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Warm Up Information

Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 by Paul Turano

Big Round
By Cary Kolat

I was fortunate enough in my career that in the four world tournaments I wrestled in I drew a world champion, or former world champion first round.
I think most wrestlers would shake in their boots under these circumstances, and many of my teammates during those years could not believe the draws I drew every year. The world tournament does not have seeding and it’s a blind draw at weigh-ins with each guy picking a number and what you get is what you get. Many of my European counterparts would use a little strategy and not weigh-in until they saw the numbers that had been drawn as they where placed on the seeding board. Once they saw two or three good guys lumped on one side of the bracket they would weigh-in and play the odds that they would be thrown into the weaker side of the bracket. I never complained about my draws but I did shake my head in disbelief a few times.


For me this was where I wanted to be, because in my mind I had the confidence to wrestle these guys and I knew that I would be more prepared for that round than my opponent because of my warm-up routine. My goal was to always make that first round match my fourth round. Many wrestlers do not put the time into their warm-up that is required and drawing a good opponent in the first round is ideal for a wrestler who may not be up to the same caliber of wrestling as their opponent, but as a coach if you get him ready and properly warmed up that is the time to knock off a good guy.


I actually wanted good guys in the first round of my international days, because I always came out on top in those early rounds. As a coach and fan in the stands there is nothing that upsets me more than watching a good wrestler lose only because you can see in his first round match that he has become winded or his muscles began to fatigue because he did not get himself ready, or his coach did not step in and make him warm-up properly. Keep in mind that a body in motion wants to stay in motion, and a body at rest wants to stay at rest.


I use that example when teaching wrestlers and coaches the importance of a warm-up routine. How do you feel when you have been sitting on the couch for an hour or more and then you walk outside and decide to do a 1 mile sprint without a warm-up? Nothing hurts more than taking your lungs and muscles after they have sitting around and then kicking them into high gear. Your body reacts like it is under attack and causes those burning sensations and heavy breathing to slow you down. Take the same body and do a slow jog for about five minutes, a few short sprints, stretch a little, another jog for about three minutes, and then cut loose. You have given your body a chance to adjust to the rigors of what you are about to put it through, so why would you not put your body under the same strains it takes to compete in a wrestling match.


Some coaches believe that your first round should be your second match when you step out there but I feel it should be your third bout if not fourth. Have you ever watched wrestlers in practice and notice how they get much better by the third practice bout and they do that minus the minimal 30 minute rest required at tournaments. Wrestlers are capable of doing a practice before a tournament if they are properly trained and hit the first round hard and do some damage to the opposing teams. Coaches should not stress the importance of warm-up during a tournament or competition, but take control of the warm-up and really push team members to get ready. This is priority if you are about to compete in the state championships or national tournament and put some team points on the board.

I developed a warm-up for myself that allowed me to have my speed, strength, and technique ready for my first round. The warm-up involved muscle fatigue drills, lifts, cardio burn, and stretching. My rule for myself was when a muscle group or my lungs began to hurt I would continue doing that exercise or drill for an additional minute and then shake it out.

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