A Luchador’s Workout II: Increasing Intensity, Pushing Performance

The basic abilities required of professional wrestlers are somewhat narrow in scope. Such abilities, however, can only get one so far in lucha libre, and therefore it’s important–like most other sports–to augment one’s training in order to maximize abilities and minimize the risk of injury for both yourself and your opponent. Lucha libre specifically requires an additional set of skills that moves beyond the basic “lifting and bumping” of professional wrestling, and instead requires a great deal of core strength, agility, light-footedness, and aerial awareness. Accordingly I supplement my three weekly days of in-ring training with a fairly rigorous regimen which emphasizes strength, agility, plyometrics, interval, vertical jump training, and–because professional wrestling is part theatre–beauty muscle isolations.

I make a point to change my workout every 3-4 months, but I generally build my regimen upon a standard “push/pull/squat/bend” methodology. I focus on major muscle groups, core strength and stability, as well as speed. I no longer pursue aerial awareness training or tumbling outside of the lucha libre gym, except for when I am working on any new movements that are best practiced alone.  It should also be noted that I do not work until failure, as I cannot afford to be too weak to work in the ring, which could be dangerous for myself and whomever I am working with. However during certain times, such as holidays when the Lucha Volcánica gym is closed, or while I am traveling and not training regularly, I will lift until failure.

“I practice active rest–for example, while my shoulders and chest are resting, I work my core muscles or the fast-twitch muscles in my legs. While the latter and the former are recovering, I can continue working my chest and shoulders.”

I have listed the details of the workout, as well as a key, to illustrate how the workout is normally structured. As I mentioned in my previous workout post, I practice active rest–for example, while my shoulders and chest are resting, I work my core muscles or the fast-twitch muscles in my legs. While the latter and the former are recovering, I can continue working my chest and shoulders. For more details of what “in-ring” training consists of, check out my previous blog post about lucha libre training in Mexico, and take a look at the short promo video for the Lucha Volcánica School of Lucha Libre.

An overview of my training regimen is as follows:

  • Warmup
  • First lifting set
  • Core exercise
  • Agility exercise or box jumps
  • Second lifting set

…and so on. My lifting routine always concludes with cardio, and then stretching down for 15-20 minutes or as time allows.

Cardio on Monday and Wednesday:

  • 5 minute warm up jog or row machine (Before initial workout)
  • 15 minutes of interval sprints: 1 minute at 9.5mph, followed by 2 minutes at 5.5mph.
  • 5 minute cool down at 3-4mph.

On Monday & Wednesday I do an agility & jumping routine to maintain my vertical leap:

  • Box jumps: 1×10 warmup, 2×5 at maximum height
  • Agility ladder: 2 different exercises x 2 sets of each

I do core exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I vary the type of training:

  • Monday: weight resistance training
  • Wednesday: high repetition, no weight. I specifically isolate the lower back on Wednesday as well.
  • Friday: Core balance exercises (i.e., various types of planks)

Monday:

  • DB Press: 10, 6, 6, 6, 10
  • Handstand pushups: 4×8
  • Ring dips: 4×8
  • Triceps extension: 3×8
  • Machine flies: 3×8, 1×15
  • Deltoid adductors: 3×8
  • Deltoid front raises: 3×8

Tuesday:

  • In-ring training, 90-120 minutes.

Wednesday:

  • Machine rows: 10, 6, 6, 6, 10
  • Ring pull-ups: 10, 6*, 6*, 6*, 10
  • Row & twist: 8, 8, 8, 8
  • Shrugs: 3×8
  • Machine bicep curls: 3×8
  • Hammer curls: 3×8
  • Deltoid reverse fly: 3×8
  • Deltoid lateral raises: 3×8

*=Weighted pull-ups

Thursday:

  • In-ring training, 90-120 minutes.

Friday:

  • 5 minute warmup jog
  • Deadlift: 10, 6, 6, 6, 10
  • Jumping squats: 3×8
  • Hamstring curls: 3×8
  • Quadricep raises: 3×8
  • Thigh adductors: 3×8
  • Calf raises: 3×8
  • Swimming: 20-30 minutes

Saturday morning:

In-ring training, 90-120 minutes.

Sunday:

Absolutely nothing, as rest is just as important as work.

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