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The Art of Wrestling with Legs: Techniques, Strategies, and Mastery

Wrestling, a sport that dates back centuries, has evolved into a dynamic and multifaceted discipline that demands strength, agility, and tactical acumen. One of the most intriguing aspects of wrestling is the utilization of the legs in various offensive and defensive maneuvers. Whether you’re a seasoned wrestler looking to enhance your skills or a novice eager to explore the intricacies of leg-based techniques, this article will delve into the world of wrestling with legs. We will examine the techniques, strategies, and key principles that underlie successful leg-based wrestling, shedding light on the artistry and effectiveness of this essential facet of the sport.

Understanding the Importance of Wrestling with Legs

In the realm of wrestling, employing your legs effectively can provide a significant advantage. The legs serve as both anchors and levers, enabling wrestlers to gain control, maintain balance, and execute various holds and takedowns. By mastering leg-based techniques, wrestlers can dictate the pace of a match, seize opportunities, and outmaneuver opponents.

Leg Attacks and Takedowns

  1. Single Leg Takedown: A staple of leg-based wrestling, the single leg takedown involves grabbing one of your opponent’s legs and driving through to bring them down to the mat. This technique requires precision footwork, timing, and a solid grip on your opponent’s leg.
  2. Double Leg Takedown: Similar to the single leg takedown, the double leg involves grabbing both of your opponent’s legs and driving forward to take them down. Proper penetration and explosive power are key to executing this move effectively.
  3. High Crotch: The high crotch takedown involves shooting in on your opponent’s leg while maintaining an upright posture. This technique capitalizes on speed, timing, and leverage to off-balance and control your opponent.
  4. Ankle Picks: Ankle picks target your opponent’s ankle or lower leg, utilizing quick and subtle movements to disrupt their balance and execute a takedown.

Leg-Based Holds and Controls

  1. Leg Ride: In the top position, a leg ride involves controlling your opponent’s legs while maintaining a dominant position. This can lead to turns and near-fall situations.
  2. Crab Ride: A variation of the leg ride, the crab ride involves using your legs to control your opponent’s lower body while seeking opportunities to expose their back for a potential pin.
  3. Turk: The Turk is a pinning combination that involves trapping your opponent’s leg and turning them onto their back.

Strategies for Success

  1. Timing and Setup: Proper timing is crucial in leg-based wrestling. Set up your attacks by creating angles, faking shots, and capitalizing on your opponent’s movements.
  2. Level Changes: Effective leg attacks require sudden and unpredictable changes in your wrestling stance. Lowering your level before shooting helps you get under your opponent’s defenses and close the distance.
  3. Combination Attacks: Chain multiple attacks together to catch your opponent off guard. For example, follow up a failed single leg attempt with a double leg or an ankle pick.
  4. Counter Attacks: Use your legs defensively by countering your opponent’s attacks. Defend against leg grabs by sprawling, sprawling and controlling the head, or executing a granby roll.
  5. Positional Awareness: Maintain awareness of your positioning and your opponent’s movements at all times. React quickly to capitalize on openings and prevent your opponent from gaining control.

Training and Development

  1. Footwork: Develop agility and quick footwork through drills that emphasize lateral movement, level changes, and explosive bursts.
  2. Strength and Conditioning: Strengthen your legs with exercises like squats, lunges, and plyometrics to improve your explosiveness and stability.
  3. Technical Drills: Practice leg-based techniques with a partner or on a wrestling dummy. Focus on executing takedowns, rides, and controls with precision.
  4. Live Wrestling: Engage in live wrestling sessions to apply your leg-based techniques in real-time situations. Experiment with different setups and attacks to refine your skills.


Wrestling with legs is a captivating and intricate aspect of the sport that can be both artful and effective. By mastering leg attacks, takedowns, and controls, wrestlers can gain a significant edge over their opponents. Developing strong footwork, timing, and positional awareness are key components of success in leg-based wrestling. With dedication, practice, and a deep understanding of the techniques and strategies involved, wrestlers can unlock the full potential of their legs and elevate their performance on the mat.

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