Q&A: Strength training vs. conditioning

During the season, I have 2 days scheduled in the weight room.  For the time in the wrestling room, should I not have them do any sandbag work?  Should it all be "conditioning"?  What's the difference between strength training and conditioning??

I'll start by answering the last question and then work my way backwards - What's the difference between strength training and conditioning?

The simple answer is that pretty much everything can be considered conditioning (even strength training). It all depends on how you are combining the movements and planning the work to rest ratios.

Specifically for wrestling (and all of the combat sports) I would absolutely suggest utilizing the sandbags along with body weight resistance. After all, the conditioning required for wrestling deals completely with one wrestler being able to manipulate another wrestler's body weight during a specific time frame. So, focusing 1 or 2 days a week (of the three set aside for conditioning) on weighted conditioning series/circuits would be completely appropriate.

Here is a sample 3-min circuit:

1. Sandbag Zercher Squat x :25 (:05 given as rest/exercise transition time)

2. Up/Down to Broad Jump x :25 (:05 rest)

3. Sandbag Overhead Carry x :55 (:05 rest)

4. Jump Pullups x :25 (:05 rest)

5. Tiger Crawl x :30

Repeat 2-5 times.

Another tip I can offer when planning your team's conditioning: look specifically to the nature of the sport FIRST and then design specific training around the work to rest ratios that naturally occur in the sport. As an example, when I've trained fighters in the past, I have used isometric holds (like the bottom of a pushup) as "rest." But, it's important to note that you have to lead your athletes to this level first! Rest can occur as literally rest OR it can occur with other movements that are easier than the main movements and thus allow the athlete to recover before the next intense bout.

Hope this helps a little bit!