High School Does Not Go High Enough

At Santa Monica College, a 34,000-student, two-year community college in California, students sometimes sit on the floor to hear professors speak. This is not part of a New Age approach to learning; there aren't enough seats.

Over the past few years, demand for classes has grown dramatically, while budget cuts have forced the college, along with others in the California system, to reduce course offerings. As a result, according to administrators, nearly every class offered is filled to capacity. Instructors sometimes waive class size limits to allow additional students to enroll, even when that means seating some pupils on the floor. Many other students, however, are turned away, forced to take the classes they need elsewhere or to wait and try again the following semester.

In response, the college devised an unusual solution. It will add more of the most in-demand classes - generally basic courses in English, writing, math and science that are necessary to fulfill graduation requirements or transfer to four-year schools - for an extra price. After state-funded classes fill up, students will have the option to enroll in additional sections only if they are able to pay the full price of what it costs the college to offer those classes. Currently, each class costs students $36 per credit hour. The new classes would be five times that - $180 per credit hour. The new program could start as soon as the upcoming summer and winter sessions, eventually to be expanded to the entire academic year, officials say.

There is something wrong here. Santa Monica should get some points for creativity and good intentions, but too few for the program to merit a passing grade. An institution that enrolls students in a particular course of study has an obligation to make the classes necessary to complete that program available in the standard amount of time, at the prices students have been told to expect to pay. Anything else is clearly a bait-and-switch.

On the surface, the problems facing Santa Monica College are budget cuts and the state's refusal to raise tuition rates to cover a larger portion of costs. The true issue, however, runs deeper. In today's economy, an associate's degree, or maybe even a bachelor's degree, is the new high school diploma - the minimum level of achievement necessary for most middle-class jobs. Yet community colleges are not equipped to be the new high schools.

Our current educational structure evolved in the early decades of the 20th century to meet that era's requirements. Primary school taught the basic reading, math and civic skills that everyone needed in order to function in society. Secondary school then offered a path to a middle class that was expanding as American manufacturing did. Both were made available, for free, to all students, by local school districts. Meanwhile, states and private institutions created a university system for those students interested in the relatively few professions that required higher education.

Now a high school diploma alone is inadequate for most careers, but it is still the highest level of education guaranteed to students for free. The result is that many students who try to follow the path to middle-class financial stability that education offers find it clogged with their fellow students, as in the case of Santa Monica College, or prohibitively expensive. The goalposts have moved, yet we haven't yet changed the rules of the game.

In order to continue to offer students the same opportunities as in the past, we need to reform our system to ensure that students can meet new standards. If an associate's degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma, then the public should pay for every willing and qualifying student to get that associate's degree.

One way to achieve this would be to provide the necessary funding for community colleges to accommodate all interested students, sans tuition. But why have two separate systems to achieve the single objective of a suitable publicly paid education? Another approach, and one that could save a lot of public money and student time, would be to incorporate more higher education into what is now the high school curriculum.

Already, many high schools offer Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, which allow qualified students to study at a college level without leaving high school campuses. In order to apply these classes toward college degrees, however, students must pass expensive exams and then enroll in colleges that offer credit in exchange for high exam scores. These courses, therefore, offer little benefit to those who aren't college-bound. Furthermore, they generally replace traditional high school courses, rather than following them, meaning that they are available only to those in accelerated programs.

Why not enable students to walk away from graduation with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in hand? Some high schools already permit students to do this, through partnerships with community colleges. Wyoming Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, launched a program last month to allow students to dual-enroll at Grand Rapids Community College in order to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in five years, with the public school system paying the community college tuition.

Other schools offer fully integrated four- to six-year programs that grant students both degrees. One such school, Bard High School Early College in New York City, allows highly motivated students, selected through an admissions process, to earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree in four years within the New York City public school system. The program is modeled after the private Bard College at Simon's Rock in Massachusetts, which accepts students after 10th or 11th grade and grants an associate's degree (but not a high school diploma) after four years, and a bachelor's degree after two additional years.

Another New York City school, developed through a partnership between the public school system, the City University of New York and IBM, offers a six-year technology-focused program, which grants graduates a high school diploma, an associate's degree and a position "'first in line' for a job with IBM and a ticket to the middle class," as Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it. (1) Chicago recently announced that it too will partner with technology companies, including IBM, to open five new high schools based on the same model next fall. The schools will enroll roughly 1,090 freshmen. "We want to hire them all," Stanley Litow, IBM's vice-president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, said of these soon-to-be graduates. "All they need to do is be able to successfully complete a curriculum through Grade 9 to 14 that's gonna be their ticket to a good-paying job and to the middle class." (2)

These schools offer a model that every district in the nation could follow. Of course, not every student needs high school through grade 14. Those headed for another four years of schooling in college, for example, likely have no need or desire to spend an additional two years in high school first. But there is no reason high schools cannot be structured to allow both four-year and five- or six-year courses of study, with four-year paths resulting in just a high school diploma and five- or six-year paths resulting in both a high school diploma and an associate's degree, or a newly defined credential that would be similar.

