Do You Need to Be Fit to Start Wrestling?

For those thinking about getting started in wrestling, it might not be clear if you need to get in shape before you show up in the wrestling room. Anybody who has looked into wrestling understands that it takes good conditioning to be a high-level wrestler, but what comes first?

Being fit is not a requirement to start wrestling. Wrestling is one of the most intense and exhausting martial arts, but there is no hard barrier to entry to getting started in your wrestling career. If you start wrestling you will definitely get stronger and more fit.

Now that we know that you can start wrestling even if you are not yet fit, let’s take a look at some other factors in play for starting wrestling.

Am I Too Old to Start Wrestling

With a high effort and focus, you can become a good wrestler in a rather short period of time regardless of age. Students can close the gap with their peers after 1 or 2 seasons, and adults picking up wrestling can absorb aspects of it to integrate into their other training within a few hundred hours.

Wrestling is harder to pick up as an adult, but it is still doable to learn wrestling no matter what your age is due to the prevalence of hobby-level and amateur MMA and BJJ that includes learning and practicing wrestling techniques.

Do You Need to Be Strong for Wrestling?

Being strong is an important aspect of wrestling. It isn’t a requirement to get started, but if you want to be able to perform well in wrestling or in MMA grappling you are going to need to put on a decent amount of strength.

Adding in functional stretch training and explosiveness is a given for anybody who wants to have a strong wrestling game, so following a strength-building routine is a must.

Do You Need to Be Flexible for Wrestling?

Flexibility is certainly helpful for wrestling, but is not a requirement, especially in the beginning. A wrestler that is flexible will have certain advantages, but explosiveness and power alongside solid technique will do more for a wrestler than flexibility might.

How Hard is Wrestling to Learn?

Learning the fundamental skills of wrestling does not take a huge amount of time to learn, but being able to perform them at a high level with intensity and explosiveness when you are tired during a wrestling or MMA match is very hard.

How What to Expect in Your First Wrestling Session

An adult picking up wrestling for the first time is likely to do it in the context of MMA grappling or BJJ grappling classes. In these classes, you will usually do a warm-up into the drilling of takedown, progressing into sparring. Scholastic wrestlers will do something similar but more grueling.

What to Wear to Your First Wrestling Session

Speak to the school in order to get an idea of what clothing and equipment to bring to your first class. Typically you will only be expected to bring yourself and wear gym clothes. If you have workout clothing that does not have pockets that is better since then nothing can get caught in pockets.

For more details and guidance on what to wear during wrestling practices after your first class check out What Should I Wear to Wrestling Practice?

Final Thoughts

Wrestling is probably one of the physically hardest sports to do at a high level. BJJ schools and MMA gyms have opened up the possibility for adults to pick up training in the sport after high school and college in a way that used to be very rare.

Wrestling does need you to become fit in order to do well but does not require you to be fit to get started. I won’t pretend that wrestling while you are out of shape is always going to be fun, it was not that fun for me until I eventually adapted and got into better shape.

There really is not anything better for getting into shape than wrestling practices and wrestling-styled conditioning.

For more check out How Often Should You Train Wrestling?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

Recent Posts