Dustin Myers, Strength Coach for Ohio State Wrestling, Joins Us for Episode #46
“There are many misconceptions about how to properly implement strength training for wrestlers, and my goal is to help as many athletes as possible get the most out of their weight lifting sessions. I have worked with many of the top wrestlers in the country – from NCAA champions to Team USA – and have developed a great system that works and is relevant for wrestling.
— Coach Myers
In this podcast we talk about:
Planning Workouts for Wrestlers
Adjusting Workouts Throughout the Year
Training During the Season
Getting in Shape and Staying in Shape
Nutrition for Wrestlers
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 powerlifter, 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.
Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Dustin Myers
Interview with Dustin Myers, Strength Coach for Ohio State Wrestling talking about coaching and monitoring athletes
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 you doing?
Dustin Myers [00:00:06]:Hey, feeling great today. I’m happy to be here. Ready to talk to the shop with you guys.
Corey Beasley [00:00:11]: So Dustin for everybody that’s listening, whether they’re on iTunes or whether they’re on the website or downloading stuff. Just give everybody a little like two cent who you are and what you do?
Dustin Myers [00:00:22]:Well I am the co-owner of the old school gym and Swallow, Ohio. Joinrealgym.Com website for that. I’m also the strength conditioning coach for the Ohio regional training center for Olympic wrestlers at the Ohio state university. So that’s kind of as far as training wise, that’s who I am. I’m 37 years old and wife, two kids. I’m just so ordinary guy that really likes to train, likes to work hard. And I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time.
Corey Beasley [00:00:51]: So you out there at Ohio, you’re in a room full of killers. How’d you kind of get your start out there?
Dustin Myers [00:01:00]:Well, I’ll tell you, it’s come a long, slow process. I was always into weightlifting and that was kind of my first love was weightlifting and I got into some other stuff. I wrestled in high school got into boxing, did some Jiu Jitsu for a while even power lifting, body building and a little bit of everything. But weight lifting was always my first love. And my partner that I’m in the gym with Cory Gregory, Cory G fitness. We started working together when I was still in college at Ohio State, so this would’ve been probably 2000 and 2001. And he had a training studio. I started training clients there and then in 2003 and I partnered up and we opened up the first old school gym. So we’ve been in business for 13 years now and it’s kind of changed and evolved over the years. We’re in kind of a second building that we’d been in. The first one was a good bit smaller. So that’s kind of how I got in. That’s kind of the very short version of how I got into training. But kind of what I’ve really tried to do over the years is stay active with my training, stay active in competing and stuff and over years from, I think from doing so many different things, you’re having a wrestling background then competing in boxing, doing body building pilots, all of these different things. It’s really allowed me to draw a lot of different elements in my training and I’ve developed a pretty unique style over the years.
Corey Beasley [00:02:19]: Now you out there at Ohio state, which is one of the best wrestling programs in the country.
Dustin Myers [00:02:28]:Yeah, we were top three this year. We won the national title the previous year, first NCAA team title in a school history. So shout out to my Buckeyes. I think, coach Ryan has really done a great job of building a good culture around the program bringing in lead athletes has a great staff in place and we’re going to be in the mix every year. I really feel that this upcoming year, 2016, 2017 we’re going to win our second national title, so we’re right there.
Corey Beasley [00:02:58]: Very cool. Now, when you working with those guys. Obviously those kids probably wrestle all year round, most of them, right? Some of them probably working pretty hard for the Olympic trials, I would imagine?
Dustin Myers [00:03:15]:Olympic trials is wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, but we have some younger guys that are going to the field juniors this upcoming weekend. I believe it’s out in Vegas. And then even some of our international our Olympic level guys that didn’t make the team. We did have two Olympians this year I don’t have only six week classes, so we have more Olympians than any other regional training center in the country. Kyle Snyder, who was only a sophomore at LSU and won national title this year and then surveilled the lagging as our heavyweight second time on the Olympic team. But even on other guys Logan Steever [Inaudible 00:03:49]and those guys that fell just a little bit short they’re going to still be competing internationally year round and the US open will be coming up again before we know it and stuff like that. So the guys who are active or train year round even the younger guys on the team we’re doing strength training. We stay in shape year round. That’s really one of my big things. I really feel there’s shouldn’t be an off season and that’s kind of with all my athletes, even my high school kids. I don’t believe in like, okay, wrestling practice starts next week. It’s time to start running and get your cardio ready. You got to stay in shape year round because if not, you’re going to miss out to me opportunities and then you spend using the rest of the example, then you use the whole full time getting back into shape rather than getting better at wrestling when wrestling season starts. So I know I’m not saying in mid-June or mid-July that they’re going to be in your condition because that’s not realistic. But we stay in shape year round and we train hard and I trained right alongside, right alongside with them. So I got kind of my finger on the pulse as far as what they need to be doing and what kind of shapes them in.
