WRESTLING: What to do in the Off Season

Unless you were at the state tournament this past weekend, your wrestling season has been over for at least a week. During this last week you could have spent your time doing any number of postseason celebrations. Eating large dinners with no concern about weight, staying up late and sleeping in later, as well as going straight home after school to relax. All that is good and necessary for the body and mind to regather themselves from the several long months of intense training. This time of rest does not last forever though. For you wrestlers who are serious competitors, chances are this feeling did not even last more than a week. You are already thinking about how to avenge losses, what camps to go to, what freestyle and greco tournaments you want to do, etc. This article will help you identify your weaknesses, find proper places to train, how to eat, and ultimately, how to make the most of out this offseason so you can be an even greater wrestler next season.

Before you even take your first steps back into the wrestling room, you need to clearly set and identify your goals. Visualize what you want to achieve next season. Maybe it is to stay on the Varsity line up, or never get pinned, or qualify for Masters. The goals you set for the next season, build the framework for how you tackle this off season. Do not go into the wrestling room without a purpose. Do not go into the weight room without a purpose. Set a goal, visualize yourself achieving that goal while you put in the work to get there.


The first thing you can always do to become a better wrestler is to actually wrestle. Get some friends who are experienced wrestlers together and wrestle at the park, or in the living room. Having a training partner you can practice technique with will make you both better and give you an edge against the competition. Practice all the moves you suck at or want to get better at. Look at technique videos and drill, drill, drill. Carey Kolat is a legendary wrestler and has a vast technique library on his YouTube channel.

Some schools have a wrestling club that practices and competes in the off season. I am located in Sacramento, and there is just about a wrestling club at every high school in the area. I am a strength and conditioning consultant, and JV wrestling coach for Roseville High School who has over the years developed a very experienced and large wrestling club that practices and lifts weights several times a week in the off season. If you are in the Roseville, CA area feel free to reach out to me on how you can join the wrestling club.

Another option is to attend wrestling clinics and wrestling camps. I had the pleasure of attending several camps and clinics over the course of my wrestling career. Some of my bread and butter techniques that I still use in BJJ today were learned at these clinics or camps. Camps and clinics do cost a decent amount of money to attend. If you don’t have to money, you can WORK. Working won’t kill you. If you are in high school, you are plenty old enough to get a job. Mow lawns, wash cars, walk dogs, etc. Someone is always willing to pay a young kid to do the work they are too old to do.


In addition to refining your technique and wrestling more, you need to get stronger. No matter what your weight is, your skill level, win/loss record, you still need to get stronger. Mark Bell has a very famous quote that I wish I applied to my off season training. Bell famously says, “Strength is never a weakness.” You can never be too strong. Sure you can be short on conditioning, but you can never be too strong. Get STRONG. Lift heavy weights several times a week. Do squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, pull ups, bent over rows, farmer walks, push ups, dips, etc. That being said, don’t skip out on your conditioning maintenance. Do some sprint intervals about 1-2x/week. Keep in mind how I said sprint. You wrestle for six minutes, not 30. There’s little need for you to go on these crazy long runs if your main goal is to get as strong as possible this off season. Do anywhere between 10-20 rounds of sprint work per workout/week. This is actually my favorite part of training wrestlers. My ultimate passion is to help them get stronger for the next season. I train wrestlers to become stronger and bigger season after season, while still being in a competitive weight class. Just like you should find a training partner to drill with, find a training partner to lift with. You can push each other and keep each other accountable to stay disciplined and train.


You want to find a gym that has Olympic barbells and dumbbells of varying weights. Using only machines will never make you as strong as REAL weight. I have trained out of my garage for many years and I do not have any weight machines. I have barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, rings, pull up bars, bands, etc. All my clients use this equipment and get stronger. No machines needed. I am in no way saying machines are bad for you. Machines are great for other sports and training needs. But if you want to get strong, use the tools that give you the biggest bang for your buck.

I specialize in training wrestlers both in season and during the off season. For more information on programs, 1-on-1 and group training sessions at my facility, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for schedule and pricing.

3. EAT

In addition to all the wrestling and lifting you need to be EATING. You are no longer in season so there is no need to stay in your weight class. Do not gain an excessive amount of body fat, but gain some weight. Put some some quality size and muscle. To do that you need to eat. You can’t build a tank out of aluminum foil, and you can not build a strong and powerful wrestler with junk food. Eat lean meats, eggs, drink milk, lots of vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some fruit. Stay away from soda, breads, pastas, chips, fast food and processed sugars. It will take discipline. It will be difficult at first, but if you are serious about becoming a better wrestler next season, you will need to sacrifice things like junk food to do it.

When I train wrestlers in the off season, I also provide them specific nutritional guides to help them build the muscle they want to build, develop the conditioning they need, and put on the size they are looking for. For more information on eating clean for size and strength, you can look at some of my other articles in regards to nutrition, or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for further questions.

With these three tips in mind, go attack and take advantage of this off season! I made the biggest improvements during the off season, not during the season. I made a lot of mistakes during my off seasons, which I will talk about in the next article. For more information on strength and conditioning for wrestling athletes, follow me on Instagram at @settlagestrength. To see my daily workouts and lifestyle focused around #dailydiscipline, follow my personal account @joshuasettlage.

