How Should I Be Weight Training In My First Year High School Wrestling: Periodization

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High School Wrestling: Periodization

Many wrestlers approach preparation in a disorganized, haphazard manner without any clear goals. This may be wrong. Periodization is a concept designed to help you break your preparation into phases or cycles where you focus on specific training goals. Periodization is designed to help you achieve peak performance. Peak performance is nearly impossible to maintain year-round. Therefore, you divide your training into cycles, including rest cycles. Of course, you want to win every match. This is a desirable goal. But most high school wrestlers especially want to qualify for the state tournament or even win the state tournament. Therefore, it is usually towards the end of the racing season that one wants to peak.

What is periodization?

Periodization is an educational concept popularized by Eastern Bloc countries, particularly Russia. The concept of periodization used in relation to athletic training is usually attributed to a Russian professor named Matveyev. Matveyev was the first to use the term periodization. Periodization is often associated with weight training, but it can be used to train other athletic qualities as well. As I mentioned earlier, periodization is simply dividing training into cycles or phases where certain goals (eg strength or endurance) are focused on. The main goal of periodization is to help an athlete peak for a specific challenge (eg the state wrestling tournament).

Tudor Bompa, known as “The Father of Periodization”, wrote a book titled Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Education. Tudor Bompa breaks down the annual workout into three simple phases.

Three Phases:

  • Preparatory Phase
  • Competitive Phase
  • Transition Phase

However, these three phases can be further analyzed. A wrestler’s annual schedule may also be known as a macro cycle. The macrocycle can be broken down into mesocycles (ie preparatory, competitive and transitional). Each mesocycle can be broken down into microcycles (eg a week). On the other hand, more than one macrocycle can be used during a wrestling season because you may have more than one major competition you want to peak for.

Periodization Types:

  • Linear
  • Inverse Linear
  • Coupled
  • Simultaneous
  • Waveform or Alternating

The type of periodization most athletes are familiar with is linear periodization. Linear periodization usually starts with a higher volume of general work and then culminates with more intense, sport-specific work.

A typical linear periodization chart for wrestling:

  • Preparatory — lifting weights for sets in the 8- to 10-rep range, long-distance running, and high-volume wrestling
  • Competitive — lifting weights for sets in the 4- to 6-rep range, sprinting, more intense but less bulky wrestling, peaking for competition
  • Transition — taking a couple of weeks off before starting training again

This is just a very simple example of periodization for wrestling. Wrestling is different than some other sports because you can wrestle in several tournaments during the season. You may need to prioritize certain competitions (eg the conference tournament and the district tournament). Mark Ginther believes in periodization. You might want to do an online search for Mark Ginther Periodization and Tudor Bompa Periodization.

Some have argued that periodization is overly complicated and impractical. For example, you ideally want to be “on top” all season and win every match and tournament. Additionally, macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles can seem a bit elaborate and puzzling. However, trying to stay on top throughout the year or even all season is difficult. Also, some high school students are multi-sport athletes. A student athlete may compete in track in the spring, baseball in the summer, football in the fall, and wrestling in the winter. Each of these sports will have their own unique requirements. So trying to use periodization for wrestling may seem impractical. However, Tudor Bompa believes that the alternative to periodization is “chaos.”

I would suggest reading up on the different types of periodization. Some coaches believe that an athlete can train for strength, endurance and other attributes at the same time while others do not. In my opinion, you should try to keep periodization simple. The main thing to remember is that periodization is just planning your training. For example, you may want to do some longer runs during the off-season (eg summer) and switch to sprints during the race season. You probably aren’t going to start out wrestling too hard in your first few workouts. You may need to work on technique at first and increase your volume and intensity over time. Additionally, you may want to do a less intense workout the night before a big race so you’re recovered and fresh to fight hard the next day.

In sports such as swimming and marathon running, athletes often have a “taper” in which their training volume is reduced in the final days or even weeks before a big race. You, as a wrestler, may need some less intense training and preparation leading up to a big match.

As you can see, periodization can be a complicated concept. However, planning your annual training using cycles with specific goals in mind will almost certainly help your wrestling efforts.

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