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Improve Your Inside Single Leg Reach Mechanics with Zack Esposito

Improve Your Inside Single Leg Reach Mechanics with Zack Esposito


Wrestling is an extremely technical sport. The amount of training that wrestlers put into their game calls for flawless mechanics and technique in order to be successful. Takedowns are just one example of where the level of technique needs to be sharp.

If you get the takedown, you are in the dominant position. A great way to get there is off of a single leg. There are so many strategies for defending single legs, so your technique ought to be as good as possible so you can be efficient in finishing them.

In this video, Zack Esposito gives a fundamental breakdown of the mechanics of an inside reach single leg. Check it out below!


There are a few different reaches when it comes to single legs. There is the outside reach where you sweep around with your outside hand, and you can also reach in with your inside hand. Zack goes over the outside reach in another video, but they both start with the exact same set up

For this set up, you are going to start from the ground up. Being on one knee on the ground, you are going to start by reaching with your inside hand and grab right behind your partner's knee. A very similar set up as if you were going for a high crotch, however now you reach to your partners leg with your outside hand and bring your body around towards his back. 

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As you reach from the outside and rotate to turn the corner, the initial inside grip you had behind your partner's knee is going to slide down to his ankle as your outside hand is now strong and through his legs. From here you want your head to be up, with your knee right behind his leg and your other leg posted strongly.

At this point your shoulder needs to be right in his hamstring and not off to the outside of his leg. Zack explains that the reason he shows beating his knee around the corner is because that is the best possible way to finish. In a match you may find that your knee may come in front of your opponent and you are going to have to work to get to the back side, but for learning purposes Zack says to try and hit it from the start as best as you can.

The goal is to be facing the opposite direction in which you started when finishing the single leg, and beating the knee around the corner is the best way to get there quickly. When rotating around the corner, use the inside grip you have behind your partner's knee to help bring yourself around. Another way to help yourself get around the corner if you are having trouble is to reach for the far knee with your outside hand.

Zack explains that the reason why the initial inside reach is so important is because it acts as a sort of misdirection because your opponent is always going to be expecting the right hand coming from the outside. The right hand may be caught up on something like a collar tie, so they may not be aware of your inside hand when it's taking that shot.

Zack also notes that when you start to get good at this, as you get the inside grip behind your partner's knee you will feel that if he tries to sprawl or bring that leg back it actually sling shots you into him.

Remember the key is starting from the ground up. Starting in our squared stance, we take a step to the outside to get into our staggered stance. We now go to the ground and start to shoot with this technique, and begin to work our way back up to finish the single leg. 

Zack’s collegiate wrestling career was spent at Oklahoma State University, where in 2005 he won the title at 149 pounds. That same year his record was 35-1, and he finished his career at OSU with an overall record of 120-12.

Zack served as the assistant coach at OSU for 5 years before taking over the head coaching position, and in that time helped the team win six Big 12 Championships. Zack also has experience as an international competitor, including a spot on the 2008 World Cup Team that competed in Russia.

Championship Riding Systems by Zack Esposito
Included in his instructional is technique covering a breakdown to wrist control, sit out defense, chicken wing wrist tilt and arm punch, arm under defense, and so much more. Let experienced wrestler Zack Esposito use his personal wrestling and coaching experience to help you bring your game to the next level, check out his instructional here!