Corey Beasley [00:04:52]: Now throughout the year, are you guys kind of like a block three innovation where you’re changing the type of trading you do and every few weeks to hit different aspects of their athleticism? How do you guys kind of organize that throughout the year?
Dustin Myers [00:05:08]:And that’s really the tricky part that’s still like, it’s still fluid, it’s still something I’m learning and changing as we go every year. And you’ll try to make improve on what we did the year before. But we’ve definitely changed the style of training we’re doing. Depending on what time of year it is. We would generally go and let’s say six week blocks and within those six week blocks will be kind of two week blocks where we kind of change maybe the style of reps we’re doing. We might do two weeks where we do a lot of heavy negatives, two weeks of pos-reps, two weeks where we worked for speed with bands and we kind of I don’t want to say taper, but we kind of work towards maybe heavy singles, almost like a max out after six weeks. And then we kind of start over. We may have deload week in between right now coming off the season after the Buckeyes finished up, I gave him a couple of weeks where we just kind of did what I call feel good lifts where we just kind of got in there and did some basic lifting, just kind of get a pump so they feel good, their body gets used to really lifting heavy again. And then we’re in the midst of a six week block where we’re doing kind of a powerlifting focus. We’re doing incorporating some of the West side methods on our key lifts, on the dead lift, on the squat and on the front squat and on the bench press just kind of give them, got to change up and to really try to look their bodies grow and add some strength right now. And then we do a lot of accessory work too, which obviously is still a little bit more volume than with the West side guys would do. But obviously that type of training is not what we would do during the season, but whether it be in the off season right now, we kind of changed things up.
Corey Beasley [00:06:35]: Yeah. And I know a lot of guys just seeing it today, like scrolling through social media and stuff, but a lot of sound bites and stuff. Greg Jackson talking about Jon Jones and all the powerlifting stuff that he was doing and kind of talking bad about it because his performance is kind of lackluster on it last weekend.
Dustin Myers [00:06:54]:It was a topic of discussion down at the regional training center. So we’re talking about Jon Jones, you have a guy with all that athleticism and I didn’t see the videos of some athletes were coming and they saw a picture of him dead lifting and they said the form was horrible and it looked at 600 pounds on the bar or whatever. So I can’t really comment. Because I didn’t see it, but I would just say, at least from my perspective as a coach, when you have someone with that special that athleticism, which is part of what makes him such a great fighter, I don’t know that I would want to tinker with that too much, you know? And maybe at least not so close to a fight. So if it was me, maybe doing that type of power lifting style stuff, like right now I feel like I can play around with it with the Buckeyes because those underclassmen, they’re not going to be on the match again until November, you know? What would I do that in September, October with them? No, I wouldn’t, and that’s not to say to them right or wrong or Jon Jones coach is right or wrong. I’m just saying kind of my perspective on it.
Corey Beasley [00:07:53]: Yeah, of course. I’m just curious. Just cause I mean it’s funny, it just popped into my head cause I’m sitting there reading it all morning.
Dustin Myers [00:08:01]:If he would have come out and smoked the guy and just had one of those brutal elbow knockouts in the first minute and a half, then everyone was saying, Oh man, every MMA fighter needs the power lift now. And that the other thing that I want to mention is that I think people are too often, they want immediately look at things as a cause and effect everyone wants to look at Jon Jones performance and say, Oh, it’s because he was lifting like a powerlifted. There could’ve been issues with his weight cut. He could have not slept the night before. He could have had the jitters because he’d been out the cage. He’s had some, had some media scrutiny and some stuff like that. So could it have been because of the power lifting maybe, or could it be one of these other factors? So there’s a lot of factors for sure. There’s so many variables. So yeah, too often when someone has a bad performance, they want to point to one thing and say in the flip side, Hey, you can’t look at Ohio state and say, Oh, they won their first title because of coach Myers. Obviously I was a factor and I controlled the workout stuff. But there’s so many factors. It’s hard to really point the one thing and ever say, well, that’s why someone was successful or that’s why they failed.
