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Wrestling Fundamentals with Adam Wheeler

Wrestling Fundamentals with Adam Wheeler


The basics of any craft cannot be underestimated. Carpenters know to measure twice and cut once, writers know how to use commas to separate list items, and athletes know the fundamental movements related to their given sports. Wrestling is no different. Even though the sport has evolved beyond the collar-and-elbow style that was popular in the 18th century, the fundamentals in modern wrestling are too important for novice wrestlers to push to the side. 

One of the most basic moves in wrestling is the double leg takedown. Knowing how to shoot and make penetration with this takedown builds the framework for the rest of your moveset going forward. To expand on this concept, former Columbia University wrestling coach Adam Wheeler puts his perspective on fundamentals for wrestling. 


Wheeler starts off in a staggered stance. Take note of his posture and foot positioning. His feet are shoulder-width apart; this is not too far out to lose driving power and not too far in to compromise his base. Wheeler’s hands are in front of him, but they are not reaching out which would expose him to arm drags. Notice his back and head posture. His back is straight and not lurched over, a safe tactic in the long run. In terms of his neck, his head is high with his nose facing directly in front of him. Going over the nuances of his stance may seem tedious, but a good stance is paramount to success. 

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Penetration Step

The next essential fundamental aspect is shooting, which specifically involves the penetration step. Wheeler begins his shot by lowering his level and bending his knees. The key thing here is that Wheeler is not keeping his head low when doing this or any of the next parts of the penetration step, as this could lead to a snapdown or a submission if he was grappling. Wheeler describes a “glass barrier” between his opponent’s knees that he needs to break with his own knee when he makes penetration. The emphasis here is to make sure that your lead leg knee goes beyond their knee line before it hits the ground. As his lead knee hits, his trail leg follows up back to his foot. 

Cutting the Corner

Finishing the double leg takedown from here is not difficult, but there are nuances that need to be addressed. Once Wheeler has hit his shot and has made penetration, he grabs his opponent’s legs by the knees. His head is positioned right at the hip to allow for an extra point of contact during the drive. When he finishes, pay close attention to the angle he drives. He doesn’t drive forward, as this would allow his opponent to latch on and throw him backward or sprawl successfully if there’s enough space. He drives at a lateral angle, or more specifically an “L shape” as Wheeler puts it. The legs are not made to handle significant lateral drives, so a double leg takedown like this is perfect for taking advantage of it. After the opponent is taken down, Wheeler covers the body to prevent any positional recovery. 

Never take the basics for granted. They are the building blocks of your wrestling pedigree, and if they are not properly set then your ability to succeed crumbles. Adam Wheeler’s video above properly illustrates how to complete a double leg takedown, but within that video are key fundamentals that you have to know in order to be a winning wrestler. 

Upper Body Takedowns For Wrestling by Adam Wheeler
Upper Body Takedowns By Adam Wheeler gives you the tools you need to close the distance and IMPOSE YOUR WILL on your opponent. Dominate with upper body control, throws, and takedowns  with Adam Wheeler!