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Monona Grove / McFarland

Monona Grove / McFarland

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Dec, 2023

The 50 Push-Up Club

It might feel like an SNL parody to some. Surely, we can't be dedicating a portion of our 75-minute practice to just honoring those who have done push-ups? There has to be a better use of our time, right?

There is actually loads of thought that went into The 50 Push-Up Club, and very little of the reason is to pump your little Silver Spartan up!

Let's start with the number. 50. It's high enough that no wrestler in that room can do 50 straight. None can probably do 25, if we're being honest. Not with good form, anyway.

What that means is that several times over the course of their 50 cumulative push-ups, they'll reach the point. It's the one where maybe they can and maybe they can't do one more push-up. They'll struggle. They'll shake. They'll give max effort. Progress is gradual. 

That struggle, that is wrestling. At its core, wrestling is just situation after situation, where you exert maximum effort, against an opposing force, which you may or may not be able to overcome. By repeatedly putting yourself in that situation doing push-ups, your body trains it self to regularly run the needle into the red.

The gains in that area aren't just physical either. It isn't just training your muscles to give maximum effort. It's also the mental side of things. 

For many youth wrestlers, giving that effort is not intuitive. In fact, their instincts say to do the exact opposite. When they meet an opposing force, they stop pushing, stop pulling, stop lifting, or stop driving. By repeatedly instilling in our wrestlers they can do it (push-ups, stand-ups, whatever) if they give it everything they've got, effort becomes second nature.

There are two other ancillary benefits to the 50 push-ups. 

One is the strength. Without testosterone coursing through their veins, like high schoolers have, these kids are not going to put on any noticeable muscle mass. There are still strength gains though. The evidence is how much easier the push-ups get over time! Even though those gains might be slight, we'll take every edge we can get!

The second is the #1 lesson wrestling teaches... success is in your hands.

The lesson, that if you do your push-ups, you get to stand in the middle of the mat and make the coach do push-ups, while everyone else jogs, is the quintessential one for our sport. It's on you.

There are no magic attributes that make you successful in wrestling. Generally, those who put in the work, both increasing their strength & speed, as well as improving their moves and knowledge of the sport, are the ones that succeed.

And, life isn't much different.

While we understand that 50 push-ups a week aren't going to turn our Silver Spartans into Hans and Franz, we expect them to learn that hard work is rewarded, and to make giving their max effort, effortless!

So, Silver Spartans, push the earth 50 times, with good form (body straight, bending at the elbow, nose to the floor, with no head bobs or air humps), and Coach Luke will meet you in the center of the mat!
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