For personalized wrestling training programs, nutrition guides for both strength gain and fat loss, 1-on-1 and group training sessions, feel free to email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for a consultation.


Tips on Recovery for Wrestling

If you are a wrestler from California, you have just finished your divisional tournament. If you are moving on to Masters you are just a few days away from the hardest tournament of the season up to this point. If you have read my last two articles, you have learned how to properly cut weight, and how to prevent most injuries you might sustain during this postseason. I’m going to be frank and inform you that you will not get any better between now and the Masters tournament. You can not get any stronger, you can’t get any faster, and your skills as a wrestler will not make any groundbreaking changes in the next few days. That being said, you are still training hard to make sure your body is in peak condition to wrestle at optimal performance. You can not do anything to get any better at the sport of wrestling these next few days, but there is a lot you can do to make yourself a whole lot worse.

What I am talking about, is recovery. How you recover from training can make the difference between you waking up Friday morning on weight, fresh and ready to wrestle, and you being off weight, sore, and sluggish. Here are some simple and easy things you can start doing TODAY to maximize your recovery from training sessions. Sure you can go to a massage therapist, or go to your local cryotherapy joint, but recovery methods that are done to you are rarely more effective as the recovery methods you do yourself.


Sound familiar? Yes, mobility is a great way to prevent injury, but it is also a great way to recover from training. Here is a great example: When I do my 20 rep squats, I always make sure I take some time immediately following the workout during my cool down, and also before bed to foam roll my legs. This helps decrease some of the muscles of my lower body will experience the following days.


I will also walk. Now after a hard training session you might think that laying down and resting is how to properly recover. Laying down to sleep is a great way to recover. However sitting around in the same position all day doing nothing is not. Studies have shown that light movement that provides blood flow to the area promotes healing and recovery. Increased blood flow to the damaged muscles within the same day of training helps them repair faster by flushing out any residual lactic acid and bring in more white blood cells. These white blood cells contribute to the rebuilding and repair of the muscle tissue. Soreness is caused largely in part by swelling of the muscles due to an abundance of white blood cells. A tool I use to help with promoting blood flow is a electrical stem unit (shown above). This electrically stimulates the muscles forcing rapid contractions, thus helping flush out lactic acid and bringing more blood flow to the area. This is not a necessity, but it sure is convenient.

After a hard weight lifting workout, I will usually go for a walk, or spend 10-20 minutes rolling out whatever was trained previously. After grappling training, I will make sure to take my body through some range of motion exercises. Stuff like air squats, PVC pass throughs, lunges with an overhead stretch, etc.


I tell just about all my clients this short mantra: Muscles are broken down in the gym, refueled in the kitchen, and rebuilt during sleep. What you put into your body immediately following training is crucial to the start of the recovery process. After a hard two hour long wrestling practice, you’re beat. Your lungs are burned out, your shoulders are dead, legs heavy, and neck sore. Immediately following training, your body is primed to take in nutrients, immediately begin to use them to refuel those muscles and utilize those nutrients efficiently. After training you should be looking to take in some form of what I call clean carbohydrates to refuel glycogen stores and something that will help in repairing muscle. Real food is the best option for you. Having a banana and some chicken post training is perfect. You can leave the wrestling room, wash your hands, and crush that banana and chicken. In layman’s terms, your body will take most of the carbohydrates from banana and turn them into glycogen to be placed back into the muscle. The protein from the chicken is used to be part of the rebuilding process in muscle repair and protein synthesis.

If you can not have real food right away after practice, some supplementation can be used. In my own grappling training I will bring a shaker cup with some BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids), to mix with water and drink in the car on the way home. BCAA’s are basically broken down protein molecules that do not have to be further broken down to be used for recovery and muscle repair.

Imagine you have a LEGO structure you are building. Every time you need more LEGO’s someone hands a fully built set. To get the pieces you need, you must break down the set, pick the pieces you need, and then apply them to your own structure. This takes way longer than if someone just handed you a tub full of disconnected pieces. Using BCAA’s when real food is not available is a great way to help with recovery from training.

(I currently use FNX Supplements BCAA’s. I just take one scoop and mix it with water. You can find the product here. Use promo code, “FNXJOSH” for 15% your order.) If you can not get real food in you right away after training and are in need of carbohydrates post training, dextrose is a cheap and easy option. You can throw some in with your BCAA’s.

REAL FOOD IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN A SUPPLEMENT. Having real food post training might take some extra planning and preparation. If you made it this far already, you should be taking matters into your own hands and doing whatever you need to perform your best.


The final and arguably the best thing you can do for recovery is to sleep. It is during sleep where you body recovers the most. Simply sleeping longer is a great place to start. During these last few weeks of the season, look to get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep per night. This means even on the weekends. You only have about two weeks left in the season. You can afford to skip hanging out with friends, partying, and playing video games, for two weeks.