As grade 14 replaces grade 12 as the new "ticket to the middle class," we will also have to address the needs of students for whom an on-campus education isn't appropriate, particularly those who have already been in the workforce for a number of years. While these students can obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), often quickly and inexpensively, to certify high school level education, there is currently no similar way to demonstrate knowledge equivalent to an associate's degree. As we work on paving the main road through associate's degree-level education, we also should build this new parallel route. Those who already have the skills an associate's degree represents, or who are prepared to acquire those skills on their own, should have an effective means of communicating this to employers and four-year colleges.

There are a lot of obstacles to the system I envision, but they are purely man-made. Local high schools are financed through different mechanisms than are community and four-year colleges, though of course society ends up picking up the tab regardless. Different unions represent faculties at such institutions, different organizations accredit them, and we have established different requirements for credentials and certification of faculty.

All these obstacles can be overcome if we care enough about getting real value for our education dollars, by providing every able and willing student with a 21st century education and credentials to match 21st century life.

Students deserve to get the education they need for today's world without having to pay an exorbitant price. And they deserve to get that education at desks, not on the floor.

Sources: 1) P-Tech, "General Information" 2) The Chicago Sun-Times, "New six-year tech high schools in Chicago to offer associate degrees "

It is Almost Impossible to Get Very Far in Life Without a High School Diploma

It is a well known fact that you cannot go very far in life without a high school diploma. In fact, that simple looking white piece of paper can unlock a treasure chest of a life of opportunities, job prospects and the ability to further your education via colleges or universities. Without a diploma, your ability to earn a good income will be in jeopardy.

There is no shortage of online or home study programs in the United States today, these type of programs are plentiful. Getting a diploma is a lot easier now than it was back in the days. You can acquire one by going to a traditional, vocational, or technical school. You can also get one by going through colleges, universities, or an independent study program. In addition, you can also get your diploma over the internet.

Students can begin doing coursework after they've enrolled in some type of study program. Nevertheless, It is wiser to consult with a counselor or an adviser before you begin. An adviser will be able to work with you to assure that the requirements will be met. If you go into this blind and not knowing what you're doing, you could end up completing coursework that you did not need and therefore, does not count towards getting your diploma. Different schools require different things.

In addition, you can also obtain a GED or a General Education Degree, however, keep in mind that some employers may not consider a GED a proper requirement for the job. Some colleges or universities may not honor a GED as well. Therefore, if you want to be assured that you will not have any problems getting into certain schools or qualifying for certain jobs, then a high school diploma is the best way to go. More than likely, people with a diploma will earn more money than some with a GED.

It is imperative that you find an accredited high school diploma program. Do not just sign up to any program that looks legit. Without an accreditation, your diploma will be useless and you would have lost your time and money. These programs will provide all of the necessary courses needed to complete the program. You will get coursework in English, mathematics, reading, science, world history, and American history. You can also expect to get courses in Spanish, chemistry, music, computers, office skills and many more.

High School Students Fail to Pass History and Literature - How Can You Help Your Kids Succeed?

Audiences are usually delighted when late night comedy hosts wander onto the street to ask passers by basic history questions. We think it is hysterical when people fail to answer "Who was buried in Grant's Tomb?" or "When was the War of 1812?" The laughter dies however, when one considers a 2008 report produced by Common Core, in which they surveyed a random sampling of 1,200 seventeen year olds across the country. The report revealed some disturbing facts.

Thirty-three percent of the students could not identify the document wherein Americans are guaranteed their freedom of speech. Forty-nine percent could not identify the political party attacked by McCarthyism. A whopping fifty-seven percent could not correctly place the American Civil War within the second half of the nineteenth century, while forty percent didn't know that WWI took place within the first half of the twentieth century. And that was only the beginning.

If, as the report declares, "the first mission of public schooling in a democratic society is to equip every young person for the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship," then our public school system seems to be failing.

So what's to do? Blame our teachers and schools? That's probably not fair. After all, America's schools are over crowed, under funded, and sadly hampered by scholastic standards that put creative and civic instruction on the proverbial back burner. Just today, I spoke with a local high school curriculum coordinator who bemoaned, "I have plenty of content, but no time to teach it." Hardly a surprise when US Department of Education data shows that "the amount of weekly instructional time devoted to history and social studies in grades one to six fell by 22 percent between 1988 and 2004. The amount of time devoted to "English and reading arts" increased substantially during these same years, but there is reason to believe that most or all of this additional time was spent on basic reading skills, not literature."

