Cutting Weight for Wrestlers – Why You’re Likely Doing it Wrong

By Carmen Bott

Have you ever cut weight to the point of feeling completely depleted of energy….

Legs were left shakey and lifeless?

Hard to practice effectively?

When I ask most wrestlers workout HOW they lose those last few pounds, I get the same answer every

“I do cardio coach!”

Then I probe a little deeper and ask them, what exactly they do and I get one of three answers:

  1. I ride the bike for an hour
  2. I run for an hour
  3. I use ________ cardio machine for an hour

While an hour, or even 30 minutes, of cardio indoors will certainly get you sweating it will also do something else you definitely do not want:


Yes, this is correct. Because of the repetitive, continuous nature of the work, your legs will become depleted of vital energy (glycogen) that you need to practice and drill effectively.

Don’t worry; there is a better way to do this. It will not only get you sweating even more, but it will not deplete your wrestlers workout energy to the same extent.

Here’s a scientifically-based, athlete-tested protocol:

  1. First, pick 2 cardio drills and a partner (who wants to cut weight alone). *In the video, I
    show two athletes and two unconventional drills that are highly effective.
  2. Warm-up for 5 minutes doing general exercise to begin circulating blood to your
    muscles. It is important that you are calm and relaxed during warm-up.
  3. Breathe fully and deeply during warm-up. Or the method will not work as well.
  4. Once your body temperature is up, go to your first cardio drill and begin with a 20
    second burst of work (make sure you can maintain a moderate to hard effort for the
    whole 20 seconds) *THIS IS NOT A SPRINT.
  5. You should NOT feel a pump or a burn in your muscles, but you do need to work
    moderate to hard.
  6. Now, step back and let your partner do his/her 20 seconds of work.
  7. Keep cycling back and forth, 20 seconds each, with 5 seconds to transition until you
    have done 3 minutes of moderate work.
  8. Now, it is time to rest for 60 seconds. During this time, shake your arms and legs loose.
  9. Move to cardio drill number two (In the video I show kettlebell swings, but you can do
    other drills).
  10. Repeat 20 seconds on:20 seconds off for another 3 minutes.
  11. Recover again for 60 seconds, shaking your arms and legs loose.
  12. Move back to the first drill.
  13. Repeat this sequence back and forth for a total time of 30 minutes. *this depends on
    your sweat rate, humidity and how much water you need to lose.
  14. Remember NOT to go to the point where your muscles BURN. You should work
    moderate to hard, but not maximally. You must be able to do at least 30 minutes of
    quality work – meaning you can hit the same pace, round after round without a burn.
  15. If you need to weight cut twice in one day, you may use this method again, with
    different drills. I recommend a 6-8 hour block between sessions.
  16. I also recommend two cardio drills that use your WHOLE BODY – such as moderate
    running, walking fast uphill, versaclimber, rowing machine etc.


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