Corey Beasley [00:09:10]: So that’s cool. You got to boys doing some heavy basics and stuff like that. They just finished up the season and kind of as spring moves into summer kind of how you changing things up?
Dustin Myers [00:09:21]:Well that is one thing. We stick with heavy basics year-round. So even during the season they’re still going to deadlift heavy. They’re still going do a heavy pressing movement and sometimes they’ll swap out the back squat for a split squat. It’s a little bit safer. But they’re still going to lift heavy year round. We just kind of changed the amount of days they left when they lift during see them, stuff like that. So in the summer there’s not going to be a big shift away from that yet. I’m still going to have them lifting heavy three or four days a week. But I may kind of filter out some of the power stuff again, wrestling is unlike any other sports. So I got to try to find exactly what works and that then through all my guys are different sides to individualize things at some point as well.
Corey Beasley [00:10:05]: So you’re going through the guys come in for a workout. You obviously have to coordinate with the wrestling practices. And as you guys are doing that, guys walk in the door, you say they training three or four days a week. How’s your week look? Like they do an upper body lifts or doing lower body lifts?
Dustin Myers [00:10:27]:I would definitely generally do a three day split and if they’re wrestling every evening, we work out in the mornings, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:00 AM get them up nice and early get that heavy lifting and I mean there’s a lot more to it than this, but kind of the general split we do know back and legs on Monday and on our Wednesday lifts were the one hand cleans. We’re going to pressing movement you some type of chest press, a lot of accessory work for the shoulders. We’re doing shrugs, we’re going farmer’s walks some functional conditioning like that. And then on Friday we will kind of hit back and legs again. We’ll back squat, we’ll split squat, we’ll do rowing movements and then we’ll do a lot of like sled work heavy sled drags, like pools, things like that on Friday. So you say we do some type of core stuff, but that’s kind of the general split that we do. And then once we get into the season it changes up a little bit. But in the off season that’s where we’re at.
Corey Beasley [00:11:23]: So the guys come in for a workout and they’re bright and early. How does the hour kind of run? I’m imagining you kind of guys go for about an hour. What’s that hour comes like?
Dustin Myers [00:11:36]:Yeah, typically an hour. I mean they’ll come in, usually I get there a little early. I’ll get there around 06:30 and just kind of get some cardio out of the way. I’ll usually have two groups and I’ll usually workout with the second group, the smaller one, another first group. I get there before they get there and I’ll go out and do some conditioning on the Uber or something and get a good sweat. They’ll get there they’ll kind of shake the cobwebs. Other eyes will start warming up. We’ll go through, like a dynamic stretching routine, make sure the body loose and warm. A lot of them are might be beat up from the wrestling practice the night before and then we’ll once they’re warmed up, maybe we’ll just shoulder PreHab and then a room, we’ll get into whatever kind of our main lift of the day is, so tomorrow’s Wednesday so we’ll start out with a power clean. And whenever we’re on kind of our core lift for the day, whether it’s power clean, deadlift, back squat, whatever the day is, I kind of let them pace themselves a little bit more on that. They get a little bit more rest in between sets cause we’re going pretty heavy and once we do our five bell bowls or six triples or whatever we’re doing for the day and we’ll kind of move into our secondary accessory work and then like I said, we typically wrap it up at the end. The last 10 to 15 minutes will be some type of conditioning work or core work or something like that. Never failed out. We’ve got someone trying to sneak out the door saying they’re late for class or something. But the guys pretty good about getting everything done.
Corey Beasley [00:13:01]: That’s good though. So the boys that they get in there, they do the work. What are some of the things that you’ve noticed over the years? I mean, you’ve obviously been doing this for a little while. What are some things that have changed in your program in the last year or two?
