Physical Fitness – What Is The Optimal Approach? Damian Slater


By Damian Slater

What is the best way to train outside of the ring as a Pro Wrestler? Hypertrophy/bodybuilding-style? Powerlifting? CrossFit? DDP Yoga? All of the above? What if you, the reader, has no interest in becoming a Pro Wrestler. Does the answer change? Let me break it down as simply as I possibly can…

First Priority = Whichever way you can train the most consistently.
Second Priority = It depends on your goals.

There is no point lifting like a powerlifter if you’re going to skip every second workout, and put little energy into the ones you actually attend. If running a generic 5-day-per-week bro-split you read on Muscle & Fitness is something that gets you to the gym and working hard consistently, then go for it. Is it optimal? No. But it’s absolutely better than the alternative of doing nothing at all.

Secondly, outline your goals. Most Pro Wrestlers tend to lift for hypertrophy (i.e. 6-15 reps, high volume, progressive overload, etc. etc.) because they want to look as aesthetic as possible and that’s the most scientifically optimal way to do it. Does it assist athletic performance to the same degree as other styles of training? Nope, which is why most professional athletes in 2023 don’t train as a bodybuilder would. But if your priority is ‘aesthetics first, performance second’ and you enjoy doing it, then you’ve just backed a winner!

Truth be told, Pro Wrestling is that special blend of performance and athleticism that no other industry or sporting-endeavour really covers. The literature is non-existent. Your best approach is to educate yourself as best you can across all styles of training, remain open-minded and find what works best for you and your goals. If you want to follow someone online who does give you a well-rounded, simplified, no BS education in this realm… check out Mike Israetel and his Renaissance Periodization YouTube channel. The man is a Brown Belt in BJJ, former Bodybuilder and holds a Ph.D in Sport Physiology. Everything he says is science backed (unlike a large majority of YouTube/Instagram fitness content) and his content, while being predominantly aesthetic focused, is quite well-rounded for a variety of goals.

On that note, I have something really unique and exciting in the works for current and aspiring Pro Wrestlers. November 1st I am launching the new online learning platform. This will be a community for current and aspiring Pro Wrestlers that will act as a constant source of education, collaboration and exclusive content to help you level up in the game!

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