Your quality of sleep can be greatly affected by what you do before you turn the lights off. Some low hanging fruit to improve sleep are… 1) Do look at a screen two hours before bedtime. I know that seems just near impossible today’s day and age, but hear me out. When you are on your phone, on the computer or watching TV, your eyes are exposed to blue light. This artificial blue light basically tricks your brain into thinking it is day time still and needs to be fired up and ready to go. Eliminating exposure to this blue light helps stimulate your parasympathetic nervous systems which down regulates your body and helps you relax. Two hours before bed, stop watching TV, stop playing video games, and turn your phone on night shift. 2) Turn all the lights off in your room. A light no matter how small, can affect your sleep. It can prevent your ability to fall into a deep REM sleep. 3) You can also mobilize before bed to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Like I said before, the parasympathetic nervous system is what is responsible for down regulating your body and your mind and preparing you for relaxation and sleep.

I do not believe that overtraining is a common occurrence in high level athletics, just under recovery. If you don’t recover enough, you are sapping performance and risk not being 100% on game day. Give these recovery methods a shot and prime your body to perform it’s best for this next step on the road to state.

For more information and a peek into my daily life, workouts, and personal nutrition, follow me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

Tips on Staying Injury Free During Wrestling

For all your wrestlers, the road to state is upon you. Based on your performance at League Finals, you are now preparing to move on to divisionals or the Masters tournament. If you have been training hard, pushing yourself on the mat, cutting weight, and everything in between to make yourself better, chances are you have encountered some bumps and bruises. You got banged up a bit and have a nagging injury or a tweaked something or other. Here are some of my favorite ways to prevent injury and mend the bumps and bruises before I go from just being hurt, to being injured.


I should not even have to say this, but you as an athlete must know the difference between being hurt and being injured. If you are working hard to make it to the state tournament, you should know by now that you will have to compete while being hurt and banged up. It is part of the sport. I am not a doctor and am not trying to be one on the internet. If you have a legitimate injury that needs professional medical attention, do as the professionals say. These following tips are things that have worked for me in the past when I was HURT, not injured, and have a decent amount of evidence supporting them.


Now that is out of the way, let me start off by saying that staying injury free is 90% of the time easily preventable as long as you listen to your body. Sure, freak accidents happen, but you know when something is bugging you, a little achy, or tight, and you keep pushing it. Sure enough, something rips, tears, dislocates, or breaks. Listen to your body and monitor your training accordingly. At the start of each day, shake things out to see where you are at. Know your limitations for the day, do the adequate mobility work to look for improvement in the joint or muscle. If you are still banged up by practice time, let your partner know and work around it.

My junior year of wrestling I had competed in a tournament about two weeks out from league finals. At that tournament, I tweaked my shoulder pretty good and had a hard time reaching overhead, basing up, or getting sprawled on. I should have listened to my body, and taken it easy on the moves, techniques, exercises, that caused pain in that shoulder, as well as let my training partner know to watch out for that shoulder. However, I did not. What resulted was me still trying to go hard in the paint for a week, and having a small hurt shoulder turn into an injured one. This all happened in the two weeks leading up to league finals and the day before the tournament I had to pull out. Do not go so hard in the paint, that the paint dries up.

Listen to your body. Communicate with your training partners and coaches. Do the adequate work to try to mend whatever is banged up. This leads me into the second tip.


Mobility is more than just stretching. Mobility is means to help you be flexible through motion and all of it’s ranges. For example, reaching down and touching your toes does not do much in regards to helping your squat. You are simply stretching your tight hamstrings, not improving their ability to move and be flexible through motion. However, foam rolling the hamstrings and glutes is very beneficial to helping your squat mobility. Loosened up hamstrings help you not round your lumbar spine in the bottom of the whole and achieve a better depth.

This can be included in pre and post practice recovery work. You go to school, work, etc. go train and at the sound of that last whistle or bell, you pack up your stuff and go home to sit for several hours, letting your fatigued muscles grow tight. At the end of practice try foam rolling your T-spine (your back), try smashing your anterior deltoid (outer chest and front of shoulder) with a baseball or lacrosse ball, or find a wall to open up those hip flexors. Doing just a few minutes of mobility before practice can help you warm up and have better muscle contractions and agility, while post practice can kick start your recovery and prevent muscles from becoming stiff or sore after training.

Dr. Kelly Starrett has some of the most informational and popular mobility videos on the internet. His book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard” is full of techniques and methods of mobility for essentially everybody part. You can buy his book on Amazon here, and check out his extensive YouTube channel, here.

3. HEAT.

So you have been listening to your body at practice. Not pushing the limits of a particular joint that is feeling a bit achy. You told your training partner to watch out for this joint, cause it’s a little banged up (I know I say that a lot of will continue to say “banged up”). You do your mobility work both before practice, and during the cool down afterwards. Still after all this, you still have that nagging tweak. Something that I have used for almost every injury for years of lifting weights and wrestling, is heat. Whether it be a heating pad, sauna, steam room, hot shower, doesn’t matter. Heat helps promote blood flow. Blood and the fluids of the lymphatic system are what is largely responsible for healing and mending of injuries through bringing nutrients to the injured area.

Referring back to my shoulder injury my junior year, after the season had ended and still no luck on my shoulder getting better, I at first looked into how icing periodically throughout the day could help heal my shoulder. I came across a video that Dr. Starrett posted on his YouTube channel where he breaks down why we having the whole idea about icing wrong. You can watch it here. Icing freezes (pun intended) the joints and repeated use can cause the muscles to grow stiff. This is why during the peak of winter time you do not feel as loose at the start of practice until your hoodie is drenched in sweat, and the wrestling room has turned into a sauna.

