Weight Lifting For Grapplers: 6 Exercises To Try Today


Everyone wishes to be a champion but we are often faced with uncertainty on how to get there. Through technical repetition and physical exertion, we push ourselves in the gym to become better in our own respective sports. 

It has become widely accepted at this point that the weight-room is a very important piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting to the next level. Here in this blog,  we want to explore some creative ways to train your body in the weight room that directly plays into your game.


For example, when it comes to everyday life and grappling, we use our entire body to get things done. Grappling is filled with many dynamic and powerful movements that require our whole body to work together. For the sake of simplicity, we want to focus on the two major aspects that we do in grappling: Pushing and Pulling.

When pushing or pulling, we are either using our Posterior Oblique System (POS) or Anterior Oblique System (AOS). Think of the POS as your back and glutes and the AOS as your core and hip-flexors. These systems are consistently in use while grappling.

Given this information, we would want to train our body to be as efficient as possible and maximize the power we generate when we want to apply our techniques.


Posterior Oblique System (3 Exercises)


Posterior Oblique System


Looking at the diagram above, we can see that this kinetic chain works cross-body. Starting with your upper "lat" (lattisimus dorsi) and moves diagonally towards the opposite side "glute" (gluteus maximus). You have cross-body connections on both sides. Now that we understand the basics of what the POS is, lets dig in to how we can train this kinetic chain and maximize our pulling power.

1. Lunge & Row


Lunge and Row


The lunge & row combines the lunge and a one-arm row into one exercise.

Hybrid lunges are an excellent way to develop total body strength and power. A high demand is placed on the core to stabilize the movement and transfer the power generated by the lower body to the upper body.

The lunge & row trains the cross-body connection, that transmits forces from the ground through the leg and hip, across the SI-joint via the thoracodorsal fascia, into the opposite lattisimus dorsi.

2. Squat & Pull


Squat and Pull


This is a compound exercise that combines the squat with a one-arm row. compound exercises emphasize the torso; there the force and power generated by the legs are transferred to the upper body.

This exercise adds a horizontal vector to the squat, giving it a multi-planar loading. In most team sports it is important to keep balance in the athletic position while making contact with the opponent. Therefore this multi-planar loading of the squat promotes specific balance.

3. Single-leg Romanian Deadlift


Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift


The single-leg Romanian deadlift strengthens the posterior chain. The gluteus muscles, hamstrings and adductor magnus are strengthened dynamically while synergistically working together to extend the hips. The lower back extensors function as stabilisers and are strengthened isometrically.

The single-leg Romanian deadlift row trains the cross-body connection, that transmits forces from the ground through the leg and hip, across the SI-joint via the thoracodorsal fascia, into the opposite lattisimus dorsi.

Anterior Oblique System (3 Exercises)




The AOS starts with the upper pectoral muscles and diagonally crosses through your obliques, psoas, and hip-flexors. The AOS is key in your bodies ability to push objects.

1. Plyometric Push-up


Plyometric Push-up


This is an explosive push-up to enhance upper body power.

Athletes with adequate strength levels show poor improvement in power output as a response to traditional weight training. Specific exercises, that allow the athlete to explode through the entire movement, are needed to further enhance the explosive power performance.

2. Standing One-leg Chest Press


Standing One-leg Chest Press


The one-leg chest press is an intermediate exercise that targets the muscles of the chest, shoulders, arms and core. The one-leg stance emphasizes single-leg stability and balance.

3. Plank with Leg Lift


Plank with leg lift


The plank with leg lift improves core stability and strength. Compared to the basic plank, lifting the leg off the floor adds rotational instability.


Hopefully, we have shown you the importance of the weight room for grapplers. Pushing and pulling are both fundamental aspects of grappling, and the weight room allows us to hone those skills outside the gym. By integrating these types of exercises into your routine, you can keep the weight room from becoming stale and repetitive. Elite level grapplers around the world are utilizing the weight room to stay at the top of their game. How are you using the weight room to improve?

Let us know below!

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Photo credits for exercise images: http://functionalresistancetraining.com

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