The Common Core report, which you may read at http://www.commoncore.org/_docs/CCreport_stillatrisk.pdf, did notice that a segment of students who consistently scored higher had a few important aspects of their lives in common. One, they had at least one college educated parent. Two, they were more likely to have read at least one literary book not assigned in school. Three, they were more likely to have visited a museum or attended a cultural event with their family and friends. In other words, parental and family involvement in the cultural and historical education of a child tends to raise that child's grade point average by one level, sometimes two. The report seems to confirm what many parents and teachers have known for years-the love of history and literature begins at home. Knowledge of our past is a gift we receive from our parents when they take the time to share their passions with us.

So what are parents to do if they have no college education? What if they have no money for museums and theatre? What if they work three jobs and only see their kids a few minutes a day? Luckily, quality of time is truly more important than quantity. If you know your kids are studying US History, rent and watch John Adams with them. Ask them what they think of a bunch of rebels deciding to start their own country. You don't need to test them; just expose them to your culture's history and literature and then talk with them about it. If you watch a film about South Africa, be sure to get out a map and let them know where the country is. If they are watching a movie about WWII, look for a timeline that tells them what came before and after. Kids are naturally curious, and parents can't afford to wait for schools to try and cram a lifetime of learning into one semester. If you don't have the time, knowledge, or money, look for a mentor who does. Your community and your kids will thank you for it.

I personally would like to see Historybuster Clubs sprout up across America. What is a Historybuster Club? Designed by a history teacher, Historybusters provides parents with the tools they need to hook their kids on history early, encouraging active learning as well as parental and community involvement in the education of our children.

Cultural Differences on High School Graduation

I never attended High School graduation ceremony. Most of the High Schools or Secondary Schools as it is known in Kenya are boarding schools. Many students are happy to finish their final exams and will have to wait for two to three months before they know the results. This is different from the American High Schools graduation. Yesterday I dropped one of my foster kids for her graduation night. All the students were going Del Mar in Los Angeles for boat excursion. She was dressed in jeans and her class t-shirt. On arrival at the school, all girls were dressed elegantly. She got a rude shock and wanted to go back home. I pointed to her that she has worked so hard in the last four years that other peoples' dressing would not deter her from having a good time. She finally agreed to go and really had a blast. She did not return until 3:00 am this morning.

A high school diploma can be a gateway to post secondary, better employment and a successful college career. Most of jobs require some type of training or education beyond high school and most institutions of higher education want applicants to be high school graduates. A high school graduates earn higher salaries than none graduates. They are less likely to depend on public or government assistance, health care, or to engage in criminal activity. A higher level of education typically means better employment prospects and increased personal satisfaction and self discovery.

A high school diploma can be a ticket to moving into higher education. Colleges and universities require students to have a diploma in order to enroll. Some colleges also accept applicants who have a General Education Diploma (GED), but will prefer the traditional diploma. Today, college may be more important than ever before. Not only is it beneficial for students who want successful careers later in life, but it also provides an experience that students will remember forever.

The Kenyan system of education requires students to study for three years and on their last year, they will be tested on all subjects studied for the past four years. This can be very stressful for a student to remember all courses studies during the past four years. Kenyan system of education is borrowed from the British system of education. There are no multiple choices-students have to remember everything. I remember during my final exam in November of a few years back, the stress I faced. Passing the Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE) was a great accomplishment and it was almost between life and death.

Kenyan system of education also had two years of post secondary school before going to University. During my school times, there were only four public universities. Out of 10,000 high school graduates, only 3,000 were eligible to join the public universities. The passing grade for university intake was B+ and above. Many Kenyan students who did not have an opportunity to attend public universities had the options of starting their own businesses (jua kali) which was a government sponsored program to make energy saving equipments. Others who could afford went to study abroad.

The two years of high school was eliminated about fifteen years ago. Comparing high school in America, successful high school academic careers require students to push themselves, especially during senior year. Students are encouraged to take advance courses and begin considering what colleges may fit them best. This may not be so for other foreign countries where the government determines the cut off pass mark and who will or will not attend the university.

Education is a great challenge for many students, but, for children who have been abused and neglected, education is even greater challenge. Many of the system children (children who are award of the court) are not able to have the competitiveness with other students and their frequent change of group homes and foster homes makes this determination less productive. Many of the teenagers I have worked with are terrified upon reaching age 16 and have only 35 credits before graduating. A total of 221-250 credits are required for graduation. Some of these teenagers give up, but few are able to continue with adult schools school or independent studies with support from caring foster parents or group home staff.

