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A Beginner’s Guide to Wrestling with Legs

wrestling with legs

A Beginner’s Guide to Wrestling with Legs

Wrestling is a physically demanding and mentally engaging sport that involves a myriad of techniques to control and ultimately pin or subdue an opponent. Among the various tactics and moves in wrestling, utilizing the legs as a tool for control and advantage has gained prominence over time. In this article, we’ll explore the world of wrestling with legs, diving into techniques, strategies, and some of the controversies surrounding this approach.

**1. The Role of Legs in Wrestling

Traditionally, wrestling has predominantly focused on upper-body techniques, but the incorporation of legs has added a new dimension to the sport. By involving the legs, wrestlers can gain leverage, stability, and control over their opponents, opening up opportunities for takedowns, pins, and escapes. The legs can be used defensively and offensively, making them a versatile tool for wrestlers of all styles and weight classes.

**2. Offensive Leg Attacks

a. Single Leg Takedown: One of the most common leg-based attacks, the single-leg takedown involves grabbing one of your opponent’s legs and lifting or driving them off-balance. This move can be executed from various positions, including tie-ups and clinches.

b. Double Leg Takedown: Similar to the single leg, the double-leg takedown targets both of your opponent’s legs simultaneously. Wrestlers shoot in on their opponent, securing both legs before driving them to the mat.

c. High Crotch and Ankle Pick: These moves combine leg attacks with upper-body control. The high crotch involves reaching for one of your opponent’s legs, while the ankle pick targets the ankle to trip or unbalance your opponent.

**3. Defensive Maneuvers with Legs

Legs can also play a crucial role in defense, helping wrestlers counter their opponents’ attacks and avoid takedowns. Sprawling, for instance, involves pushing your hips back while sprawling your legs out to prevent your opponent from securing a takedown.

**4. Leg Riding and Turns

Once a wrestler gains control on the ground, leg riding can be employed to maintain dominance and search for opportunities to turn an opponent onto their back for a pin. Techniques like the “turk” and “cradle” utilize leg control to trap an opponent’s shoulders to the mat, aiming for a pinning position.

**5. Controversies and Safety Concerns

While the use of legs in wrestling brings numerous advantages, it’s not without its controversies and safety concerns. Certain leg-based techniques, such as the “scissor” or “banana split,” involve applying pressure to an opponent’s legs in ways that can lead to injury if not executed correctly or if resisted aggressively. This has led to debates about whether some leg-based techniques should be banned from certain age groups or skill levels to ensure safety.

**6. Strategies and Adaptation

Wrestling with legs requires a deep understanding of body mechanics, balance, and timing. Wrestlers often adapt their styles and strategies based on their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Some wrestlers excel at leg-based techniques, while others prefer a more traditional upper-body approach. A successful wrestler is versatile and capable of seamlessly integrating leg attacks and defenses into their overall game plan.

**7. Training and Mastery

To master wrestling with legs, athletes dedicate hours to training and honing their techniques. This involves drilling specific leg-based moves, practicing transitions, and sparring with training partners who can provide realistic resistance. Strengthening the legs, hips, and core is essential for executing moves effectively and maintaining stability during exchanges.


Wrestling with legs has transformed the sport by adding complexity and versatility to the array of techniques wrestlers employ. The strategic integration of leg attacks, defenses, and control methods provides wrestlers with a dynamic set of tools to outmaneuver their opponents. However, as with any aspect of wrestling, mastery requires dedication, practice, and a deep understanding of both the physical and mental aspects of the sport. From offensive takedowns to defensive sprawling, the world of wrestling with legs is a captivating arena where skill, strategy, and athleticism converge in pursuit of victory on the mat.

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