4 Things Athletes Need to Know for Preseason

Your preseason prep can be crucial for getting yourself ready for the season. This blog is your guide to a successful preseason. Are you ready? Lace up those shoes, let's get started!

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1. Long run conditioning

Now is the time to work on those longer runs. The main criteria will be setting a few longer distances or routes (depending on if you run around the track, your neighborhood, or on a trail), and repeating those distances to beat your time. It is important to chose a few distances that are challenging, make sense for your skill level, and can be completed in the time frame you have to run. 

There is a good trick to helping your body adjust to pushing harder on those long distance runs, and that is called interval training or "fartlek" training. Totally bizarre name, we always laughed in high school cross-country when our coach would get us ready for our fartlek runs! It is actually the Swedish word for "speed-play," and that is how you will approach your runs. Set your run distance for something longer and challenging. Have a way to time yourself like a stop watch, your music player, or a phone. Your first 5-10 minutes of your run will be a good warm-up pace. Then, break into a hard run for 2-3 minutes, then a recovery run for 2-3 minutes. Repeat this until your distance is complete. Your hard run should simulate a hard pace that could ideally be kept up for quite a while, and your recovery should not be a shuffle. You can play with different paces and times that you can individualize for your current shape, which will change as your conditioning improves.

 

2. Weight lifting plan

If you already have someone you are working with, or someone who has given you a weight lifting plan, that is great! Make sure you are implementing it and being consistent. As much as I love working with weights, I don't always think you have to get a gym membership in order to have a weight lifting plan. I am a big fan of body weighted exercises that you can do at home. Below is a sample of a body weight workout you can take and implement. 

45 seconds work/ 15 seconds rest- 2-3 rounds

1. Push ups

2. Squat jumps

3. Front plank holds

4. Pistol squat (alt. legs each time) - use alternatives and progressions from this video here

Alternative FAW (Fulp-Allen Wrestling) workout blogs from the past here and here

 

3. STANCE WORK

If haven't read my blog on how to improve your stance, you can read that here! Stance work is hugely important to work on for your preseason conditioning! Positioning applies to every sport, so do what makes sense for you! 

 

4. Nutrition plan  

There is a lot of research and a lot of information out there regarding nutrition plans. Do your due diligence and start reading up on different nutrition plans. My recommendation is to start with small changes, and encourage your family to take those steps along with you. We all KNOW when we have neglected certain food groups or we need to improve on our choices, you knew before I even asked this question! Take a good look at your eating habits and implement a small change by maybe adding in a new vegetable or two. Carry fruit with you so you aren't stuck with only bad choices come lunch time. Whatever it is you know you need work on, look for small ways to improve. Nutrition is about lifestyle changes, NOT CREATING A DIET. Teach yourself good habits now that will create habits for a lifetime! Not a few months for the season. :) 

Find other FAW blogs on nutrition here and our USA Wrestling feature here

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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