Dustin Myers [00:13:20]:I would say over the last year or two I’ve paid a lot more attention to kind of doing some PreHab warm up stuff for the Hamstring and Glutes. So I think that’s something I’ve added in a lot more. So almost every day we do something for the hamstrings. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re doing heavy you for the hamstrings, but we may do some asymmetric holds, hamstring bridges just some type of activation to make sure our hamstrings are firing. That’s kind of one of the things that we really stress lately. Also too, I think going back maybe five or six years ago, I utilize a lot more circuit training on our bigger lifts, which I’ve kind of moved away from that. I might still keep some circuit training on the accessory lifts, but we kind of started seeing injuries when you’re trying to do deadlift for reps or something where you’re kind of having to move from one thing to another fast when you’re using a lot of your big compound lifts. So we’ve kind of moved away from that. So not a lot of volume on like let’s say like power clean and stuff like that. We used to do five or six years ago we might’ve done power cleans with your body weight 50 reps for time or something like that. Something a little bit more similar to what you’d see at a CrossFit workout or something like that. And that may be fine for someone who’s very proficient in the Olympic lifts, but most of the guys I train, whether it’s wrestlers or boxers or even high school kids or whatever they’re not expert Olympic lifters. So I think that’s something I’ve kind of moved away from as well.
Corey Beasley [00:14:53]: So your athletes that are coming in that at the Olympic training center or at Ohio state those are some strong kids I would imagine. So you mentioned that you have some kids that are in high school some of the people that might be listening have kids that are in high school and that are coaches in a high school level or work with kids in that age. What are some of the differences between your elite guys and your high school kids?
Dustin Myers [00:15:27]: You mean differences strength-wise or differences though I do training wise?
Corey Beasley [00:15:31]: Yeah. How you approach it, like how you work with those kids versus the elite group?
Dustin Myers [00:15:36]:Okay. I got a lot of really good high school kids I would say are probably a lead at the high school level and I had to stay champion this year. A state runner up and another guy on the podium, couple of other guys that they’re qualified you. Ohio is a very like California, very tough wrestling state. So my workouts that I do with my high school kids here, once they’ve been with me for a while, they’re doing something very similar to what my senior level athletes are doing. But like, let’s say if I have like, I do have some kids they maybe junior high or younger high school kids. The main thing I stress when I bring young kids like that don’t have a lot of experience in the weight room is that you got to build a good foundation on, especially on their main compound lifts, squat, deadlift things like that. You got to really stress form and you can’t, a lot of kids, they come in, their legs may be strong enough, let say a ninth grader, his legs may be strong enough to squat to 25. So he wants to put two 25 on the bar. But he may have a weak link somewhere either in the hips or in his core, it was a low back. It could be weakness in his ass to where he can’t support the weight in a proper position. So I always start my young guys out with lightweight on those main lifts and it can be frustrating for them too, especially if I have two kids that come in, their teammates are best friends and one of them gets a back squat with the bar and then the other kid has to do maybe Kettlebell work or medicine ball work until his positioning and his movement looks good enough that I can move him up to using the bar for a back squat for example. I would say that’s the biggest thing don’t be in a rush when you get a 15 year old kid. Even if he’s a strong kid, a good athlete, don’t be in a rush to put a lot of weight on their back or have him pull a lot of weight off the floor. You’ve got to make sure their movement looks good. I always tell them, if you’re warm set, you’re heavy set, don’t look the same movement wise, then you’re using too much weight.
Corey Beasley [00:17:29]: Yeah, that’s good advice. So as the kids getting ready for season or they’re actually in season how does the work with you change?
Dustin Myers [00:17:43]:We’re talking about the high school kids or the college kids here. I will generally, once the guys are competing, I mean like during the season, obviously during the early part of the season when they’re not competing yet, I still have most of them training strength training three days a week we may cut down on the volume a little bit more. The workouts may be shorter the weight portion of the workout may only be about 40, 45 minutes. And we made it focus a little bit more conditioning at the end or whether it’s doing some type of sprint work on the Airdyne a lot more sprint work with the sleds, things like that. But then once we get in the meat of the season, what I try to do weeks where they’re competing. We still try to get one heavy lift in a week. So like, let’s say they compete on a Friday night that following Sunday or Monday we’re going to get a heavy lifting and that’s going to be our only day. We’re going to do like traditional weight lifting. We’ll try to deadlift or split squat, we’ll do some rowing movements, we’ll do some type of pressing movements, try to get them done in about 40 minutes, do some core work and then that’s it. Then we’ll probably do one other lifts that week. That’s more of kind of a conditioning style lift where they may have to do minute Airdyne sprints, minute farmer walks or weight holds in a minute medicine ball slams. They may do three to five rounds of that and then they’re done. So that’s kind of what we do is one lift for strength and one lift for conditioning once a season starts.
