July 01, 2008
In my past four articles, I have talked about some of the basics of wrestling, such as stance, shots, takedowns, escapes, reversals, nearfalls, and pins. That was all information on performing quite specific wrestling moves. Now, the broader question is: How can and should wrestlers use CrossFit to complement our wrestling?
One of the useful things about CrossFit for wrestlers is the amount of mental toughness it can develop. Anyone can do a workout like "Murph" scaled or over the course of a day. But when you put the clock on it and maybe even a time cut-off, it becomes an entirely different thing. Another aspect of CrossFit that carries over so well to wrestling is the short and intense workouts that are its mainstay (e.g., "Fran," "Diane," "Helen," and the like, which I'd say usually take somewhere around ten minutes for the average, moderately experienced CrossFitter). A wrestling match in college can last anywhere from seven to nine minutes, depending on whether it goes into overtime. It is imperative that a wrestler be able to continue pushing through a match right up until the end. If you back down at any point, you are giving your opponent the advantage both physically and mentally. CrossFit provides a similar experience and response in this regard.
Workouts done in the wrestling room are typically limited to bodyweight/gymnastics movements unless you are fortunate enough to have a weight room right next to the wrestling mat. Most of us don't have this kind of setup, so what can we do for a WOD and when can we do it? For competitive wrestlers, skill training and mat time are the priorities in season and that's where your efforts should be concentrated. A short and intense bodyweight WOD would be a great way to finish off wrestling practices that involve technique drills or live wrestling work.