The Art of Wrestling with Legs: Techniques and Strategies for Success

Wrestling is a physically demanding and technical sport that requires a combination of strength, agility, and tactical intelligence. While upper body techniques often take the spotlight, wrestling with legs is an essential aspect of the sport that can provide a significant advantage in a match. In this article, we will explore the art of wrestling with legs, focusing on techniques, strategies, and training exercises that can help wrestlers effectively utilize their lower body in both offense and defense.

  1. Understanding the Importance of Lower Body Wrestling:

In wrestling, the lower body serves as a foundation for balance, stability, and explosive movements. Wrestlers who master leg techniques can control the center of gravity, execute powerful takedowns, defend against opponents’ attacks, and secure dominant positions on the mat. Incorporating leg wrestling into your repertoire can elevate your overall performance and make you a well-rounded competitor.

  1. Offensive Leg Techniques:
  1. Single Leg Takedown: The single leg takedown is one of the most fundamental and effective offensive moves in wrestling. To execute it, a wrestler shoots in on their opponent’s leg, typically with their head to the outside, and grabs hold of the leg above the knee. They then drive forward, using their bodyweight and leg power to lift the opponent’s leg off the ground and take them down to the mat.
  2. Double Leg Takedown: Similar to the single leg, the double leg takedown involves shooting in on an opponent’s legs, but this time, the wrestler secures both legs, lifting them off the ground, and driving forward to bring the opponent down to the mat.
  3. Ankle Pick: The ankle pick is a quick and deceptive move where a wrestler reaches down to grab their opponent’s ankle while simultaneously driving forward, causing them to lose balance and fall to the mat.
  4. Fireman’s Carry: The fireman’s carry is a dynamic move where the wrestler lifts their opponent’s arm over their shoulder and takes them down by rotating their body and driving them over their back.
  1. Defensive Leg Techniques:
  1. Sprawl: The sprawl is a defensive technique used to counter an opponent’s takedown attempt. When the opponent shoots in for a single or double leg takedown, the wrestler quickly extends their legs back, dropping their hips to the mat, and sprawling out to prevent the opponent from getting a hold of their legs.
  2. Whizzer: The whizzer is a defensive move used when the opponent has secured a single leg. The wrestler places their arm over the opponent’s shoulder and pushes down on their head while sprawling to create space and break free from the hold.
  3. Granby Roll: The granby roll is an escape technique used when the wrestler is on the bottom and their opponent is in control. By rolling away and using their legs to create momentum, the wrestler can escape from the bottom position and potentially reverse the situation.
  1. Developing Leg Strength and Explosiveness:

To excel in leg wrestling, wrestlers must focus on developing leg strength and explosiveness. Leg exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and calf raises can help build lower body power. Plyometric exercises like box jumps and explosive lunges can improve leg explosiveness, enabling wrestlers to generate quick and powerful movements during matches.

  1. Combining Upper Body and Leg Techniques:

Effective wrestling involves seamlessly combining upper body and leg techniques to gain an advantage over an opponent. Set-ups and fakes are essential in creating opportunities for leg attacks. For example, a wrestler might use a series of collar ties and hand fighting to create an opening for a single leg takedown or use an upper body throw to set up a fireman’s carry.

  1. Mental Aspects of Leg Wrestling:

In addition to physical skills, mental preparation plays a vital role in successful leg wrestling. Wrestlers must stay focused, anticipate their opponent’s movements, and remain composed under pressure. Visualization and mental rehearsals of leg techniques can improve a wrestler’s ability to execute them instinctively during a match.

  1. Defense Against Leg Attacks:

While mastering offensive leg techniques is essential, understanding how to defend against opponents’ leg attacks is equally crucial. Proper stance, balance, and quick reactions are key to avoiding takedowns. Regular drilling and live wrestling practice can help wrestlers sharpen their defensive skills.

  1. Strategies for Different Wrestling Styles:

Different wrestling styles, such as freestyle, Greco-Roman, and folkstyle, have varying rules and scoring systems that influence the use of leg techniques. Wrestlers must adapt their approach to leg wrestling based on the style they compete in and the specific strengths and weaknesses of their opponents.

  1. Injury Prevention and Recovery:

Leg wrestling involves physical strain and places stress on joints and muscles. Wrestlers must prioritize injury prevention and recovery through proper warm-ups, cool-downs, stretching, and rest. Ignoring or neglecting injuries can hinder performance and prolong recovery time.


Wrestling with legs is a fundamental aspect of the sport that offers both offensive and defensive advantages. By mastering various leg techniques, developing leg strength and explosiveness, and understanding the mental aspects of leg wrestling, athletes can enhance their overall performance on the mat. Effective leg wrestling requires a combination of technique, physical fitness, mental preparation, and adaptability. With consistent training, dedication, and a well-rounded approach, wrestlers can add depth and versatility to their wrestling arsenal, ultimately making them more formidable opponents in the world of wrestling.