By Robbie E – There are millions of wrestling fans around the world who appreciate what we do as the cerebral/athletic art form that it is, but let’s face it, there are still millions of people out there who think that pro wrestlers are knuckle dragging Neanderthals who eat raw meat for every meal and bench press four hours a day. I may act like an idiot on television (although a very entertaining & hilarious idiot), but I actually have a degree from Kean University in Health & Physical Education, not to mention being a multiple-time champion in TNA IMPACT Wrestling (Friday’s 9PM EST on Destination America) and literally racing around the world with the “Amazing Race” on CBS. You don’t achieve these things without strength, flexability, functionality and looking DAMN GOOD while doing it. 😉
Professional wrestlers are required to be in tremendous physical condition for a myriad of reasons. They must perform in front of a television cameras and live audience, travel thousands of miles a year and slamming and getting slammed by your opponent without hopefully sustaining a serious injury. Just this past year, I started my very own fitness regimen called “RobbieEFitness” (a very clever and catch title I know).
RobbieEFitness combines the strength training, functional training and cardio vascular workouts that I need to: 1. Look good in the ring and on TV (which is OBVIOUSLY most important!) 2. Refrain from serious injury and 3. Perform and take care of my opponent in the ring.
Listed below are the top 10 exercises that I implemented into RobbieEFitness and for optimum performance for my career as a professional wrestler. Oh, and I never start ANY workout without taking an amazing selfie for my Instagram @RobbieEImpact
or without drinking a delicious sugar free VegasFuel Energy Drink from RiteAid & GNC nationwide! BOOM!
RobbieEFitness – Top 10 Exercises for a Professional Wrestler
1. Heavy Squats
*Squats are one of the most important exercises and serve as the foundation of leg and core strength. Squats are important to be able to lift your opponent off the ring mat just before I deliver my devastating finishing maneuver. After 3-5 sets of heavy squats, I like to work in a functional variation..
*Squat to Dumbbell Press – Lifting your opponent on back to deliver devastating finishing maneuver.
Explanation: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, holding the weights at chest level. Squat as low as you can. Come up and press the weights overhead.
2. Plank with Dumbbell Row
These exercises are great for adding some lean mass to your back, while integrating your core, and we all want chiseled abs
! As a professional wrestler, core strength is extremely important when working to lift or be lifted by an opponent.
Explanation: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and get into push-up position. Keeping your body straight, shift your weight to one side and row the opposite arm’s dumbbell to your side. Repeat on the other arm.
3. Push-ups/Spider Push-ups
We all know how to do a basic push-up, and as a wrestler it is necessary to be able to control and manipulate your own body weight. As a functional variation to a standard push-up, I like to incorporate “Spider Push-ups.”
Explanation: Start in a basic push-up position, as downward/negative motion begins lean your weight slightly to one side while lifting your knee from the same side as close to your elbow as possible, while attempting to keep your moving leg parallel to the floor. This is a great way to integrate your core into your chest workout, plus lifting one leg will help your chest experience more time under tension (T.U.T.)
4. Pull-ups/One Arm Dominant Pull Ups
You never know when someone is going to throw your ass out of the ring, right? Pull-ups are another great way to strengthen the upper body by manipulating your own body weight, perfect for when I need to pull myself back over the top rope and into the ring. Once you master a regular pull-up, try a “One Arm Dominant” pull-up by simply pulling about 80% of your body weight to one side during the pull-up motion, returning to starting position and repeating on the opposite side.
5. Body Weight Mid-Rows
These is probably my favorite exercise. You will really add some thickness and wideness to your back, which makes for a great aesthetic
look when you come out from behind the curtain and make your way down the entrance ramp! Ok, so maybe you don’t do that in your real life, but adding lean mass to your lats/back
makes your waist look slimmer and overall physique more impressive! Additional thickness in your back also helps with injury prevention and softening the toll of being repeatedly being slammed into the ring mat.
Explanation: Lie underneath a bar set at about waist height and grab it with an overhand grip, outside shoulder width. Allow your body to hang beneath it. Now pull up to the bar.
6. Dead Lifts
Adding overall functional mass to the body, dead lifts work over 70% of overall musculature and hit almost every major muscle group. Perfect for picking up your opponent in the ring or efficiently working your entire body in the gym.
7. Dumbbell Reverse Chops
This exercises is similar to the movement that takes place during an “Irish Whip” or when throwing your opponent off the ropes or into the turnbuckle. It’s important to have a strong/functional core that works in unison with your arms and shoulders.
Explanation: Dumbbell Reverse Chop Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder width and hold a dumbbell in both hands by your left hip. Keeping your torso square with your hips, raise the dumbbell diagonally upward to near your head (a reverse woodchopping motion). Perform five reps on each side and repeat.
8. Military Press
Very important as a fundamental exercises for adding mass to the shoulders and arms and also important for building strength to lift your opponent overhead.
9. Dips/Weighted Dips
Important for building strong/functional chest, shoulders and triceps and being able to manipulate body weight.
10. Turkish Get-ups
These functional exercises have a vast array of benefits. They can be very complicated to execute properly, so go slow until you have it mastered!
- Single leg hip stability during the initial roll to press and during the bridge.
- Both closed and open chain shoulder stability.
- Shoulder mobility.
- Thoracic extension and rotation.
- Hip and leg mobility and active flexibility.
- Stability in two different leg patterns – lunge stance as well as squat stance.
- Both rotary and linear stability.
- The ability to link movement created in our extremities to the rest of our body.
- Place right foot on floor, angled outward, close to right hip.
- At the same time, reach across with left arm and grasp under thumb side of right hand.
- Pull kettlebell off floor and press over right shoulder until arm is straight.
- Place left arm back to original position.
- Raise right shoulder off of floor by rolling onto left elbow.
- Sit up while pushing off on floor with left arm until arm is straight.
- Reposition right foot on floor while keeping knee completely bent.
- Lift hip off of floor and pull left leg under body.
- Position forefoot and knee on floor behind right foot and left hand.
- Position torso upright.
- Reposition legs in lunging position.
- Stand up by extending legs and placing rear leg next to forward leg.
- Step back with left leg and kneel down in reverse motion.
- Windshield wiper rear lower leg inward to reposition forefoot on floor behind opposite hip.
- Lean to left side and place left hand on floor.
- Shift weight onto left arm.
- Pull left leg forward between right leg and left arm.
- Extend left leg outward onto floor while sitting on left hip, close to right foot, with right leg bent upward.
- Extend right leg outward onto floor
- Gently lie down rolling onto back.
- Position left arm to original position, out to side.
- Return kettlebell to side of shoulder with optional assistance from left hand.
- Lie remaining right leg on floor in original position.
Repeat with opposite side.
So there you have the top-10 exercises that every professional wrestler and aspiring professional wrestler should be adding into their workout routine. I perform these exercises every week to help me LOOK GOOD, feel good and kick ass in the ring…did I mention LOOK GOOD? So if you don’t want to be put down for the count, I suggest you do the same!
NOTE: *The “BENEFITS” and “EXPLANATION” for TURKISH GET-UPS are NOT my words, but I don’t know any better way to explain what it is or how to do it. I just know that they work AWESOME and help with overall strength, flexibility and functionality.
Photos courtesy of Robbie E