Movement through range of motion is one of the best ways to heal the muscles around a joint, or the joint itself and an easy way to do that pain free is to heat up the area first. What I did in high school, and even still to this day is take a hot shower and slowly work my banged up joint through ranges of motion. I would do arm circles both directions, scarecrows, scapular retraction exercises, etc. If I did not have time to take a shower and dry off again, I would place a heating pad on the area of pain for about 10-15 minutes. Sure enough, after a couple weeks of doing this process two or three times a day, my shoulder was good as new. No ice needed.

I might do an article that goes more in depth about mobility and the use of heat therapy for healing minor injuries. There is a lot of science and research that supports these three tips, and from personal experience, all three have worked for me. Hope these three tips help you keep wrestling all the way through to the state tournament.

Tips on Weight Cutting for Wrestling

It is that time of year. Your last league dual meet has been completed and now your focus is on League Finals and the road to state. Thanks to the two pound allowance that was administered a couple weeks ago, you are planning on dropping to the next lowest weight class. If you are going to embark on such an endeavor, you must know some simple rules of weight cutting in a healthier, yet effective manner.

Before I continue, let me be clear that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. The following is a compilation of personal experience and research conducted by yours truly. Always consult a physician before partaking in any extreme weight loss procedures.

Back to my tips for weight cutting. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you are dropping weight each week on the road to state.


I know it sounds crazy. You would think that the best way to lose weight is to just stop eating. You are correct, you can lose a lot of weight by simply no longer eating paired with exercise. However, that is a sure way to sap performance, and though the quick drop in weight is nice, your weight will eventually stall out.

Food is fuel, bottom line. If you want to make a car lighter, you take off the heavier pieces and replace them with lighter ones, NOT by taking out all the gasoline. Your body acts in a similar way. After those hard training sessions in the wrestling room, your body needs fuel to recover and rebuild itself in preparation for the next hard training session. Your body is broken down in the wrestling room, refueled in the kitchen, and rebuilt during sleep. I tell all my athletes to continue eating a clean diet, even if they are trying to cut weight. Simply switching to healthy foods would guarantee a quick 2-3lb drop in a week or two.

A simple guideline to follow on what to eat when cutting weight would be… i. If it comes from the ground or has a mom it is probably good for you, ii. If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. That is a great place to start if you are looking to make some healthy changes to your diet. Keep eating, just eat till your satisfied but not full. If you need to go for a run before bed to get a little sweat going and lose .5-1lb, do so. DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF.


I can imagine that this also will sound crazy. You lose weight while you sleep. If you weigh yourself before bed and check your weight in the morning, you will notice that you would have lost some weight. Finding out the average amount of weight lost during sleep is a great tool to use when cutting weight. I know I lose about 2lbs during sleep. I compete at 155lbs when I cut weight. Knowing I lose about 2lbs from sleep, I now know that the night before morning weigh ins, I need to weigh 157lbs. This is usually my weight post dinner, and after about 45 mins light jog to lose a little weight from dinner and keep my metabolism up.

You do not need to be on weight the night before weigh ins, you only need to be on weight when you step on the scale. Track your weight every day and night for a week. Find the average amount of weight lost during sleep and factor that into your target weight the night before. If you need to run laps in the arena before weigh ins to lose a pound, it is not a big deal. You can lose a pound of water weight in 30-45 mins easy.


So you made weight and are walking back to the stands to eat breakfast. What you decide to eat for breakfast plays a very important role in optimizing your performance after a serious weight cut. Immediately begin consuming fluids to rehydrate. Water is obviously a given. Try drinking close to a full water bottle before eating any solid foods. Having a good amount of water in your system will help with your digestion, and immediately begin the rehydration process. Sipping on Pedialyte along with water is another popular way to rehydrate due to the high content of electrolytes. However, drink this slow. There have been some cases of people drinking it too quickly and having the sharts or runs later on in the day.

You are also going to want to consume some form of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help you pull water into the muscles. Carbohydrates also aid in the production of glycogen which is the fuel for the muscles. When your muscles are depleted of glycogen, your performance is sapped. Ever seen someone start off really strong in a tournament, and at the end are just a shell of themselves? They will be a conditioning machine in the first few rounds of the tournament, but by their fourth and fifth match they are just gassed. Much of that is due to the lack of glycogen or fuel in the muscle. Rehydrating properly, and consuming enough carbohydrates to refuel glycogen stores is crucial for optimal performance for a long day of wrestling.

