Improving your stance in the offseason

 

We all know the feeling of getting back into shape. It SUCKS. I always felt that besides the obvious fact that getting your lungs back to the heavy load it was used to takes time, the next thing that took the longest was getting used to staying in my stance again. It is so, so crucial for wrestler to have an awesome, strong stance. In the U.S. we emphasize stance for style, and not always as a necessity. If you watch Japan, those women will always have #1 down: an unbreakable stance. That good stance creates numerous opportunities to score, and to defend. And if you’re noticing that you got scored on way too many times during your wrestling season, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon! Let’s do some stance work!!

Right now basics are the necessity, and that means being able to stay in our stance for long periods of time. You can see in the pictures that I also put my hands behind my back. This helps me focus on the workload going to my legs and not giving into rounding my back if I have my hands in front of me like a normal wrestling stance. This is meant to be a challenge! Dont cheat yourself! Getting yourself used to using your legs FIRST in your stance will start creating awesome habits for when you’re super fatigued in a match. Your shots will remain more powerful on minutes 4, 5 and 6 because your legs will be stronger and you will be more disciplined about being in a great stance! Because it will be natural to be there!

 

First step is the baby step. Literally. Get into a wide, low squat where moving side to side is still natural (don't get all into a huge sumo squat to show me how flexible you are and you cant even move side to side!). See how long you can side shuffle left (more like slow steps), and then right, with out your feet getting close, without bouncing, and without coming up out of your squat stance. It is super important to REACH with your first foot. I have an old photo here that displays what I’m talking about perfectly.

 

Next drill is to lunge forward. I start in my squat stance, hands behind my back. I lunge with my right foot forward, simulating a shot. And now with the power of my legs and my foot, I drive up and back to my squat stance. Switch legs, and see how many rounds you can complete, each time coming back to your squat stance in between each lunge. 

The last drill is going to really challenge your hip flexability. Start in your squat stance, hands behind your back, put your right knee down, then your left knee so you are kneeling. NOW, pick your right knee up and place your foot down, and then your left so you are back in your squat. But instead of allowing your hips and your bum to be up high, THIS is where your sumo squat comes into play (I know you all wanted to do one!) You want to keep your sumo squat so low that when you place your knees down one at a time, its as if where ever you are gazing, your view of the horizon doesn’t change. My head will stay in the same place if I was in the squat, or in the kneeling position!

Ok so you’re thinking, eww! WHY do I have to work on my hips! Its so weird! And maybe you're a guy and you think that’s totally a girl thing. Well guess what? Its NOT. And if your hip strength and flexibility SUCK, then your double wont be as effective, or your backside single when you pick it up and set it on your hip. Or any other shot! It all applies! Because as wrestlers, we are forced to be in compact positions, and then must explode out of them. The only way you can do that is through rotation, flexibility, and strength. This is just the beginning to all the awesome ways you can improve your stance and leg strength that applies directly to wrestling. If you can add this in to your offseason, and then increase your reps and include these as your after practice cool down, you’re going to be seeing a whole new wrestler.

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