There are countless reasons for wrestlers and MMA fighters to strength train: building strong muscles, increasing dynamic power to help performance in addition to injury prevention, improved long term health and disease prevention. Then there is the enhanced mental health of feeling like a badass when you’re physically dominating another athlete. Just saying.
Another big benefit to strength training is that it can increase your metabolism. This makes cutting weight easier during the season and helps maintain weight out of season.
When wrestlers say they want to increase their metabolism, they usually mean they want to burn calories to lose weight. Just having more muscle on your body will cause you to burn more calories during workouts.
But how much does your metabolism increase with strength training? The answer depends on many different factors.
Your basal metabolic rate, the calories you burn just to live is determined and influenced by your sex, age and genetics. Generally speaking people who are taller and have a larger bone structure, therefore, will have a higher BMR (basal metabolic rate) than people who are shorter and have a slimmer build.
Wrestlers and fighters can’t just mindlessly add muscle mass to increase metabolism or they might not make weight. So it’s a balance.
After a strength-training session, your metabolism stays elevated through a process called excess post exercise oxygen consumption for a longer period than doing a cardio workout. If you do the workout in a fasted state and stay that way after the workout for an hour your body goes after any fat reserves that you might have. The more intense your strength training time the greater the increase in metabolism and the after effect. Changing your workout up ensures that your body reaps the benefits of the strength training.
The best way to get the biggest metabolic boost is to perform compound movements, lift heavy and with intensity. Get cardio from lifting. Strength training will give you an edge maintaining or cutting weight.
Post wrestling and fighting career:
Retired athletes remember that we lose muscle mass as we age so strength training is important for maintaining mass and a healthy metabolism. Strength helps keep us healthy and injury resistant for the rest of our lives. Get busy.