There are obviously a lot more steps involved in a safe, successful weight cut. However, I will have to dive into those another time. Hope you find these three tips helpful if you are lost during your weight cut, or if you are a seasoned wrestler familiar with the weight cutting process. If you have any more questions about weight cutting or prepping for the road to the state wrestling tournament, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

3 Things Wrestlers Should Do In Their Pre-Season

Labor day weekend is now officially behind us, and the heat waves and summer tournaments are over. Now is the calm between being in the off season, and being deep into the weekly dual meets, tournaments, cold winter and all. As a wrestler, you are the only one responsible for your losses the previous season. There is no one else to blame, but you. As a wrestler, you can not claim credit for any of your wins. Each of your wins last season came from the many contributions both your training partners and coaches invested in you. Although, during the off season, what you do to get better is entirely your responsibility. The summer months are what really separate the JV and Varsity line ups, the divisional competitors, and state placers. During the summer, a wrestler makes a conscious choice whether they want to crush the competition next season or not. They make a choice between being a glutton at every backyard BBQ and hardly gets a wink of sleep, and those who focus on getting stronger, refining technique, and keeping their nutrition in check. What YOU decided to do this summer is what has put you in the position you are in now. It is now the week after Labor Day weekend, back in school, and time to start up pre season training. Here are three things every wrestler who is serious about becoming the best wrestler they can be should be doing right now in this precious preseason.

  1. Keep Getting STRONG.

If you are one of those wrestlers who chose to take advantage of the off season, you most likely spent most of the summer training hard to build a firm foundation of strength to take into next season. Now that it is the pre-season, do not stop now! You still have at least three months before your first tournament. That’s 2 months at the very least to keep lifting heavy and getting as strong as can be. You might have to make sacrifices like skipping weekend parties and late nights to be a good student, and lift for wrestling. You can’t stop now, because there is still work to be done. You do not want to throw away that strength you worked so hard for over the summer. With that being said, now is the time to introduce a little conditioning. Finish out your workouts with some sprint intervals on the track, or sled drags and pushes. You do not need to run a marathon, but something short, fast to start building your engine. A future article will discuss different conditioning finishers for pre-season training. Here is one of the simplest finishers: 20 minutes total of 30s all out sprints, followed by 30s of rest. If you have never done this on a rowing machine, give that a try. You will find what you’re made of on that rower.


If you have not been training this summer to get strong, now is the time to start. Start squatting, deadlifting, and pressing. If you need to know why strength is important to sport and how to perform each lift, refer to last week’s article here. There is a famous saying, “On a hot summer day with no shade, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is right now.” You should have started doing some sort of structured strength training two weeks after your last match. If you did not, then you better get to the gym and start now.

2) Dial in Your Nutrition:

School has started which means there are no more summer BBQ’s, swim parties, late night hang outs or kickbacks. Now is the time to get your nutrition straight. You want to have your diet locked in BEFORE season starts. Trying to adjust your diet, finding out what foods your body responds well too, and trying to develop new eating habits to make weight in season is very hard. Get your food straight now. It will only make you a better athlete. If you have never seriously eaten clean before. Start with these two simple rules: 1) If it comes from the ground or has a mom, it’s probably good for you. 2) If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. Simple as that. Not only will you perform better as an athlete, you will gradually begin to lose excess body fat gained in the summer, thus giving you a better idea of what weight class you can be most competitive in. Learning to properly fuel your body for optimal performance should be done before you begin training for optimal performance.



For some wrestling programs, not all preseason practices are mandatory. You have to chose to show up to practice. If you are in the middle of football season and/or have commitment to another sport that’s a different story. Although, if you are serious wrestler, you better show up. It’s no secret that the wrestlers who have been to more practices, drilled more tilts, taken more shots, and finished more takedowns at practice are going to out perform you every time. Put in extra work every chance you get. If there’s no practice on Saturday, invite a team mate over, move the couch and coffee table and drill tilts for an hour on the carpet. If there is no one who wants to drill for an hour on a Saturday, move the couch and coffee table and drill your stand up escapes. Getting in 100 perfect reps doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Instead of laying on the couch watching TV, watch your matches from last season and take notes (I started doing this when I was a sophomore in high school. Hands down one of the best things I did to become a better wrestler. I still do it to this day with all my jiu jitsu matches.)


I apply this principle in my own jiu jitsu training. All summer I would find someone who would want to show up an hour early to drill transitions and submissions. I usually stay after class to get an extra 30 minutes of live rolls in. When no one wants to get to jiu jitsu early, I go over to my old wrestling team and wrestle with them for an hour before I go to jiu jitsu. On Sundays I drive 30 minutes across town to another jiu jitsu school and get in an hour of live rolling. My game has improved drastically, because of the extra steps I take each week to become better. My next competition is in 46 days and I want to be prepared as I can be. I will take every chance I get to become better. You have 3 months. Get after it.

These are the three things you should be doing right now during this precious preseason. If you are not, start NOW. Not tomorrow, or Monday. TODAY. Begin to build discipline and take advantage of opportunities to become a better wrestler. Next season is a reflection of the work you put in during the offseason and preseason. Get strong, eat clean, and wrestle.


#SUMISSIONSHREDDED is a training program made for wrestlers, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and submission grappling athletes, made by a former high school wrestler, current BJJ and submission grappling athlete and life long lifter; Me. I have tried many sports, but my one love always came back to grappling focused combat sports. Through the seven plus years of training, I have utilized many different strength and conditioning programs to achieve different goals throughout my grappling career. I constructed this program based off of how I have prepared for the weight cut and conditioning training of my last two competitions earlier this year and had great success. My main goals and big focus for this program were to get stay strong, build on my conditioning, and have an easy weight cut where I can be the biggest strongest competitor in my weight class.


To do this program, you will need a weightlifting belt, or a powerlifting belt, and a gym with the equipment necessary to do squats, bench presses, deadlifts, pull ups, dips, and plenty of dumbbells.


