Stiff vs. Loose
Wrestlers use different strategies to win. Some are loose and get into crazy positions, while others are stiff and hold great position. Most are somewhere in-between.
The best can do both.
Depending on the situation they are loose and flexible or they are stiff and strong.
Training should be about filling in the gaps. If an athlete is loose, they probably have a tougher time being stiff and vice versa. That’s the first thing to figure out.
Loose athletes can usually touch their elbow to their ear, bring their knee to their chest, and are good at sets with a lot of reps. They have good flexibility and not a whole lot of muscle mass. Usually, these athletes are younger, at lighter weight classes, and have little weight room experience.
Get these guys stronger by mashing heavy weights. Put barbells in their hands and have them hop from machine to machine. Lift weights, get stronger, gain muscle. Power work can be with longer rests, harder starts, and lower reps for maximum power.
Stiff athletes don’t move too well. They feel stuck when testing flexibility and just feel tight all the time. But since they are little more “stuck” they hold position very well and are probably more stable. These tend to be the short, stocky with no necks and those who live in the weight room.
These guys are good at heavy squats and deadlifts. They can stabalize their body and move up and down. Single arm and single leg lifts are more important for these people. High rep sets, large range of motion, relaxed posture… these will feel awkward for a reason. Power work should be repetitive just working on building the “springs” and being “bouncy”.
Everybody is somewhere in-between. Have a balanced training plan with one-side favored over the other. Push stiffness in some parts of the year to develop muscle and strength and be loose at other times to keep movement quality high and feel good.