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Periodising Wrestling

Periodisation is the organisation of training into daily/monthly/yearly blocks with logical yet creative variations in intensity and volume for overall development and management of recovery.

To begin i'm going to throw us into the deep end with an example of a yearly training program (macrocycle) from the USA Women's Wrestling Team led by Terry Steiner and Emma Randall.

In this example, USA Wrestling have determined 3 types of wrestling:

  1. Drilling - Emphasise Repetition. Shorter Times with Focus on Technique. Low-Medium Intensity/Complexity.

  2. Sparring - Emphasise feeling the movement. Longer times with focus on flow. Medium Intensity/Complexity.

  3. Combat - Live Wrestling. High Intensity/Complexity.

They then organise the exposure to these 3 types of wrestling (as well as strength and cross training) into blocks throughout the year based on the importance and timing of competition. NOTICE how these 3 types are just variations in volume and intensity that shift the training emphasis (ties back to the fundamental concept of periodisation).

Is this how every club/athlete should structure their training? Absolutely not, there are many factors that determine how all of these variables are organised into the training program and they can be organised in many different ways. Some training programs do have their advantages though, especially when it comes to recovery.

For example, in a podcast from Wrestling Mindset, Tony Ramos comments on the main difference between Iowa and Oklahoma wrestling clubs:

"OSU taught me that you don't have to kill your body 24/7"

Looking further into their training methods, OSU places a large emphasis on drilling which maximises technical and tactical development and minimises physical and mental fatigue. IOWA focuses mostly on live wrestling, which, given the intensity and volume of work, is physically and mentally fatiguing. Both clubs are incredibly successful which makes their differences in approach really interesting. Is one better than the other? let me know what you think in the comment section.

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