Here are just a few questions for you: Do you pin most of your opponents in the first period? Do you lose the majority of your matches by points or pin in the third period? At the end of a match do you find yourself exhausted mounted and hanging on for dear life? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this program is for you. The focus of this program is to build your aerobic and anaerobic capacity to push the pace of a match, as well as serve as a way to train to cut weight if need be.


Yes! There will be two versions available, one for straight conditioning, and one for conditioning with a weight cut bias.


No! This program is still rooted in strength. This program will have you lifting heavy to maintain the strength you’ve worked so hard to obtain, but will help you become a better athlete through the development of your conditioning.


No it is not. This is an inclusive strength program designed for ALL grappling athletes. Wrestlers in competing in both collegiate, freestyle, and greco, as well as traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, and the No-Gi submission grappling crowd. The athletic demands of all these grappling sports are relatively the same despite different techniques and rule sets.


There are going to be two version of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED. One for the off season, and a slightly different one meant for in season training that includes a weight cut


This program can be easily tailored to your experience level as a lifter. If you are someone who is just getting into sport specific strength and conditioning, you can choose the scaled version of the workouts.



Program Payment Plan Price Description


Full acess to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly checkins and monthly FaceTime calls.


Full acess to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly checkins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#SUBMISISONSHREDDED (Personalized Programming) One Time


Full acess to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED tailored specifically to your athletic needs and resources, and bodytype, customized nutrition plan, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, daily checkins and weekly FaceTime calls.

If you’re interested in #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED, fill out the fields below to sign up for the newsletter!


3 Days Before Weigh In From GrapplingX Elk Grove 2017


#SUMISSIONSTRONG is a training program made for wrestlers, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and submission grappling athletes, made by a former high school wrestler, current BJJ and submission grappling athlete and life long lifter; Me. I have tried many sports, but my one love always came back to grappling focused combat sports. Through the seven plus years of training, I have utilized many different strength and conditioning programs to achieve different goals throughout my grappling career. I constructed this program based off of how I prepared for my last two competitions earlier this year and had great success. My main goals and big focus for this program were to get crazy strong, keep most of my conditioning, and not get too big to the point where I wouldn’t make weight. In this program you can expect to get big, strong, all while still being able to make weight.


To do this program, you will need a weightlifting belt, or a powerlifting belt, and a gym with the equipment necessary to do squats, bench presses, deadlifts, pull ups, dips, and plenty of dumbbells.


Some question for you: Do you lose most of your matches by pin? Do you have a hard time escaping from mount? Do you have a hard time finishing takedowns or maintaining position? If your answer is YES to any of these questions. Then YES this program is for you! Strength is essential to finishing pins, as well as not being pinned. Someone can be a better wrestler than you technically and expose your back for some near fall points, but if you are strong enough to defend and keep moving, chances are you can get back to your belly and stay in the match. Of course we never want to even get in the situation in the first place.

Being a stronger wrestler will allow you to fight harder for advantageous positions and stay on the offensive. Strength in crucial to finishing a takedown. You can have the most amazing takedown technique, but if you are unable to produce the force behind it, forget about it. For you BJJ and submission grappling guys, if you can’t finish a takedown, you can’t engage fight. Even if you’re someone who plays a heavy guard game, you need the strength to hold your opponent in position and control his/her body.


No it is not. This is an inclusive strength program designed for ALL grappling athletes. Wrestlers in competing in both collegiate, freestyle, and greco, as well as traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, and the No-Gi submission grappling crowd. The athletic demands of all these grappling sports are relatively the same despite different techniques and rule sets.


There are going to be two version of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG. One for the off season, and a slightly different one meant for in season training.


Of course you can! Through proper nutrition and training, you can still get crazy strong without having to grow out of your weight class. Although, this program is best used for someone who is already small for their weight class and is looking to get stronger for that weight class.


You can, but it wouldn’t help you cut weight at all. If you are looking for a program that is for a weight cut and /or conditioning, peep #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED.



If you follow the workout program, stick to the nutrition guide, and recover well, you shouldn’t lose any conditioning. That goes to say you might not necessarily PR your mile time, but are you trying to run fast or get strong to win matches?


This program can be easily tailored to your experience level as a lifter. If you are someone who is just getting into sport specific strength and conditioning, you can choose the scaled version of the workouts.


Program Payment Plan Price Description

$260 (Best Value)

Full access to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check-ins and monthly FaceTime calls.


Full access to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check-ins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#SUBMISISONSTRONG (Personalized Programming) One Time


Full access to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG tailored specifically to your athletic needs and resources, and bodytype, customized nutrition plan, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, daily check-ins and weekly FaceTime calls.

If you’re interested in getting #SUBMISSIONSTRONG, fill out the fields below to sign up for the newsletter!


