In an effort to continue teaching users on this site Kabaddi, I thought it was fitting of me to provide an off-season work out regiment that would help the new and upcoming players be better at their game. Certainly, I would encourage veteran kabaddi players to do the same. If you are a player that has just finished a kabaddi season, my suggestion is to begin this after an eight week break. I am suggesting this because your body needs recuperation time. However, that does not mean you do nothing. Eat well balanced meals and try to get out for a 2-3 mile run at least every other day. I would also recommend doing push ups and sit ups with a lot of stretching exercises. For those that are lagging in agility and balance, taking up yoga would be beneficial.


Every athlete should do a lot of stretching. Its one of things people forget that actually helps your muscles fully develop and prevents injuries. Do a minimum of 15 minutes of stretching before and after a workout.


Eating well balanced small meals throughout the day are recommended. Make sure you are well hydrated by drinking lots of water- minimum 3 liters a day. I am not a believer in crash diets and/or a very high protein diet- balance is the key. Before your workout eat a good combination of protein and carbs to keep your energy and blood sugar levels up for a hard work out.

Develop your Core:

Your central nervous system is your core. Kabaddi players often neglect this form of training and have difficulty playing for long durations or do not have sustained strength to play match after match. These days, many of them use performance enhancements or illicit drugs to help them get the boost of adrenaline, muscular endurance and stamina to play a whole tournament. If they worked hard on core training exercises like good wrestlers or martial arts athletes do, they would find they do not need drugs to help them play. Ravi Sodhi, Meek, Daniel and Nano Biharipur are good examples of athletes who have great core balance. The core is essentially your midsection- front and back. It is the part of your body that provides balance when you play sports it is also connected to you entire central nervous system from your neck to your feet. The mid section is the core of all strength and power movements, as well as the core muscular connection between your upper and lower body. In addition, these core muscles help provide the balance required to stay on your feet while playing. I will have a section next time on core training principles I shared with the likes of Phindi and Lalli Ranipur as well as Sukhi Lakhan Ke Paddda when I trained them.

Off Season Training Schedule -Weight Training:

Make sure you plan on two hours a day for working out. The workout plan is for five days a week. On one of your rest days do a light 3 mile jog.


Weight Training:

Portion One:

1) 15-20 minutes of complete body stretches no jerking- just clean movements with at least a ten second hold in each stretch position

2) Warm up Push Ups, try three different variations � wide, shoulder width and narrow to get the blood flowing to your muscles

3) Ten minute warm up jog or use a cardio machine- muscles need to have blood and oxygen flowing at an optimum level to prevent injury.

Portion Two

1) Squats (3x10), I do not recommend full squats as it is very stressful on your joints, however, if done with light weights it is possible to do full squats without doing damage to your joints.. Before you begin your three sets make sure you do a warm up set with light weights. Do your movements in a nice slow flowing fashion. For a good workout try this: as you do your squat, do 3 full, 3 half and 3 � followed by 2 full again. You will feel your muscles bulge if done slowly focusing more on the negatives-meaning coming down even slower. For those wishing to do an advance movement, every time you come up push up on the balls of your feet, you will get a nice calf and hamstring stretch.

2) Flat bench (3X12) Remember to begin with a warm up set. Increase resistance with each weight. This is my own variation by the way. Do 3 full, 3 half way down, 3 � down and again 3 full for two sets. On the third set go with 90% of your max lifting weight. So let�s say your max is 225 pound bench, put on one 45 pound plate on each side and add four plates of ten pounds on each side. Have your partner spot you. Now do three reps put up the bar ask your partner to strip of ten pound plates from either side- do another three until you only have the 45 pound plates remaining on the bar. On this last set go down very, very slow and than push up explosively.