Many of us will agree that, days spent in secondary and high schools were the best days of our lives. It was in school that we made our first friends, learned to compete and excel, hoped for places in the sport teams, and learned the basics of life. The high school graduation may be celebrated this week for many students, but education still continues as long as we allow ourselves to learn.

High School Wrestling: Becoming a Super Wrestler

Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first Bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster. - from the opening sequence of the television show The Six Million Dollar Man

Can we build a wrestler that is better, stronger, and faster?

What is the best type of conditioning for a wrestler? Even though I am no longer competitive, I still grapple with this question. The information I find seems confusing and contradictory at times.

Even though my competitive days are probably behind me, I have continued to be interested in wrestling technique and in wrestling conditioning. I still wondered during my adult life what conditioning could produce the ultimate wrestler. I did a lot of research on the internet and in books and began to piece things together.

What insights did I gain? Let's explore.


I was somewhat familiar with the concept of periodization as far back as the 1980s. I believe that I first read about periodization in a bodybuilding/fitness magazine. I don't remember the exact details of the article, but it left an impression on me.

I didn't start using the internet regularly until around the turn of the new millennium. Through some researching I came upon two articles that were specifically about periodization for wrestling. I believe the first article was simply entitled Periodization and was written by Ethan Bosch.

The second article was entitled Year Long Periodization Schedule and was written by Richard Fergola. These articles fascinated me very much. The articles described what type of training to do at each stage of the calendar year. It was very exciting to find an actual blueprint of how to train year round to be in the best condition to wrestle.

Strength and conditioning coach Mark Ginther contends that peak condition is impossible to retain for more than a couple of weeks at the longest and, therefore, some form of periodization is essential to successful conditioning.

Basic linear periodization often involves three phases: preparatory, competition, and transition. However, there are many other kinds of periodization.

Energy Systems

During high school I read an article explaining how different types of weight lifting could lead to strength. power, or muscular endurance. This confused me a bit, because I figured that a wrestler needed all three attributes. I'm not sure when I learned about the difference between aerobic and anaerobic sports. That concept was a bit confusing too, because I could remember breathing hard and feeling my heart pound after a wrestling match. And yet, wrestling wasn't really like running a few miles. It involved strength and power. During the early part of the new millennium, I also learned bout the three energy systems and how to train them.

The ATP system provides enwergy for approximately 0-15 seconds. The glyco-lactic system provides energy for approximately 15 seconds to 2 minutes. The aerobic system provides energy for 2 minutes and beyond. I was still a little confused because a high school match lasts for six minutes. But, those aren't six minutes of continuous steady state activity. A wrestling match is punctuated by many powerful bursts of activity. So, wrestling uses more energy from the first two systems and is definitely aerobic. And, knowing that allows you to train accordingly.

A very good article I came across by Mike Frey was Cardiovascular Training for Wrestlers. In part two of that article he writes, "The whistle has blown marking the end of the first period of your match. Your heart is racing and you can hardly breathe. You have been running 2 miles everyday just like your coach and dad told you to. So why are you tired after only 2 minutes?"

"Yes, why is that?" I thought.

The Frey writes, "Running long distance conditioning works the body's aerobic energy system to use energy over a long period of time, where with wrestling we are required to sustain high levels of energy very quickly and recover in a short period of time."

You see a wrestler needs not only aerobic endurance, but anaerobic endurance. Mike explains many ways to improve one's wrestling endurance. It's a very enlightening article and made quite an impression on me.

Mike concludes part two of the article by stating, "Cardiovascular training for wrestlers is more that just running 2 miles or riding your bike around the block. As you are starting to see, wrestling is about anaerobic conditioning. Aerobic conditioning plays a major role in providing a good solid foundation for cardiovascular training but it's the anaerobic weight training and conditioning that will carry you to the top of the podium."

GPP/Work Capacity/Strongman Training/Olympic Lifting/ DensityTraining/Kettlebells/Plyometrics/Miscellaneous

I grew up on a farm. I used to carry bales of hay and pails of corn every day. I lifted and carried bags of lime and feed. I dug fence post holes. In other words, I did plenty of physical labor. This was my way of building general physical preparedness (GPP). A concept closely related to GPP is work capacity.

I believe it was articles written by Matt Wiggins that first brought my attention to the concept of work capacity.

With greater work capacity, one can do a greater volume of conditioning. Having greater work capacity is like having a bigger"gas tank." If you have great work capacity, then you won't gas out toward the end of a wrestling match.

A wrestler will absolutely benefit from improved work capacity. He will be prepared for intense work and will be able to recover more quickly.

Strength and conditioning specialist Ross Enimait states, "All athletes can benefit from improved work capacity. This is particularly true for combat athletes." In addition he writes, "Improving work capacity is one important step to enabling the body to train harder and more often."