Ab Training 101: Part 1

The “abs” are often one of the most desired muscle groups to “have” when people begin to think about summer or fat loss. I will let you all in on a little secret and inform you that you ALL have abs. Everyone was born with the rectus abdominus muscle group, although some may have theirs more pronounced and revealing than others. That’s okay! Not everyone needs a six pack! Depending on what type of athlete you are and what your current goals are and what your body type is, chasing a six pack may not be the best thing for you at this stage in your fitness/athletic career. When people think of “abs”/core they traditionally think of a 6/8-pack, although the core includes many other muscles deep under one’s rectus abdominus as well as the lateral and posterior sides of the body (the back). Given that this blog caters also towards the sport of bodybuilding and people who want to change their physique along with athletes looking to enhance performance, I will address both groups. Part one of this series will be a short introduction to the abdominal muscles, their functions, locations, and different ranges of motion. The second article will address how to train your abdominal muscles for aesthetics, a.k.a, how to get a six pack. The third and final article will primarily focus on training the abs and midsection for performance in sport.


What Muscles Make Up the “Abs”/Core?

The main muscles of the abdomen include the rectus abdominus, the external obliques, and the intercostals. They are located on the frontal plane of the torso and run from the bottom of the chest and mid rib cage, down to the pelvis. These are the superficial muscles of the abdomen that you can see when someone is in incredible shape at a very low percentage of body fat. Some of the internal muscles of the midsection include, the transverse abdominus, the internal obliques, diaphragm, and the spinal erectors. These muscles in conjunction with one another help brace the spine, flex the torso in global flexion (bending over or “crunching”) and extend the torso in global extension (bending backwards or arching the back).

Rectus Abdominus (Image 1.A):

The rectus abdominis originates at the base of pelvis in the pubis, and inserts into the cartilage of the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs. It’s main function is to contract and flex the spinal column, drawing it toward the pelvis. The rectus abdominus muscle is what people often call a “6-pack” or “8-pack” if their are in very good condition and have a low percentage of body fat.

External Obliques (Image 1.B):

The external obliques (obliquus externus abdominis) are located on either side of the torso originating at the lower ribs and inserting at the side of the pelvis. Their main function is to assist the rectus abdominus in flexing to spinal column forward as well as rotate the spinal column in a neutral, flexed, and/or extended position.

Intercostals (Image 1.C):

The intercostals are two thin planes are muscle and tendon that populate the space between the ribs. Their main function is to lift the ribs as well as contract and draw them together.

Transverse Abdominus (Image 1.D):

The transverse abdominus is located deep underneath the obliques and wraps entirely the spine. It’s main function is to properly brace and protect the spine in both a neutral, flexed, and/or extended position both unloaded (bodyweight movements) and loaded (weighted movements).

Internal Obliques (Image 1.E):

The internal obliques are located underneath the external obliques on either side. It’s main function is to support the abdominal wall, helps create pressure in the torso during forced respiration, and also assist other muscles of the midsection in rotation of the spine.

Diaphragm (Image 1.F):

The diaphragm is located underneath the ribs and is a large sheet of muscle that assist in respiration as well as separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity.

Spinal Erectors (Image 1.G):

The spinal erectors are located on the posterior (back side) of the torso and run from the lumbar region of the back through the thoracic region and into the cervical region. Their main function is to assist in global extension of the spinal column, as well as bracing the spine.


Why Do We Need to Train All Sides of Our Midsection?

The body does not just function in any one plane of movement. When it comes to abdominal training, often times people will only train the front of their midsection, leaving the sides, and back completely untouched. Sure, the sides and lower posterior muscles of the midsection get stimulus from exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, and overhead work while standing by assisting with balance and bracing during the exercise. Although, if someone is training only their rectus abdominus in hopes for a six pack, they can often create imbalances that could lead to injury. The same idea applies to sport as well. Depending on the sport, the front of the abdominal region may experience a lot of load and stimulus from being in global flexion, while the muscles of the lower back are not being stimulated to achieve eliminate muscular imbalances.

In sport, our bodies are moving in many directions. Very rarely do athletes move in a completely linear plane. In a sport like wrestling or jiujitsu, the body is often twisting, arching, and bending in many positions while under load from their opponent. When an athlete like a wrestler or a jiujitsu athlete has a strong rectus abdominus from the endless amount of crunches they do at the end of their workout, they can perform well in movements involving global flexion. Any time they need to move into global extension, such as lifting their opponent off their feet from a takedown, their spinal erectors, and transverse abdominus often have a hard time bracing the spine properly. This leaves the athlete very susceptible to injury. Take a sport like powerlifting for example, where the spine needs to be maximally braced by the muscles surrounding it to be protected and produce the maximum amount of force in a lift. In an exercise like the deadlift, if the spine is not braced the athlete risks slipping a disk in the vertebrae, and leaking force production and strength through poor technique. 


In a sport like bodybuilding, having well trained abs is a must. The quality of a bodybuilding competitors abdominal region is a reflection of how well they dieted and conditioned during prep, as well as how well they were able to train their abs to take a particular shape and look on stage. Not just the “8 pack”, but all sides of the abdominals. According to Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book, The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, he refers to the abs at the, “…visual center of the body.” (Schwarzenegger & Dobbins, 1998). When viewing the human physique, they are naturally drawn to the abdominal area of the body. The shoulders and feet act as the points in an “X” shape across the body with the abs lying in the intersection. Well trained and displayed abs in bodybuilding are signs or being in well conditioned as well as having dense and strong physique. The muscles in the sides and lower back of the midsection must also be trained to achieve a balanced look between the anterior and posterior sides of the body.

image Frank Zane trained the obliques with the use of exercises like the abs twist to make his external obliques almost, “disappear”. They were specifically trained and developed to be tight and lean, making his waist appearing very small compared to his wide lats and large shoulders, thus adding to the illusion of the “X” frame.

