Episode #58: Strength Training for Wrestlers During Season w/ Dustin Myers
Coach Myers is a 2002 graduate of The Ohio State University. A self described “workout addict”, he became certified and started training clients part time in 2000 at T3 Personal Training Studio, eventually opening the original Old School Gym with Cory in 2003. In addition to successful stints as a competitive power lifter, bodybuilder and boxer, Dustin wrestled in high school and was always drawn to training athletes in the world’s oldest and toughest sport. In 2012, Dustin accepted the position of Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Ohio Regional Training Center at Ohio State. Through the RTC, Coach Myers helped the Ohio State Wrestling team win its first NCAA Championship in school history. Some of the athletes he has worked with thru the RTC include 2x NCAA Champ Tommy Rowlands, 3x World Team member Reece Humphrey, 2015 World Champion Kyle Snyder, and top MMA prospect Lance Palmer. He has also worked extensively with UFC welterweight contender Matt Brown and ex -Ohio State football stars Chris “Beanie” Wells, Antonio Pittman, Maurice Clarett, and Dan “Boom” Herron.
In this podcast we talk about:
Planning Workouts for Wrestlers
Adjusting Workouts During the Season
Getting in Shape and Staying in Shape
Peaking for Competition
Check out Dustin’s NEW Ebook:
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR WRESTLING by Coach Dustin Myers
Coach Myers has trained athletes for over 15 years and has been the strength coach for the Ohio Regional Training Center since 2012. He has worked with wrestlers at every level of the sport – from youth to the Olympic games. Let him help you take all of the guess work out of your strength program.
Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Dustin Myers
Dustin Myers talking about Strength Training for Wrestlers during Season
Corey Beasley [00:00:01]: Hey guys, is Corey Beasley with fight camp conditioning. I’m on the phone here with Dustin Myers. Dustin, how are you doing?
Dustin Myers [00:00:07]:I’m doing great. How are you feeling today?
Corey Beasley [00:00:09]: I’m doing awesome. Thanks for asking and thanks for taking time to talk us. I know you’re a busy man.
Dustin Myers [00:00:15]:Yeah, always going to stay busy, but you’ve got to make time to kind of chop it up a little bit and get some information out there and make sure everybody’s moving in the right direction as they head into the season.
Corey Beasley [00:00:25]: Yeah, for sure. So guys, just so you guys realize Dustin is the owner of the old school gym out there and Ohio and also the highest state regional training centers strength and conditioning coach. So this guy’s working with guys from Ohio State. A lot of top wrestlers are in that area. And if any of you guys know, Ohio is a wrestling Mecca as far as that goes in the country, they’re always a powerhouse to states elite.
Dustin Myers [00:00:50]:Yeah, definitely. It’s always Ohio and Pennsylvania is right there California is a great wrestling state as well, Illinois, Iowa, so, but traditionally, Ohio’s been a powerhouse and we’ve put out a lot of great athletes lately, traditionally.
Corey Beasley [00:01:03]: So Destin, I know we’ve talked to you in the past and you shared a lot of killer insight on what you’re doing, how you’re working with your guys. And recently just came out with a new eBook all about training in season for the wrestlers, which is awesome timing that you guys are all starting to get fired up, starting to get into this season and starting to work. So give us a little summary of what you put together?
