Are Calisthenics Good For Wrestling?

Calisthenics, a form of bodyweight exercise, has gained popularity for its functional strength and agility benefits.

And since wrestling requires strong muscles and quick bodyweight movements, it’s natural to assume that performing calisthenics can help you build a solid wrestling foundation. But is there any merit to this assumption?

Let’s find out if doing calisthenics can make wrestlers better at what they do. We’ll look at how these body weight exercises can make muscles stronger, improve flexibility, and help with balance. By understanding these benefits, we’ll see if wrestlers should train using calisthenics every week.

How Calisthenics Benefit Wrestling

Calisthenics can offer several advantages to wrestlers looking to enhance their performance on the wrestling mat without lifting weights. These bodyweight exercises focus on improving strength, flexibility, and overall body control – qualities that align well with the demands of a wrestling gym.

Let’s explore these benefits in detail before you start training for your next wrestling bout.

1. Functional Strength

Calisthenics emphasises using your own bodyweight to build strength, which closely mimics the movements encountered in wrestling. Handstand push-ups, normal push-ups, pull-ups, squats, bench press, and lunges engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, fostering balanced strength training. 

This functional strength translates to better grappling and takedown techniques, enabling wrestlers to effectively manoeuvre opponents during matches.

2. Explosiveness

Athletes and wrestlers need explosive bursts of energy for takedowns and escapes. Calisthenics routines that incorporate plyometric exercises like jump squats and burpees can aid in developing explosive power. These movements enhance the ability to generate force quickly, potentially leading to more impactful takedowns and quicker reactions.

3. Core Stability

A strong core is crucial for maintaining balance and executing precise movements in wrestling and martial arts. Calisthenics exercises such as planks, single-leg and double-leg raises, and hanging leg and bicep curls target the core muscles, contributing to better stability during matches. 

Improved core strength can enhance a wrestler’s ability to maintain control and avoid being easily manoeuvred by opponents while they shadow wrestle during practice. A wrestler can build their stability by consulting a strength coach for personalised advice.

4. Flexibility And Agility

Wrestling involves a full range of motion, requiring flexibility and agility. Calisthenics exercises like yoga-inspired poses, dynamic stretches, and mobility drills can help increase flexibility over time. Improved flexibility aids in executing various techniques with greater ease, while enhanced agility allows a wrestler to swiftly adapt to changing situations on the mat.

5. Endurance Training

Calisthenics routines often involve high-repetition sets, which can improve muscular endurance – a critical attribute for many wrestlers engaged in prolonged matches. Endurance gained from calisthenics can lead to sustained performance throughout a match, reducing the likelihood of fatigue-induced mistakes from having to lift more weight.

Best Calisthenics Exercises For Wrestling

When it comes to enhancing wrestling performance through calisthenics, certain exercises stand out for their ability to target the specific physical demands of the sport. Here are some of the best calisthenics exercises that wrestlers can incorporate into their training routines.

1. Push-Ups

Push-ups are a foundational calisthenics exercise that aids upper body strength development. 

The chest muscles contribute to forceful pushes, allowing wrestlers to create space and gain advantageous positions. Strong shoulders provide stability during takedowns, preventing opponents from easily countering manoeuvres. And more advanced manoeuvres like one arm push-ups increase the functional strength even further.

2. Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are a great exercise for enhancing the back, biceps, and grip – all of which are fundamental for wrestling prowess. 

Grip strength is paramount for maintaining a secure grip on opponents’ uniforms, providing stability during intricate manoeuvres and preventing escapes. By mastering pull-ups with a pull-up bar, wrestlers develop the necessary upper body strength to seize control of matches.

3. Dips

Dips are excellent for strengthening the upper body, particularly the arms and chest. This exercise aids in developing the pushing power necessary for manoeuvring opponents during wrestling matches. Wrestlers use parallel bars or stable surfaces to perform dips and gradually increase the intensity as their strength improves.

4. Handstand Push-Ups

Handstand push-ups are a potent exercise for enhancing shoulder and arm strength, critical for executing powerful takedowns in wrestling. This exercise demands both strength and balance, making it valuable for a well-rounded sport regimen for wrestling.

5. Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are a valuable addition to a wrestler’s training, targeting leg strength and balance. These one-leg squats help improve agility and quick movements, which are essential for maintaining a strong position on the mat.

6. Knee Tuck Jumps

Knee tuck jumps are a dynamic exercise that enhances a wrestler’s explosive power, a key attribute in wrestling. Regularly incorporating knee tuck jumps into the workout routine can amplify a wrestler’s agility and speed on the wrestling mat, giving them a competitive edge.

7. Squats

Squats emerge as a key lower body exercise that cultivates the powerhouse muscles crucial for wrestling domination. Targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, pistol squats foster explosive strength in the legs, facilitating lightning-fast takedowns and agile footwork.

8. Planks

Planks can be great as a strengthening exercise, bestowing wrestlers with enhanced stability and unwavering endurance. A resilient core acts as a central anchor during matches, maintaining balance while thwarting opponents’ attempts to disrupt equilibrium.

9. Burpees

Burpees represent a dynamic fusion of strength and cardiovascular conditioning, mirroring the intensity of wrestling bouts. Integrating burpees into body weight training regimens sharpens overall athletic prowess, cultivating robust cardiovascular fitness.


1. Should I do calisthenics for wrestling?

Yes, calisthenics can be beneficial for wrestling. It improves strength, flexibility, and body control, enhancing your wrestling performance. However, complement it with proper wrestling training and techniques for optimal results.

2. Are push-ups good for wrestlers?

Push-ups help build upper body strength, core stability, and endurance, which are important for grappling and maintaining control during matches. Incorporating exercises like push-ups that use your own body weight into a training routine can enhance your overall performance on the mat.

3. What type of training is best for wrestlers?

The best training for wrestlers includes a mix of strength and endurance exercises, technique drills, and sparring sessions. Balanced conditioning and skill development enhance performance in the ring. Regular practice, proper nutrition, and adequate rest are key to success in wrestling.

4. Are calisthenics good for grappling?

Calisthenics improves overall strength, flexibility, and body control, enhancing grappling techniques and endurance. Regular practice can enhance your performance and help prevent injuries during matches, making them highly beneficial for grappling.

Final Words

Calisthenics offer a versatile toolkit for enhancing wrestling performance, meeting the strength, power, stability, flexibility, and endurance demands without having to lift weights.

While beneficial for foundational skills like takedowns and holds, they should complement wrestling training. Calisthenics contribute to overall conditioning, yet nuanced skills and strategy remain vital.

Customisation is key, and guidance from a conditioning coach or personal trainer helps tailor routines. With proper technique and consistency, calisthenics can provide wrestlers with an advantageous edge, but they should be part of a comprehensive training approach.

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