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Upper Body Power Training for Wrestling
By John Gaglione


When wrestlers think of plyometrics, power, or speed training, they think about training the lower body. In all aspects of training it is important to balance out the body. It would be foolish to train only one part of the body for strength, and I believe power training should be done in a similar fashion. In many sports, upper body power is just as important as lower body power.

There are many situations in wrestling where hand speed, upper body agility, and quickness are of paramount importance. Think about a wrestler in a hand fighting situation where he is snapping his opponentís head to set up for a take down. In this situation the wrestler is aggressively using their upper body in a powerful manner in order to control his opponent.

Here are some of my favorite power drills for the upper body for wrestling. All exercises should be down with high intensity and lots of rest in between sets. Lower reps are used to increase power and moderate reps can be used to increase power endurance. If movement quality diminishes and the speed slows down cut the set.


Plyometric Push ups variations are a great way to start adding power training to your upper body routine. These moves are great since they donít require any special equipment and can be performed right inside the wrestling room. It is important that the athlete has mastered the basic push up for attempting this variation.

The kneeling med ball chest pass is a great way to teach the athlete to link the upper and lower body together. This move is preceded by a powerful hip extension that is then transferred through the upper body. Med Ball throws for distance are a great way to train for power since the object can be released and there is no deceleration phase to this movement. This move is done for distance and will work on increasing absolute power for the athlete.




Release pull ups and inverted rows are a great low tech option for increase pulling power for all grapplers. As stated before, it is important to master the basic exercises first before trying to successfully attempt the power version of the exercise. Perform an explosive pulling movement and then release for a brief second before performing the second rep. This will also build a ton of grips strength.


The Med Ball Slam is the best way to develop a powerful snap down for wrestlers. We like to use a dead ball (a ball that doesnít bounce) so the athlete can put in max effort into every repetition. Typically we like to use this move for more power endurance since a wrestler will attempt several snap down over the course of a period in a match whether it be for a takedown or just a set up.



Kneeling Jumps into med ball throw is another great way to link the upper and lower body together. Kneeling jump will train a wrestler to be extremely explosive from the bottom position and be able to hit powerful stand ups with ease. This also teaches wrestler to link movements together and be reactive just like they will need to be in a match.


Rotational Med Ball throws should be utilized to develop rotational power for all types of throws and upper body ties. The Med Ball rotational shot put is a great drill to teach wrestlers to be explosive in a rotational manner.

Here are our favorite upper body power drills for wrestling. As a grappler it is important to be powerful throughout the entire body, so give these moves a try so you can develop a powerful upper body for this upcoming season!


To take your wrestling to the next level and ensure this coming wrestling season is your best one ever go to GaglioneStrength.com and e-mail Coach Gaglione for more information on wrestling training.


 Coach John Gaglione is a Sport Performance Specialist out of Long Island New York. He is a certified "Underground" Strength coach who specializes in training combat athletes. Johnís work has been featured in Elite Fitness Systems, Testosterone Nation , One Result & local wrestling site Long Island Wrestling Association. If you would like to learn more about John you can reach him at www.gaglionestrength.com or e-mail him at gaglionestrength@gmail.com.