Dustin Myers [00:01:35]:Well, I’ve worked with high school wrestlers for many years now and I’ve been involved down in Ohio state since 2012 even before that I worked with Tommy Rowlands and preparation for the Olympic trials and in 2012 so I’ve been around wrestling for a long time and I really noticed in dealing with a lot of high school coaches and even coaches at the college level, there’s not a lot of information out there for these guys for what they should be doing during the season wrestling is really unlike any other sport. When you get a peak and be at your best, you might also be feeling your worst. You’ve been cutting weight for a few months. There’s a lot of wear and tear on the body and even for me train athletes all these years, it’s kind of been trial and error you try one thing and it doesn’t work. And I really feel like this is a lot of coaches out there that aren’t sure of what they’re supposed to do. And I kind of just saw that need and really wanted to put something out there for them so they can kind of understand how do we keep our team strong during the season, maybe even getting stronger as they’re bringing their weight down and how do we get them in top condition without no wearing them out so much that they can’t wrestle hard on the mat. Because that was maybe one of the mistakes I did early on when I first started working with elite wrestlers. I would want to condition them so hard or lift them so hard that then they would do great in those workouts, but then five or six hours later when they had to be on the mat that night for practice, they didn’t really have much gas left in the tank. So it’s really a tough balance. And that’s one of the things I think I can really do a good job at educating coaches on is how to strike that right balance, one of the people is going to say, Hey, you don’t want to train too much. But you’ve got to train the right way.
Corey Beasley [00:03:20]: Now from your experience and things that you’ve learned as you are laying some of that stuff out you’re looking at a week at a glance and you’re kind of going, okay, you kind of assuming that guys are training once a day?
Dustin Myers [00:03:37]:I would think, especially at the elite level they’re going to be trained in twice a day, at least three days a week, and then maybe the other days of the week they might be training once a day. Typically what we do down at Ohio state especially in the preseason, you’re there lifting three days a week in the morning and then in the evening they’re either on the mat or conditioning and then on the days in between they might have just like a technique or drill in the morning, but then a live practice in the evenings. So it’s pretty heavy. Then obviously we bring the volume down a little bit once it gets into the season. But I mean it’s really expecting these guys to do a lot. So you got to just make sure you’re not having everything has to have a purpose. You can’t have stuff in there just because it’s something you like to do or you can’t really try too much experimentation. I mean, that’s more for the off season.
Corey Beasley [00:04:26]: So I mean, the main goal is that in season program is you’re controlling the intensity and the volume. So you coordinates with their skill practice and then you’ve obviously got to are there things in their specific exercises? What can they kind of expect they opened this thing now going to get what?
Dustin Myers [00:04:47]:Well, I mean, I think just one of the things that I’ve noticed a lot of strength coaches or maybe even wrestling, maybe more so the wrestling coaches that don’t have a strength coach, what they tend to have their guys do during the season. They think, okay, well we’ve got to get in shape now. So we’re going to lift like real high reps, lighter weight. And I’ve found that just really fatigued, the guys more they end up losing a lot of strength. So I keep my plan, has the guy still lifting heavy throughout the season, once you really get into the ball in to the season going to lift really heavy one day a week and we’re going to really focus on the posterior chain. We’re going to post focused on polling so you’re still going to do heavy rows, heavy deadlifts, heavy split squats, things like that, all the way through the season we’re really going to take a lot of the volume out we do a lot of sled work and I endurance type stuff in the preseason and more so in the off season. But I take some of that stuff out as we get into it. So it’s really find the right type of balance conditioning wise too. I don’t know about you, but I know when I was in high school our coaches used to make us run for like a half hour every day. And that’s what we did every day. But what happens is that’ll bring your weight, but not only get the wear and tear on the body, your body starts breaking down muscle. But how often can you expect a kid to go and really run hard for 30 minutes? They’re just jogging and maybe they’ll get in a sweat and they’re breathing hard, but they’re not really doing anything to improve their aerobic base or, and they’re not getting any really anaerobic benefit. They’re not doing any sprint work. So I kind of break down, Hey, at this point in the season, here’s what type of runs you should be doing. Here’s how many days a week you need to do sprint work. Here’s how many days a week you need to do kind of middle distance, like a max effort mile or maybe it’s to go on the Airdyne or something like that. So that 10 minute ago on the Aerodyne that gets taken out later in the season. But I think around this time of year, I think that’s good. Because they need to feel what it feels like to get their ass kicked for 10 minutes. So hopefully I’d be later in the season. You’re not feeling that on the mat, right?
