and resistance, swimming is the best cardiovascular workout.

- Jump rope
- VO2 Max drills
- Erging


- Pull-ups
- Clap Pushups
- Cleans
- Plyometric workouts
- Wall jumps
- Hypertrophic (“bulge-building”) exercises
- Bridges
- Running: sprints
- VO2 Max drills


This is a category that is specific to each martial artist. It refers to self-defense techniques, kata, all ground techniques, sparring techniques, or other punching and kicking drills. Bruce Lee and other MMA artists have claimed mixing strength training and days of heavy technique has caused problems, and recommend staggering the two.

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