3) Dead lifts (3X10) This is a great overall body strength builder. It is also great for building the core muscles that help you keep balance. This might sound funny but kabaddi players with big butts have more success. Look at Gurlal! Dead lifts help to increase your lower body and torso strength significantly. Many people can injure themselves on this exercise that is why you need to do it right. First, with feet flat beneath bar squat down and grasp bar with a shoulder width or slightly wider over hand or mixed grip. Now, lift bar by extending hips and knees to full extension. Pull shoulders back at top of lift if rounded. Return and repeat. In a short period of time, your strength level will increase quickly and you will find yourself lifting a lot heavier weight.

4) Power Cleans (3X10) This is another overall great body strength builder. The movement enables many muscle groups to work simultaneously. The exercise must be done correctly in order to receive the best results. Stand over the barbell with the balls of the feet positioned under the bar slightly wider apart than hip width. Squat down and grip the bar with an over hand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Position the shoulders over the bar with the back arched tightly. Arms are straight with elbows pointed along the bar. Now, pull the bar up off the floor by extending the hips and knees. As the bar reaches the knees vigorously raise the shoulders while keeping the barbell close to the thighs. When the barbell passes mid-thigh, allow it to contact the thighs. Jump upward extending the body. Shrug the shoulders and pull the barbell upward with the arms allowing the elbows to flex out to the sides, keeping the bar close to the body. Aggressively pull the body under the bar, rotating the elbows around the bar. Catch the bar on the shoulders while moving into a squat position. Hitting the bottom of the squat, stand up immediately. Bring down weight to mid thighs by bending knees slightly and keeping back tight as you lower weight to the ground. Repeat again for another rep!

5) Military Press (3X10) You can do this exercise either sitting down, with bar or dumbbells and if you really want to build superior strength and balance do it standing up. This a power shoulder exercise to help you lift up Janjua like Shabha did! Remember to keep strict form and get a complete stretch with a very slow movement on the negatives.

6) Biceps Curls (3x21) For this exercise you will need three different apparatuses close to each other. Get some water in you because this will burn! Do 7 reps of either a bar with about 80% of your max lifting weight (if You can curl 100 pounds get an 80 pound bar- use the same concept for dumbbells). Stand against a wall, knees slightly bent. Make sure your elbows are against the wall and throughout the movement do not leave the wall. Now, with the bar at mid thigh level and arms fully extended, proceed to lift the bar concentrating on your biceps. As you slowly curl the bar up, squeeze your bicep muscle for two seconds at the top and bring down slowly in strict form. Repeat for six more reps. Now, quickly get ready to do full stretch pull ups � seven of them. Make sure your partner does not allow you to curl up your knees to your stomach, keep legs straight under you. Pull up and hold at top for two seconds, come down slowly for a complete stretch- repeat for six more reps. Now quickly lay down flat on your back. Grasp a rubber band, with hands about five inches apart from each other. Make sure your elbows are firmly planted on the ground. Your partner will pull on the ends of the rubber band near your feet for resistance. Now pull up the rubber band in a curl movement from your mid thighs up to your shoulders. Slowly come down for a strict negative. Repeat for six more reps. You should be burning by now!

7) Triceps (3X21) This one will burn too. It is basically the same principle as the bicep curls. The arms have basically three dimensional muscles on the back of it. The goal is to hit all three dimensions through the various exercise. Each set should be done in quick succession. Let your partner do his set before you begin your next set giving you enough time to rest. Overhead triceps dumbbell extensions are a great exercise to build muscle volume. Take a relatively heavy dumbbell- something you would have difficulty completing the 10th rep. sit on a exercise ball take the dumbbell and grip it forming a cup underneath one side of the dumbbell so that the dumbbell hangs vertically. Push up over and behind your head with arms completely extended. If you were to look in a mirror you would see your elbows a little above your head and facing the mirror. Without pushing your arms outward- lower the weight behind your head. Make sure your elbows do not move. Extend as far back as possible without wrecking your form- getting a nice stretch and pull up without moving your elbows until the dumbbell is over your head. Do this movement in strict form for seven reps. Now , quickly go over to the dip station and do dips- seven of them keeping your elbows close to your body, go down as far as you can and push up. Now, finish off with triceps pushdowns using narrow grip and elbows close to body. Make sure you and your elbows are not moving everywhere.