Corey Beasley [00:06:54]: Yeah. A lot of guys, especially if they haven’t competed in the off season or if they don’t play football or do cross country or play soccer or do something else to kind of keep them active and busy. They need to kind of grow into it, sort to speak, or kind of getting shaped, kind of get things back, box cobwebs, whatever you want to say. But the season goes and being, they’re more accustomed to the work they’re doing and they usually fall in a little bit. It got a little work under their belt so they can increase the, increase the intensity and maybe deal with something else.
Dustin Myers [00:07:28]:Well, I’ll tell you one of the things I know that’s kind of changing gears a little bit, because we want to talk about the off season in the summertime and we have a lot of our guys don’t, Ohio state, they might still be wrestling on the freestyle circuit or doing some things like that. And some of the guys from out of state might go home and then of course we’ve got some guys like Kyle Snyder when an Olympic gold medal of course got throw him in there. A great moment for the university. Great moment for the country. And a great movie moment for Kyle. You know, just what an outstanding individual he is. So one of the things I’ve done in the past with the guys that I’m still working with in the summertime is, we lift real heavy three days a week and maybe one or two days those days a week we’ll go for a run on campus. You know, maybe just run to the stadium or something. Just my thinking is, you know, at summertime these guys are college kids. They might be going out or sleeping in, they’re not training that hard. They’re on the mat that much. I need to kind of keep their aerobic base up and what I did this year instead of doing that, just kind of taking them for long runs or whatever is once a week. We would only run once a week, but we would go to the track. I’d either take them to the track or I’ve taken to the stadium and run C deck or we have a dam that we go run and steps that. So we basically do sprint work once a week and hopefully some of the guys would still kind of jog or do something maybe one other day on their own. But I feel like, keeping that sprint work, even if it’s just once a week during the off season really helped those guys transition back into the season better. Because you can do all that aerobic stuff, but if you’re not doing any sprint work and then the season starts and you have to really, you’ll get back there and fight on the mat. It’s a really hard adjustment for the guys. So that was something we did different this year and I think it really helped the guys for Ohio State.
Corey Beasley [00:09:08]: For sure it does. I mean there’s charts that show that when you sprint, it recruits more muscle total body than any other activity that exists. More than more than Olympic lifting, more than throwing medicine balls or lifting weights or whatever it is. Sprinting like an all-out sprint is amazing. You got contralateral stuff going on. Opposites working together, the whole body’s firing hard. It doesn’t get more, more functional I guess or natural then somebody picking up their knees and hauling ass, you know?
Dustin Myers [00:09:45]:Yeah. It’s such a basic human mechanism to really run fast and just start to run hard. And I think it’s one of those things, I mean, you just can’t replicate it you can throw all the science out the window. I mean, just making two humans run as fast as they can to see who can run faster. There’s this really, you can’t replicate it, so you can really take yourself to the dark place, probably easier running on a track than anywhere else. So now, as we go into season you, I like to keep the guys doing sprint work still doing that once a week, maybe not as long as we did before. We may do kind of band resistance sprints or we may do stadium sprints or something like that, but still at this time of year, I think one once a week is still crews. And then a lot of the other cardio they’re doing is really just to get their weight down there’s stuff on the 20 to 40 minutes on a bike, long jogs. We just hit kind of low threshold. But you got to keep us from working one for sure.
Corey Beasley [00:10:47]: Very cool. Well that’s awesome. So I mean, you got the guys lifting, you got the guy sprinting as they go through the season, you kind of reducing the volume so they able to recover and perform. And then what else are you talking about in the system that you created there?