Corey Beasley [00:19:03]: Gotcha. And then as you guys are going to through, what do you do to monitor the guys? You got a lot of different athletes then. How you monitor their recovery and performance and stuff like that?
Dustin Myers [00:19:19]:Well, that’s something that’s still evolving as well. Ohio state recently brought in Don Moxley the sports scientist, a very smart guy and he’s kind of tasked with monitoring the guys as far as we’re obviously, we’re tracking the type of weight they’re using, stuff like that. We’re doing a lot of different testing with the VO2 stuff. I mean we have heart rate monitors that we use when they’re doing say, if they’re prescribed, they got to do X amount of conditioning work on the bike every week. They have heart rate monitors they use, we have some, omega waves, the guys where when they sleep, and I’m kind of hands off on a lot of that stuff. I’m just kind of a guy that puts together the workouts, get them in there, make sure to lift them properly and then I’m crushing them on a regular basis. And then you’re going kind of handles kind of the science side of track and makes sure the recovering properly and stuff like that. And then he gives me feedback and then we look at, if someone not putting forth enough effort, are they not recovering enough? Whatever the case is. And we try and make adjustments from there. So that’s a little bit more high tech than I do at my gym and with my high school kids. I really have my thumb on top of them and just kind of do the eyeball test on everything and track things that way.
Corey Beasley [00:20:27]: That’s cool that you get to see both and you get to that exposure with somebody like that. It’ll change your program or fine tune it and certain ways where you’ll just squeeze a little bit more out of guys, which could mean the difference between the national title and not?
Dustin Myers [00:20:43]:Yeah. Without a doubt. I always say everyone that level is talented or they wouldn’t be there. Everyone’s strong. Everyone works hard, everyone’s in good shape, so you got to find the little differences, little 1% here that are going to make these guys successful. And a big part of it I think this kind of maybe the whole crux of my training I call it guts and conditioning it’s kind of the toughness factor and that’s something that really the science can’t explain and it was really hard to put on paper. But if you can teach someone to push themselves to be able to, in training, you kind of take their self to what I call the dark place. If they’re willing to take themselves to a dark place and training and they can get through that, it builds a different type of confidence in their mind so that when they’re in the final round of a match and they’re down and they need to take down and they’re dead tired. They’re able to kind of muster that energy and that will to win from within themselves. And I think that’s something that’s really important, that’s kind of hard to put on paper. It’s hard to monitor and I can only do so much. It’s something that got to come from within in them.
Corey Beasley [00:21:49]: Very true. So Dustin from your experience, you’ve been working with a lot of kids for a lot of years what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see wrestlers and or their coaches making either throughout the year, during season getting their guys ready for competition. What are some big things that you’ve seen that are just common mistakes?
Dustin Myers [00:22:14]: Well I would say hands down, the biggest mistake is improper nutrition, so many wrestlers that even at the elite level, they’ve grown up, kind of starving themselves to make weight and they’re just so used to doing and they think that’s the only way and I tried to do a good job at educating my guys that, you can still lose weight and eat. They could probably more than what they’re eating now if eat the right things in the right time of day. There’s the whole science behind that. But I would say the biggest mistake most wrestlers and fighters make they don’t practice proper nutrition year round. So they get the most out of the workouts so they recover properly. And so the weight comes down properly, that if you take all summer off, eat what you want, you come back at 15% body fat, then it’s going to be a real struggle to your weight down. And in the process of getting your weight down, you’re going to lose some of that muscle that you build if you were lifting weights in the summer. So I would say the single most important thing is getting your nutrition under control and eating right year around.
Corey Beasley [00:23:12]: Right on. Yeah, I think that…
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