8) Neck extensions or neck bridges. (3X20) Kabaddi players need to do these because having a strong neck can avoid being thrown of balance when players try to pull you down by your neck. Get a towel wrap the center of your towel behind your head and upper neck. Have your partner pull down on the ends of the towel so that your head is facing down to the ground while standing up. Try to pull your head up and slightly back as your partner provides resistance by pulling on the ends of the towel. Do twenty reps of these and change up with your partner to rest up for your next set. Alternatively, you can do neck bridges by arching your back and putting weight on your neck. For an advanced movement, roll your head around to work different muscle groups in the neck, Do about five reps in total each lasting about three minutes.

Portion Three

1)Core exercise and sit-ups: Work your oblique muscles, upper and lower abs. Some exercises that are good for this are, rope pull downs, roman chairs, leg raises, machine crunches and hanging leg pull ups.

2) Post work out stretch: Stretch your body for a good 15 minutes and finish up your work out. Grab a protein shake as soon as soon as you can and you will have had a great kabaddi player workout at the gym.

Wednesday: ***Portion One and Portion Three are same as Monday

Portion Two:

1) Lunges (3x10) Grab dumbbells and hold one on either side. Proceed to take a big step forward until your knee is at a 90 degree angle to the ground and push back up with that leg to a standing position. Switch and do the same with the other leg.

2) Incline Bench (3x10): Follow the same principle as the flat bench exercise that you did on Monday. Pull Ups (3X10) You can change things up by doing pull ups to the front or behind the neck.

3) Clean and Press (3X10) This is basically the power clean but you press the weights up over your head when you stand up from the squat position. A great power exercise.

4) Upright Rows (3x10) Take a bar and put enough weight on to do eight reps comfortably but 10 reps with a little discomfort. Pull the bar from your mid thighs using an over hand shoulder width grip to your collar bone line- hold for three seconds and lower slowly.

5) Shrugs (3X10) These are shoulder shrugs. Take a bar with weights on them. You should be able to go heavy on this exercise. I like a wider than shoulder width grip. Have one over hand and the other under hand grip. Pull the weight straight up and try touching your shoulders to your years. Don�t roll your shoulders just do a straight up and down movement.

6) Hamstring and Quadriceps Resistance (3 sets to failure) Have your partner use an elastic band, a towel or his hands to provide resistance. For the hamstrings lay flat on the ground on your stomach and have your partner near your feet. Have partner apply resistance as you proceed to do a hamstring curl. Do each leg until failure. Now switch with your partner until your next set. Do the same for the quadriceps. Sit down on an elevated bench and have your partner provide resistance around your lower shin area. Proceed to lift the leg in slow restricted form movement and to failure. Switch with your partner until your next set.


*** Portion One and Three are the same as Monday and Wednesday

1) Squats (3x10) Do same as Monday

2) Flat bench (3X12) Do same as Monday

3) Dead lifts (3X10) Do same as Monday

4) Power Cleans (3X10) Do same as Monday

5) Push and Press (3X10) This is a great exercise for explosive power. Get a bar with weights on like you are going to do a standing military press. Feet shoulder width apart- dip down about ten inches and then push up. As you push up, press the bar up over your head.

6) Biceps Curls (3x21) Do Same as Monday

7) Triceps (3X21) Do same As Monday

8) Neck extensions or neck bridges. (3X20) Do Same as Monday

9) Hamstring and Quadriceps Resistance (3 sets to failure) Do same as Monday

Next week I will provide a functional training program for Tuesday and Thursday of your work out! I will also do a feature on core muscle training for kabaddi.

Next-->Off Season Training Part II- Gym Workouts!

Related Links

Developing the Core Group Muscles and Off Season Training: Discussion topic

Off Season Training Part II- Gym Workouts: Discussion topic