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Hit the Pinch Headlock Hip Throw with Adam Wheeler

Hit the Pinch Headlock Hip Throw with Adam Wheeler


A good headlock throw is a crowd-pleaser, but a great headlock throw is a game-changer. Considered to be one of the staples of upper body throws, this move can lead to a 5-point advantage when followed up directly with a pin. Recent pushes in the middle and high school level to ignore this move come not from a sense of safety but rather strategy. This makes sense, as the move does rely on you turning your back on your opponent to make it work and teaching it ineffectively to younger athletes can create bad habits. However, just like all things, there are exceptions, especially if the exception is taught by one of the best. 

To learn how to hit the pinch headlock hip throw, you need to be taught by someone well-versed in upper body takedowns. In the video below, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Adam Wheeler demonstrates how to effectively hit the throw. 


The Set-Up

Wheeler demonstrates this throw as part of his 2-on-1 series. To establish the 2-on-1, you can be proactive with the tie by establishing wrist control and angling off to the outside, or you can be reactive and peel off the opponent’s collar tie. Regardless of how you get there, you wind up holding the arm at the wrist and around the biceps and triceps. However, Wheeler doesn’t stop with just the 2-on-1, as he reaches under and gets an underhook on his opponent’s right side. With his other arm, Wheeler goes over the other shoulder and locks hands with an S-grip. It’s important to note that Wheeler’s lock is not directly behind the head but rather against his opponent’s neck. 

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The Throw

The throw itself is very similar to a standard hip toss but with a slight variation in the hip positioning. Wheeler’s throw is not coupled with kicking the leg back between your opponent’s legs, like you might do in Judo with the Uchi-mata. Instead, he steps across to the other side. Wheeler’s right hip makes contact with his opponent’s left hip. He loads him up onto his hips and draps him across laterally. As a result, his opponent lands perpendicular to him, leaving Wheeler on top and ready for his next move. 


So, you’ve got your opponent down with the pinch headlock throw. What do you do next? This is dependent on what sport you are using it in. In wrestling, you can follow up with a headlock pin considering your perpendicular positioning. You can sit out and maintain heavy chest pressure on your opponent while adjusting your far arm under the head and across to the other side. While Wheeler has an S-grip for the throw, it might be best to switch to a Gable grip for the pin. Lift the head to prevent the opponent from trying to bridge. If you are in jiu-jitsu, you’re already in prime kesa-gatame position, with the minor adjustment of bringing the far arm under the head and grabbing your thigh. If you are looking to submit the opponent, switch the grip and turn the hold into an arm triangle choke. No matter what combat sport you’re in, the throw lends itself to multiple finishes. 

If you’re ready to launch people from their feet to the mat, try Adam Wheeler’s take on the pinch headlock hip throw. By using the 2-on-1 and underhook as proper set-ups along with precise hip positioning, the throw will change your game for the better. 


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