Strongman training involving pulling weighted sleds, swinging sledge hammers, and flipping tires has become quite popular among combat athletes. Look into it.

Some trainers believe that Olympic lifting (e.g. power cleans) is beneficial for a combat athlete while others don't. The same can be said of plyometrics.

I've heard good things about kettlebells, clubbells, and Indian clubs.

Density training often involves trying to do more work in the same amount of time or the same amount of work in less time. How many push ups can you do in ten minutes? Try to double the number of push ups you can do in ten minutes. Think you won't be in better condition? Or, you could keep doing the same number of push ups but reduce the amount of time you rest between sets.

You should read up about density training.

I guess the bottom line is that there are many ways to condition your body and a variety of tools and techniques one can use.

Traditional Cardio/Intervals/Sprints

Aerobic base training has been a principal ingredient of training programs (including those for wrestling) for decades. This type of training (think long slow bouts of jogging) is purported to increase mitochondrial size and density as well as muscular capillarization, which results in increased blood flow to the muscles and improved muscular endurance.

Sounds good, right? However, a growing number of conditioning experts are claiming aerobics (traditional cardio) is useless and perhaps even dangerous.

For instance, some claim that aerobic training can make you slower, cause adrenal stress, and worsen one's testosterone/cortisol ratio.

Interval training is recommended as an alternative. Interval training involves alternating bouts of high-intensity exercise with that of low to moderate-intensity exercise. For instance, one might sprint for 40 seconds and then jog for two minutes and repeat this for several sets.

On the other hand, in his article A Basic Primer on Endurance Training Charles Staley writes, "Note: Many conditioning specialists eschew the concept of developing an aerobic base, feeling that a highly developed aerobic capacity is counter-productive to the attainment of speed and strength. However the anaerobic system is based on the aerobic system, so at least in principle, it seems logical to develop the system which will promote lactic acid clearance during high intensity training efforts later in the cycle. As in all things, it really is an issue of how much aerobic work is done, and where it is placed in the training cycle."

Several conditioning experts are advocates of sprinting (including hill sprints).

In the journal article Physiological and Performance Changes from the Addition of a Sprint Interval Program to Wrestling Training, Farzad et al. (2011) state, "Our results indicate that repeated sprint-interval runs with short passive recovery periods, over a 4-week period are useful in increasing both aerobic and anaerobic performances. The training period also significantly influenced serum hormone concentrations."

The total testosterone of the participants performing the sprint protocol increased significantly. Pretty cool, huh?

Lactic Acid Training

Wrestling is considered to be primarily an anaerobic sport. Earlier I mentioned the three energy systems. One of the energy systems that wrestling relies heavily upon is called the lactic acid or lactate system.

The lactate system can be linked with the burning sensations felt during high intensity activities. Therefore, if a wrestler can train his body to tolerate and effectively use lactate he will become less fatigued and will be able to wrestle at a higher intensity longer.

According to Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jonathan Siegel, "In terms of improving the use and re-use of lactate in our muscles, lactate threshold (LT) intervals encourage fast-twitch muscles to produce an enzyme (MCT-1) which is important to transport lactate into muscle cells where it is converted into pyruvic acid for further exercise. The more MCT-1 you have, the greater the rate of lactate conversion and the greater the muscle endurance. LT intervals also increase the number of mitochondria (cellular energy power plants) and capillaries (blood highways)."

According to Owen Anderson, author of Lactate Lift-Off, one method of increasing one's lactate threshold and ability to clear lactate is to perform an exercise he refers to as lactate-dosers.

The lactate-doser involves alternating two minutes of close-to-max-speed running with 4 to 5 minutes of easy jogging until you have completed 5 to 6 of the 2 minute bursts.

The blasts bathe muscle cells in lactate, and the recovery jogs allow muscle fibers to clear the lactate which has been produced. Over time, this kind of workout should dramatically increase MCT concentrations, lactate clearance, lactate threshold, and performance capacity.

In an article at the Science Daily website entitled Lactic Acid Not Athlete's Poison, But An Energy Source -- If You Know How To Use It, exercise physiologist George Brooks and his UC Berkeley Exercise Physiology Laboratory colleagues Takeshi Hashimoto and Rajaa Hussien are mentioned and their research concerning lactic acid is discussed.

According to the article at Science Daily:

"The world's best athletes stay competitive by interval training," Brooks said, referring to repeated short, but intense, bouts of exercise. "The intense exercise generates big lactate loads, and the body adapts by building up mitochondria to clear lactic acid quickly. If you use it up, it doesn't accumulate."

