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Single Leg Finishes With Ben Askren

Single Leg Finishes With Ben Askren


A single leg is one of the most fundamental takedowns in wrestling. One of the first skills you learn as a wrestlers is how to take a penetration step and go for a leg. Learning how to shoot a proper single leg is a must if you want to have any success out on the mat. There are a variety of different types of single legs you can shoot, one common one is called a high level single leg. A high level single leg usually refers to shooting a single leg without going down to a knee and when you have the leg secured, the leg is at waist level or higher. 

You don’t have to spend much time on a wrestling mat to learn that getting in on the leg is often the easy part of taking a shot. Now matter what type of shot you take, you need to learn how to finish it and this can be difficult. There is no one finish that will work every time, which is why it is important to learn a couple of different finishes from different positions so you will be prepared when the time comes. 

Ben Askren was a two time NCAA champion and wrestled on the United States Olympic team. In this video, Askren shows three different options when it comes to finishing a high level single leg. Each of these finishes is a great option that works well, but some might work better on different opponents. Check it out!


Back Trip

The first finish to a single leg that Askren shows is a back trip. The best time to his this finish is when the leg is in the inside position. As you can see in the video, the first step is to reach up with the near hand and grab your opponent’s neck. He then takes a small stop with the far leg to eliminate space between himself and his partner. Now you are going to attack your opponent’s planted foot with a sweeping/tripping motion. At the same time you are attacking the planted foot, pull down on your opponent’s neck to finish the takedown.

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In the video, Askren is standing still, but in a match, if you have a single leg you need to be moving them around to keep them off balance. If you just stand there with the leg, it gives them an opportunity to defend the single leg. Another important aspect to this finish is you want to try and secure the leg as high up on your chest as possible. This will increase your odds of getting the finish. 

Double Knee Attack Finish

The second finish to a high level single leg that Askren shows is called a double knee attack. The key to this finish is to get your opponent to turn away from you and put their hands on the mat. In order to make this happen, with your near arm, you will attack either your opponent’s knee or armpit and turn away from them to try to get them to drop down and plant their hands on the mat. When they do, you are going to attack the far leg and drive your shoulder into your opponent. If you don’t drive them forward, they will be able to pop back up, but you want them to keep their weight on their hands. 

Foot Sweep

The last finish that Askren shows in the video is a foot sweep. This finish starts with the leg secured high on your hip or your chest. While you are moving your opponent around, swing your other arm in an uppercut motion and have your bicep make contact with the underside of their knee. This should happen as you move into your opponent. The main objective is to get their foot that is planted on the mat to come off the mat for just a split second. Watch how Askren uses not only his arm but also his legs and hips to lift his partner off the mat. When the foot comes off the mat, use your inside foot to sweep your opponent’s foot. Make sure you are stepping in with your front foot to close the distance before you sweep just like Askren shows in the video. 

To get good at single legs, you not only need to have many different setups, but also many different finishes you can use. It is important to have multiple finishes you like from the many different positions you can end up in when you shoot a single leg. These three finishes have been proven effective against the highest level of competition.

Ultimate Askren Wrestling by Ben Askren
If you would like to learn more wrestling technique from Ben Askren, be sure to check out his in depth video series titled “Ultimate Askren Wrestling by Ben Asrken”. In this video series, he covers everything from hand fight to pins as well as takedowns and different types of shot defense.