X Close
Your Cart
Keep Shopping

Get More Pins: Four Turns With Ed Ruth

Get More Pins: Four Turns With Ed Ruth


One of the main goals in wrestling is to put your opponent to their back. Not only do you score a lot of points when you put them to their back but you also have the potential to earn the pin. There are many different turns you can use in wrestling to put a guy to their back, some of them are much better than others in terms of effectiveness. That is why it is important to use techniques that have been proven to work at the highest levels of wrestling. 

Ed Ruth is one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time. During his time at Penn State, he was a four time Big Ten champion, took third at nationals his freshman year, then went on to win three straight NCAA national titles. Here are some great techniques from Ruth showing effective ways of putting guys on their backs. 

Head and Arm Trap


The first turn is called a head an arm trap. One obvious point about this turn is you don’t have to have a takedown in order to hit it. All you have to do is have them in a front headlock position. This is a great turn to hit if the guy you are wrestling is really strong on bottom and you are having difficulty running your normal pinning combinations. Another great time to hit the head and arm trap is if you are down by points late in a match. Often times in this scenario, your opponent knows you need a big move to win the match and they are actively defending any type of throw so they don’t mind being down in a front headlock position because they feel safe. 

Some key points to hitting this move are first you must shoot that arm all the way through and lock onto your own elbow. If you can get this locked up, you pretty much have this in the bag. It will make it easier to lock it up if you start with a closed front headlock. You can move and snap your opponent then shoot the arm through and lock it up. Make sure you other hand is on the spine.

Another key point is you don’t just roll your opponent when you get it locked up. Watch how Ruth sinks off to one side the runs his feet before rolling his opponent to their back. This helps to create much more pressure which will lead to better results.

Drop Cradle

This next turn is a drop cradle and is very effective. The benefits of this cradle are not only are far side cradles tough to defend once they are locked up, but with the way you take them to their back makes it even more difficult to defend. Check it out.

Make sure when you go for the drop cradle that you really grab onto the triceps and pull it across to keep it tight. In fact, you should stay on the triceps throughout the entire move. When you lock the cradle up, you will lock onto your own wrist. Another key point is you must not let them come up; you have to keep them bent at the waist. This means you need to keep driving forward and use your pressure in order to keep the weight on your opponent's hand. 

Lastly, try to bait your opponent to post their far leg up. Once they do, shoot your arm in deep and roll forward to and easy cradle finish. Be sure to watch all the way to the end of the video because Ruth shows a variation of this from the standing position.

Wrist Roll Tilt

A great way to turn your opponent and score a lot of points is with a tilt. In this video, Ruth shows a wrist roll tilt that is great option once you have hammer lock.


This tilt is quite a bit different from a standard two on one tilt, but that doesn’t mean you can use it to earn score a lot of nearfall points. When you hit this tilt, make use you are really blocking the elbow with your knee, this puts a lot of pressure on your opponent’s shoulder. Also, be sure to keep everything tight when you bring them over to their back. When you turn them, your opponent will be fighting to get off their back so use arm you have hooked and your leg to control them. Lastly, watch the way Ruth grabs his opponent’s hand and uses it to roll the wrist under. Even though it is called a wrist roll tilt, he is not grabbing the wrist, he is grabbing the hand.

Reverse Neck Pinch

This last turn is called a reverse neck pinch. It is a great turn to use when someone gets a single leg on you. Instead of hitting a whizzer and sprawling, you can use a reverse neck pinch to take your opponent to their back. 


This is a defense to a single leg so the first thing you need to do is when your opponent shoots a single on you is stuff the head down and sprawl to take away the initial threat of the takedown. Once you the the head stuffed down the mat, watch what Ruth does with his hands and where he puts them. This turn is very similar to a three quarter nelson but the hand positioning is different. Lastly, watch how Ruth uses the neck pinch to take his opponent to his back. He is circling his feet and using the power from his entire body. This is not only a great way to put your opponent to their back but also a great way to defend a shot. 

All of these turns are moves that will work at the highest levels of wrestling. Just like with any other aspect of wrestling, putting your opponent to their back is a skill that you have to develop. A big part of the development is finding turns that you really like then drilling them over and over until you get the pressure and technique down perfectly. The more you work turns, in a lot of ways, the easier they will become. 

The Cradle Machine by Ed Ruth
You have to have amazing technique and insight into wrestling to win three NCAA championships; Ruth’s wrestling is world class. If you would like to learn more of Ruth’s wrestling technique be sure to check out his two video series, one where he goes over takedowns called “Scientific Shots by Ed Ruth” and the other is called “The Cradle Machine by Ed Ruth” where he goes over different cradles and other pinning combinations.