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Learn How Gabe Dean Dominates Opponents Using Underhooks

Learn How Gabe Dean Dominates Opponents Using Underhooks


Wrestling is all about position. When you put your foot on the line and the whistle blows, you and your opponent are essentially in equal positions. That is where hand fighting, pummeling, and battling for position comes into play. There are many great positions you can fight to get in, like a two on one or a collar tie, but one of the most dominant and effective positions you can get to is an underhook.  

An underhook allows you to have inside control on your opponent which helps you to get past their first line of defense, their head and hands. Another great thing about the underhook is it allows you a great handle to move your opponent with. When you have a good underhook, you can push, pull, and steer your opponent in any direction. Lastly, when you have an underhook, it is very difficult for your opponent to shoot on you. For these reasons, you see underhooks being used in the highest levels of wrestling, including the NCAA championships and the Olympics.

Gabe Dean is four time NCAA All-American and a two time NCAA national champion. He has a great offense that revolves around utilizing underhooks. Check out these three videos of Dean demonstrating how to effectively use underhooks to score takedowns.

Fake Attack to Underhook

In order to use an underhook effectively on the mat, you must first secure an underhook. The higher level competition you are competing against, the more difficult it will be to get and underhook. In this video, Dean uses a fake shot and level change to create space to get to an underhook position. 


As you can see in the video, Dean starts with inside control on the side he wants the underhook. In a match there would be some pushing and pulling, you wouldn’t just be standing still. Then Dean does two really important things to get he underhook. First, he lowers his level, then he uses his opposite hand to fake a shot to the near side. When he does this, you can see his partner’s immediate reaction is to pull the leg back. When the leg is pulled back, this creates an opportunity and space to secure the underhook. 

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High Level Attack to an Underhook

Another way you can secure an under hook is by using a high level attack. This is similar to the previous video, but there are minor differences in technique that may help if your opponent is not falling for the fake on the near side. Here is a setup to establish an underhook on the farside. 


Just like in the previous video, this sequence starts with an inside tie, but instead of it being on the side you want to secure the underhook on, it is on the opposite side. Use the inside tie to move your opponent. Then lower your level and fake a shot to the far side leg with the outside hand. Your opponent’s reaction will be to pull their leg back. When they do, there is a perfect opening for you to sink in your underhook.  

Underhook Far Ankle Pick

Once you are able to get an underhook, the next step is to use it to earn a takedown. There are many different takedowns from an underhook, but one great option is to use it to hit an ankle pick. 


As you can see in the video, Dean uses an underhook and fakes a shot to the near side leg. When his opponent steps the leg back to defend the shot, this puts all the weight on the far leg and creates the perfect opportunity to pick the ankle. Some key points to hit this takedown correctly are to keep down pressure on the underhook and drive over your opponent’s ankle. Then, you must punch or throw the underhook by in order to secure the takedown. 

Underhook Domination by Gabe Dean
If you would like to learn more about using underhooks to score points and get more takedowns, be sure to check out Gabe Dean’s instructional video titled “Underhook Domination by Gabe Dean”.