Peaking

I had somebody email to ask me what my thoughts are on peaking for the end of the year, so I thought that if I answered them, I might as well post it for everyone. Peaking is a tricky thing. Too little training and you have not achieved your physical capacity. Too much training leads to overtraining. I really believe the body is capable of doing amazing feats of endurance and strength, so I believe that overtraining isn't necessarily because your body did too much, but it is a result of under-resting. I kind of stole this philosophy from working with Kerry McCoy, and the result of these thoughts were that you have to organize your year/months/weeks/days so that you maximize both work and recovery. I hope that makes sense. I will skip all the periodization in training where you cycle in a long-term frame of time through high and low intensity workouts, until we get to the month before you want to peak.

By this time you should have a very solid conditioning base, and your body should be able to work hard and recover from the workouts. Even a tough workout shouldn't wreck your body for the rest of the week. It is important to be able to stack tough workouts together, especially when your competition schedule only allows you to get a couple days of hard training per week. At this point, we don't do a lot of teaching, but we do a lot of repetition drilling at a high intensity. You should know the techniques by now and be able to execute them quickly and hard, ESPECIALLY when you are tired. One of my favorite things to do is after live wrestling when they are exhausted, to have our guys do drilling (something my coaches in Vancouver did a lot of in prepping for the Olympics). You have to force yourself to stay sharp when you are tired, because often at the end of a match when you need to score is the most important time to have solid technique. A lot of the time, when kids get fatigued, their technique gets sloppy and training the body when it is tired is a way of helping.

As far as the live wrestling, I like mixing it up between longer and shorter goes, but lean more towards shorter goes that are high intensity. Stuff that is 30 seconds to 2 minutes in duration and makes them wrestle hard (make them down by a point and have to score, pushups if you don't, etc.). That will usually get them to scrap. I already did a post a couple months ago on conditioning, and we finish up practice with conditioning. One thing that makes them mentally tough is to throw in some overtimes, or multiple overtimes, or something that really makes you grit your teeth and go hard. It is mentally challenging when the first person that scores 2-4 takedowns wins, or first person to score 3 takedowns in a row wins, something that is an undefined amount of time. Hopefully you have guys that don't back down. I would have a couple really brutal days and then a lighter day in a week and most teams will have to do something a little light if they have a competition mid-week. You don't want to kill guys the day before a match, so those are good teaching days if you have to.

The week before competition is when I like to start my taper. The drilling becomes really important, because I like to maintain my conditioning with high intensity drilling because that gets your heart rate up if you do it properly, and then for live do a match simulations (a match with a partner). At that point, I don't do a lot of live wrestling, so my body doesn't wear down as much. The last few days would be maybe 40 minutes of drilling followed by one match to get that live feel, so it is only a little over an hour workout with warm-up and cool down. One thing is to not be afraid to go hard when you are supposed to. If you are cutting back on the volume, it is good to go hard in your practice because your body should be recovering a lot more because you aren't training as much.

It is hard to deal with specifics when it comes to peaking, but I hope these suggestions help. If you have any questions about a program in particular, let me know,

Matt

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