    The muscles of the midsection include more than what we can see from someone’s six pack and their purpose is more than just for doing crunches. The abdominal region is composed of many other muscles that for aesthetic purposes must be trained individually, as well as trained as a whole for improving athletic performance. In the next article, we will focus on how to train and develop one’s abdominal area for the sport of bodybuilding and/or physical appearance.


Muscles of the Abdomen:


Abs-Rectus-abdominis-muscle(Image 1.A)

external-obliques.jpg(Image 1.B)

intercostals(Image 1.C)


Transversus_abdominis(Image 1.D)

internal-obliques(Image 1.E)

diaphragm (Image 1.F)

Spinal Erectors.png(Image 1.G)

My Three Favorite Back Exercises for Grapplers

The following are my three personal favorite exercises to strengthen and develop the back for grappling athletes. Let me make clear that these exercises are my favorite. This does not mean they are the only exercises I do for back. I utilize many different exercises for back (a full list of exercises will be at the end of the article), but of all of them, these are my favorites and why.

Pull Ups:

Franco Pull Up

The pull up is the king and staple of old school body weight wrestling training. Not only does is help establish grip strength (which is a crucial component of wrestling and jiujitsu), it requires you to be strong with your own bodyweight. This is very important when you are competing with other athletes who are competing at the same weight as you. The exercise is simple. Hang on the bar with both arms lock out, then pull yourself up until your chin rises above the bar. Then lower yourself ALL the way down. There’s one correct pull up. Pull ups help develop the lats which make up the major vertical pulling muscles in your back. I know what you’re thinking, “When am I ever going to do a pull up in competition?” How about a snap down in wrestling? Since last i checked there was no “snap down” machine at the gym, pull ups are the next best developer of the muscles used to pull things down, and or close into your body. You can add these at the end of your workout, or if you have a pull up bar set up in your home, every time you walk by you can bust out 5-10 pull ups.

Sample Pull Up Finisher:

5 sets of sub max reps (if you can do 10 max, only do 7-8)


franco deadlift

If the squat is the greatest strength building exercise, deadlifts come in a close second. Deadlifts assist in strengthening your posterior chain (the chain of muscles running from the base of your neck, down to the bottom of your hamstrings). A strong posterior chain, traditionally means a safe back. When you’re in your wrestling stance, or in constant flexion having someone in your guard, or being in someone’s guard, having a strong posterior chain will protect your back. Deadlifts are also a great measure of strength. For grappling athletes, if you can deadlift 2x your bodyweight, and your opponent can only deadlift 1.5x his bodyweight, you are superiorly stronger. With all the lifting, throwing, and tossing in wrestling, the deadlift will help you handle your opponents with ease all while still being able to protect your spine. Take folkstyle wrestling for example. Say you start on top in referee’s position and your opponent is quick to stand up. If you want to pick him up and return him back to the mat, you need to lift him off balance and off the ground. The deadlift in all variations is just that movement. The practice of picking up objects (barbells, DB’s KB’s, atlas stones, sandbags, etc.) off the ground.

Sample Deadlift Workout:

One of the easiest ways to incorporate deadlifts into your strength training is a simple, 5×5 set up. Starting at one day a week, do five sets of five reps for deadlift and try to make each rep with perfect form, slowly adding weight each week. This works with both sumo and conventional stance.

Bent Over Barbell Rows:

Franco Bent Over Row

I should preface this by saying, any horizontal rowing motion is a fantastic exercise for the back in regards to grappling. Although, if I had to choose one, it would be the bent over row. The bent over row not only focuses on strengthening the muscles of your back responsible for pulling things to you in a horizontal plane, but also requires you to stay tight and in good position. This activates the muscles of the lower back isometrically (staying in a static position), and works the rowing muscles of the upper back, both eccentrically (lowering of the weight) and concentrically (actually lifting of the weight). Bent over Rows can be used with barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, sand bags, etc. You can ever do them on a elevated surface to let the weights down even lower to get a stretch in the muscles during the eccentric portion of the lift. Not only is this exercise for back development, but also helps eliminate imbalances in the back. I see a lot of people do a lot of vertical pulling (pull ups, lat pull downs, etc.), and not enough horizontal pulling exercises. Imbalances in the body lead to injury and time away from rolling.

Sample Bent Over Row Workout:

Any Chest Exercise: 4×6-8

Bent Over DB Row: 4×6-8

This can be thrown in at the beginning of a chest and back workout.

You can also apply the 5×5 method to the bent over Row to focus more on developing strength in the mid and upper back.

Current List of Back Exercises I’m Using Right Now:

Pull Ups (Use many different grips)

Deadlifts (Conventional and Sumo stance)


Bent Over Rows (DB, KB, and Barbell Variations)

Banded Reverse Hypers

GHR (Weighted and Bodyweight)

45 Degree Back Extensions (Weighted and Bodyweight)

Seated Rows

1 Arm DB Rows

RDLs (DB’s, KB’s & Barbell Variations)