In a journal article entitled The Physiological Basis for Wrestling: Implications for Conditioning Programs, Kraemer, Vescovi, & Dixon (2004) recommend circuit resistance training as one part of a wrestling conditioning program. They state, "The main purpose for circuit resistance training is to develop a toleration of high hydrogen ion and lactic acid concentrations, which will subsequently enhance the acid-buffering mechanisms within the body."

Circuits are simply a series of exercises performed in a fashion in which one moves from one exercise to the next with little or no rest. A good description of circuit resistance training specific to wrestling can be found in the journal article mentioned above, in online articles, and in the book entitled Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science:Strength Training for Sport.

Pavel Tsatsouline/Strength

Pavel Tsatsouline, Master of Sports, is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor and the author of Power to the People: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American and several other books and articles.

Pavel believes in lifting heavy weights for low reps. Bodybuilding has no place in most athletes training in his opinion. He states, "The punch bag who came up with the light weights/high reps formula for martial artists did not have the slightest clue about either strength training or martial arts."

He also says, "The best strength training formula for a fighting man is heavy, 80-95% 1RM, weights, and low, 1-5, repetitions."

Any combat athlete, including wrestlers, can become tired and sore from following a high rep weight training program. If you have no energy left for practice, what's the point? Pavel concludes, "If they go to low rep, heavy, non-exhaustive training--three sets of three or five sets of five--they would not get sore."

Strength training should never interfere with your wrestling practice. If practice itself makes you tired and fatigued that's okay. You can't practice your wrestling skills well if you're sore from weight training. You can't shoot good takedowns if you're tired and sore.

If wrestling practice itself makes you tired and fatigued that's okay. However, your strength training shouldn't. Strength training is not for conditioning. You should get plenty of conditioning during wrestling practice from drilling, live wrestling, calisthenics, etc.

Strength training is also not a way for you to prove how tough you are. Save it for the mat. Nobody cares how much you can bench press if you walk out and get pinned. Lift heavy weights, but keep the overall volume of strength training low.

Strength training is merely there to give you a possible advantage over an equally skilled opponent.

Barry Ross/Strength and Speed

Strength and conditioning coach Barry Ross is mainly known for his work in the area of track and field, especially sprinting. Ross helped train sprinter Allyson Felix in high school. Allyson Felix has gone on to become an Olympic silver medalist and world champion sprinter. You may wonder what this has to do with wrestling.

Well, the interesting thing about Ross is that he came across a study by research physiologist Peter Weyand. According to Ross, "Weyand and his associates proved that simply gaining strength is not enough. Their study showed that the key to faster running was mass-specific force. 'Mass-specific force' is just another way to say that it isn't merely the amount of force applied to the ground that increases stride length; it's the amount of force in relation to bodyweight."

Ross realized that increasing mass-specific force meant getting stronger without adding bulk. Don't most wrestlers want to get stronger without gaining bulk? I think so. How does one do this? Ross had his sprinters lift heavy weights for low reps and focused primarily on the deadlift. In his article The Holy Grail in Speed Training Ross writes, "The deadlift wasn't a favorite in our eyes either until we noticed an interesting and powerfully motivating fact: World and European powerlifting records show that the deadlift and the squat records are within 10% or less of each other across all weight classes, both for men and women. Yet the deadlift works a significantly greater percentage of the muscles and involves multiple joints; why waste time and energy on squats or leg press machines? Realizing the efficiency of the deadlift led to the complete restructuring of our strength workout."

Ross never has his athletes train to failure (exhaustion). He simply gets his athletes very strong. He believes in the philosophy, "Do as little as needed, not as much as possible." This is similar to the philosophy of strength and conditioning coach and trainer to boxers and UFC fighters Steve Baccari. Interstingly, Baccari is also a fan of deadlifts. Baccari says, "In my opinion, easy strength training is the only productive way a competitive fighter can strength train. But most people think if you don't break a sweat it must not work. This used to bother me a lot, but not anymore, because I think it is one reason why my fighters win so much." Baccari also says, "Low rep slow strength work is like putting money in the bank to collect on the fight night."

I think the lesson for wrestlers is that you shouldn't wear yourself out by lifting weights to the point of exhaustion. Lift heavy weights for low reps (never more than five) and get really strong. Lactic acid training and conditioning have their place, but don't forget about the importance of pure strength.

Dan Gable and Rocky Marciano/Work Ethic and Conditioning

Dan Gable doesn't really need an introduction. He was one of the greatest American wrestlers to ever set foot on the mat and perhaps the greatest collegiate coach in history. Gable's work ethic and conditioning was legendary.

Gable enjoyed hard work from a young age. During his high school years he had the stamina to exhaust his teammates. He would then look for a fresh partner. Some would have called him a fanatic in terms of conditioning.

Gable had this to say, "The obvious goals were there- State Champion, NCAA Champion, Olympic Champion. To get there I had to set an everyday goal which was to push myself to exhaustion or, in other words, to work so hard in practice that someone would have to carry me off the mat."