Dustin Myers [00:11:08]:Well, there’s a couple of different sections and I mean obviously I have like an exercise library in there kind of goes over every exercise that is included in the program some of them are very basic say as Sumo dead lift or a snatch grip deadlift, everyone’s familiar with them. But then I have kind of more functional variations of traditional movements that I’ve included in there. So that’s something I think is going to be a good resource for coaches. And then something else kind of interested. I came with it I always try to look at when I talking about wrestling or another sport. I look at, okay, what positions does this person need to be strong in? Or the flip side of it is, if an athlete is weak in a certain position how can we fix that? So I break down some different positions what I call common strength on the mat in the book and a kind of lay out some exercises that should help fix that. So for example, let’s say you have a high school wrestler maybe has a great shot, but he gets in on a leg and every time the guy sprawls on, he really stretched him out. He just can’t keep that leg sucked into them. And so I break down, okay, if that’s your issue, then we have a weak biceps. And I would also say probably acentric weak. One of the things a lot of lifters don’t concentrate on doing your loaded acentric. So we’ll use the curl as an example, but it’s probably one of the easier ones to understand when you curl it up. That’s a concentric contraction. And on the way down and you lower it, that’s the East centric as your muscle lengthens. And I mean I’ve probably done it before and I know you’ve seen lifters do it. They grab a big weight and they kind of, pop it up with their hips and then they just let it drop right back down. And so they’re really missing out on that acentric part the same thing when guys are doing maybe a row or a dumbbell row, they pull it so hard to their chest and then it just fly they let gravity pull it back down. So it kind of gives the diagnosis there of like, okay, if you can’t keep that leg sucked in, your essential contraction, your lads and your biceps is weak. Here’s how you fix it. By doing heavy negatives on dumbbell rows, heavy negatives on barbell curls, heavy negatives on dumbbell and hammer curls, things like that. So I think a lot of coaches I’ve talked to that have got the book, they said that they really liked that. They never realized, for example, like say if someone has a hard time staying in their stance, they just think, well their legs are weak. Well and then that’s part of it. Or they’re out of shape and that could be part of it too. But another thing can be their hamstrings are weak when you have weak hamstrings, you can’t stay in that loaded stance your back, we’ll try to compensate for the weakness in your hamstrings. So I lay out the different exercises in there to fix that, obviously besides a deadlift variations, but also hamstring bridges and manual hamstring curls and reverse hyper and things like that all just strengthen that posterior chain so they can be a lot stronger in their stance.
Corey Beasley [00:13:59]: Well, I think that’s as good as that is for the average Joe is sitting in a desk all day. It’s the same goes for the kids that are rolling and fighting and grappling and wrestling. And stuff is most of those guys are weakened. That posterior chain right there hands right there, but they’re low back or upper back, all those different things. And then the, the fact that you’re talking about tempos or slowing down the centric or focusing on that is a huge one because I think that I’m adjusting the tempo is one of those things where most people will focus on the exercise and maybe they’ll focus on the repetition, three sets of 10 or whatever so common. But manipulating those variables and controlling the temples, I’ve heard a few coaches talk about it recently and it’s just the kind of the missing link for a lot of people’s programs with a focus on the tempos makes a huge difference in what they’re getting out of that workout.
Dustin Myers [00:14:55]:The huge difference that you not just to benefit strength wise, but I also feel like, especially when you’re dealing with athletes maybe at the high school or even junior high level, it’s going to teach them to be better weightlifters. It’s going to get them concentrate on their form, if they have to do in acentric focus on a front squat and count the five as they’re lowering down, they’re really going to think about where their hips are going, where their knees are at, where their postures rather than just dropping. So I think that’s a big benefit too, especially for younger athletes. It teaches them to be a better weight lifter in addition to building, strength and is really going to benefit them for the sport.
Corey Beasley [00:15:45]: So you guys got an outline for the program you the exercise library going into it. There’s a lot of tutorials and stuff on different variables and specific situations that they might be needing to overcome. So that’s cool man. It’s really good.