During his college years at ISU, Gable's goal was to work so hard in practice that he wouldn't be able to leave the room under his own power. He came close at times, but always managed to crawl to his feet.

According to the book A Season on the Mat: Dan Gable and the Pursuit of Perfection, after losing his final collegiate match (after 117 straight victories at ISU), "For the next two years, Gable worked out three times a day, eight hours of running and lifting and hard wrestling, striving for Olympic perfection." What did Gable do after he won the gold medal in the 1972 Olympics in Munich? According to the book, "The day after winning a gold medal in Munich, he ran four miles."

A year prior to that Gable had responded to winning in the same manner. The morning following the 1971 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, Dan Gable was out running, already focusing on his next challenge.

Ben Peterson and his brother John were Olympic teammates of Dan in 1972. They often worked out with Dan. Ben writes of Dan, "His favorite after a run, was taking turns doing push-ups using a deck of cards. While John and I strained with big numbers we had picked, Dan would tell us we were lucky. When he got a small number he complained." Dan used to do that deck-of-cards workout by himself at times, seeing how many times he could go through the deck.

When Gable coached at the University of Iowa, he was no less demanding when it came to his team's conditioning. In fact, two-time NCAA champion Royce Alger said that he'd rather do prison time than ever again go through the workouts that Gable had them endure during the time he wrestled for Iowa. How did Gable do at Iowa? During Gable's tenor, Iowa won 21 consecutive Big Ten championships and 15 NCAA team titles.

In his book Coaching Wrestling Successfully, Dan Gable informs the reader that conditioning is essential. He believes in maintaining a high fitness level year round. He writes, "Daily work adds up to a whole lot after a while. Five minutes a day doesn't seem like much, but it equals close to 31 hours of extra work when added up for a whole year."

Gable concludes, "A wrestler can develop from average to good or good to great with just a bit more time and effort each day."

Another athlete known for his work ethic and conditioning was boxer Rocky Marciano.

In his book Wrestling Tough, Mike Chapman writes, "When he retired as the undefeated heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1956, Marciano had a record of 49-0, with 43 knockouts. Most experts maintained that Rocky's unmatched emphasis on conditioning, often considered extreme, was the key to his success."

One of the ways that Rocky liked to improve his stamina was by running.

Charlie Piccento, Rocky's uncle, had this to say, "He does it (runs) every morning even if he doesn't have a fight...five or six miles. Been doing it for six years, every day. Even does six or seven miles on Christmas morning."

Rocky himself said, "I'm in better condition than any of them. I can go as many rounds as I have to."

Gable and Marciano are just two of many athletes who placed a great emphasis on work ethic and conditioning. Obviously, for them it paid off.

Dave Schultz/Mark Schultz/John Smith/Technique

Dave Schultz is regarded by many as one of the best technicians in the history of wrestling. Dave was a world and Olympic champion. But, those honors can only begin to give one an idea of just how incredible he was. Dave Schultz was phenomenal.

Evan as a high school senior, Dave competed at the world level. In 1977, he wrestled for the United States in the Tbilisi Tournament in the Soviet Union. Dave won a silver medal at the Tbilisi Tournament, considered by many at the time to be the most challenging tournament in the world. In fact, some considered it to be tougher than the world championships or the Olympics. So, what Dave Schultz accomplished at such a young age was quite impressive.

Mark Schultz said of his old brother Dave, "He taught me how to take notes too. Everything he learned, he'd write it down so when I started wrestling I did the same thing and I had my technique notebook."

Mark Schultz too is known for his technique. In the article A Conversation with Mark Schultz, Marksays, "Anytime I learned anything, I'd write it down. I made my technique notebook and I divided my techniques by tie up. I'd make a page like front head lock on the top of the page and write down all of the different technique I could finish with. I'd have all the counters to the front headlock on the back page. I'd have another page and write high crotch and write all of the finishes from there, lift, trip, spin, go behind, run the pipe, switch to another move, backing down to hip, go out the back door, etc."

John Smith, four time world champion and two time Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling, is known for his technique perhaps more than any other American wrestler. In his article Smith's Six Titles Only Matched by His Perspective, Kyle Klingman writes, "Drilling was the backbone of Smith's training regimen. Smith would drill techniques over and over and over again. The key was repetition."

Klingman concludes, "Wrestling was a year-round process for Smith. After the World Championships he would take a week off and then start training again. Up until January, it was a combination of drilling and body-weight exercises for about one hour a day. But once January came around, the pace picked up...and Smith kicked it into high gear."

Are you willing to drill a move 40 or 50 times a day?