Dustin Myers [00:16:01]:Yeah, I mean it lays out, not just the conditioning program and what type of condition you should be going on, what time, but kind of spells out the whole 16 weeks of the season, here’s how your lift is going to change. And it takes all the guesswork out of it for the coaches they don’t have to wonder like, we have the state tournament coming up in a month. What do we need to change? I already have it written out then it really like it mimics what I’m doing at Ohio State. I really obviously base it off of that. I kind of I had to change things a little bit because some people may not have access to all the equipment we have. And I had to also make sure that, if you’re a ninth grader and you just started lifting weights, would you be able to do all these exercises? And then I also include a lot of mindset in there. I put some different articles I’ve written in there as far as like, for example on the importance of being a good training partner not just the benefit of, for the benefit of your training partner, but how much you are going to benefit from that by positively affecting your partners. So I talk about something I talk about often, not just my athletes but everyone, whether in business or whatever, it really aligning your actions with your goals there’s something I’ve been preaching for a long time, but a good quote that not to bring up Kyle again, but Kyle, we had a talk one time and he said someone had mentioned, told him one time when he said he wanted to be an Olympic champion. He said, okay, if someone followed you around for 24 hours and you couldn’t speak a word, they all they could do was see your actions. Would they be able to guess what your goals were? And I think that’s a really good way to look at it and I would say he is someone that you didn’t know him. You could watch me think, this kid wants to be the best restaurant in the world his actions aligned with his goals? And so that’s something I really always kind of press onto my athletes. I say think about everything you do every day it falls into one or two categories. You know, that hour you spend playing video games or the 10 minutes you spend gospel about someone or whatever it is, it seems really inconsequential at the time. But is it either contributing to your goals or is it taking away. You really got to align your actions with what your goals are and I’ve taught a lot of mindset stuff in there that I think coaches will be able to not only utilize for themselves, but they can be print out and give out to a team and stuff like that.
Corey Beasley [00:18:22]: I think it’s a big piece especially with people that are listening to this or checking out the website or whatever, it’s mainly a site for strength and conditioning, right? So people say, okay, cool. What exercises we doing? What are the workouts? That might be all that they focus on. But the other pieces of the puzzle, their mindset, what are they eating? How are they sleeping? What are they doing for recovery? How they balance in all of these things together. What’s a little guy on the shoulder telling them all day long? All of those things are so important, but often forgotten, yeah, show me the workout. And they missing a huge piece of it.
Dustin Myers [00:19:05]:That’s a great point. Because I could give someone the best workout plan in the world, but if they don’t have the right mindset, if they’re not willing to push themselves and hold themselves accountable and like you said, they’re not recovering. They’re not eating right then really, that workout program is no better than any other workout program out there. And the flip side of it you could have a bad training program, but are you going to take someone who’s 100% focus, gives 100% effort and they’re going to get something out of that program no matter how bad it is. So I think that’s a good point the part of training and the part of preparation people overlook the most is the mindset part of it, but it’s a huge factor.
Corey Beasley [00:19:48]: And I think, especially if we’re talking about high school level and even college, these kids, they’re still learning and as a competition increases, whether it’s in season, as you get more competitive all those little details of the attention to details over the last five years, they start to become very important. So you get exposed real quickly if you’re avoiding certain things. That’s cool to include in that as well. So as people are wanting to learn more about what you got going on what’s the best way for them to reach out or find more information about what you got?
Dustin Myers [00:20:26]:Yeah, definitely. If they want to get the book, which I highly recommend for any wrestler or wrestling coach out there. They can go to oldschoolgym.com. And I mean, really, I put a ton of content on my Instagram as @coachmyers_gutcheck. I’m always putting mindset stuff on there, new exercise variations. And actually I got to put it in the weekly hump check challenge on there today. Me and Reece Humphrey do a lot of cool athletic challenges and stuff like that on there. So the Instagram itself I think is probably a good learning tool for athletes and for coaches as well.
Corey Beasley [00:21:05]: Well guys, I’ll put those links down below and Dustin, thanks again for sharing with us, man. We’re excited about your book and always appreciate you sharing about what you’ve got going on.
Dustin Myers [00:21:14]:No problem Corey. Always a pleasure talking to you. Good luck with everything you got going on and hopefully we’ll talk soon.
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