Martial arts instructor and personal trainer Brian Copeland writes, "Researchers have discovered that the elite athletes of the world regardless of the sport have accumulated over 100,000 - 300,000 perfect reps over the course of their lives. This is also known as the 10,000 hour rule, the best have put over 10,000 hours of perfect practice in."

Universities/World Champions/Olympians

In his article Strength and Conditioning for Wrestling, John Stucky (1988) discusses the Oklahoma State University wrestling strength and conditioning program. He writes, "At Oklahoma State University, our goal is to help each athlete be stronger and in better shape than any opponent they will face. The accomplishment of such a task will develop more physical and more confident individuals, which will subsequently yield wrestling champions."

In the article, he discusses the importance of training the ATP-PC and lactic acid energy system as well as the effectiveness of interval training.

Most of the universities known for their wrestling programs divide the training year into phases such as pre-season, in-season, tournament time, post-season, etc. Most programs have a wrestler lifting weights year round. Often, the wrestler moves from focusing on absolute strength developed by lifting heavy weights with low reps to focusing on power and explosiveness and endurance. Often circuit training is employed as well at some point in the training year.

At the 2011 FILA Wrestling World Championships, Russia won the men's freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling team titles. One may wonder what makes the Russians such great wrestlers. No one knows for sure.

Zach Even-Esh said in an interview, "I was talking about this with a former champion wrestler, coach and current Division 1 head strength coach, Ethan Reeve - he had investigated the same question, but, he went straight to the source and got a hold of world champion wrestlers from Russia. A huge part of their training was drilling, but this drilling was super intense and looked like an actual match, done at very high intensity."

Olympic and world champion wrestler Sergei Beloglazov is considered perhaps the best technician the sport of wrestling has ever seen. He states, "I don't believe in talent. I believe in a coaching program, attitude, and commitment. That is important in any sport, especially in wrestling. It takes a long time."


  • Periodization is essentially just planning your training. Even if you use a conventional linear model - hypertrophy phase, strength phase, power phase, longer runs in the off season and then sprints during the season - well, you could do worse. Periodization can be beneficial. It doesn't have to be complicated. You could simply divide the year into pre-season, in-season, and off-season. Maybe you want to work on your strength over the summer. Perhaps you're already strong and want to place more emphasis on your conditioning by doing circuits. The point is to have some sort of plan. In his book Wrestling Physical Conditioning Encyclopedia, John Jesse emphasizes the importance training year round. You can take a break from wrestling after the season, but don't take a very long break from your strength and conditioning. You want to come back a little stronger and better than the year before.
  • Always remember that wrestling is an anerobic sport. You're not training for a marathon. Train accordingly.
  • Remember the importance of work capacity. Build a bigger gas tank.
  • Most conditioning specialists believe that long cardio sessions (e.g. going on long runs) is not beneficial for a combat athlete and may even be detrimental. On the other hand, some claim it's good to build an aerobic base and that running at lower intensities for longer distances can aid in recovery. Going on some longer runs isn't going to harm you. Dan Gable ran a lot and it didn't hurt him. Of course, he also did sprints, strength training, and a lot of wrestling. Just don't overdo the long running sessions. As I stated earlier, you're not training for a marathon. You're a wrestler.
  • Interval training and sprints can be an important component in a wrestler's conditioning. But, don't overdo it. Intervals and sprints can be taxing. If you're already doing a lot of anaerobic skills training (e.g. drilling and wrestling in practice) than adding too much extra anaerobic work (e.g. sprints) could lead to overtraining.
  • Strength is extremely important. Lift heavy weights for low reps at least part of the year. It's possible to gain strength without gaining too much mass. Circuit training can be great for a wrestler. However, circuits don't do a wrestler much good if he isn't fairly strong to begin with. He'll simply create a lot of fatigue and still be weak. So, do basic heavy lifting and use circuits sparingly.
  • Technique is probably the most important factor in wrestling. You can be very strong and well conditioned, but if have poor skills you are going to get beat a lot. Make sure you are practicing proper technique. Watch videos if you have to. A stand up is simple, right? But, do you really know how to do a proper stand up? How many ways can you set up and finish a single leg? Do you have a technique book like Mark Schultz? Will you drill as much as Olympian John Smith

This has gotten to be a long article. Let me leave you with a couple of quotes.

Strength and conditioning specialist Martin Rooney describes the best way for a combat athlete to train. He states, "Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, power cleans; the basics, combined with some sprinting and some stretching. It may not be glamorous, but it makes you stronger and faster."

Alexander Karelin was a nine time world champion and three time Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling. Some accuse Karelin of using performance enhancing drugs. He replied by stating, "The people who accuse me are those who have never trained once in their life like I train every day of my life. The real drug is to train like a madman, really like a madman."