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Wrist Roll Variations for Finishing Single Leg Takedowns with Zack Esposito

Wrist Roll Variations for Finishing Single Leg Takedowns with Zack Esposito

In wrestling, the smallest difference in technique can completely make or break what you are attempting. It can be as simple as which hand you have on top of a lock that totally changes the amount of power and strength you have. These types of details in techniques can be easy to forget in the heat of the moment, all the more reason to pay attention and practice them often.

When it comes to locks and hand grips in particular, these details are especially important. So much of the power involved in these kinds of techniques come from leverage. The difference in body position or grip type to either create or diminish leverage is not very much in most cases. It can simply be the difference of inches of hand placement that make an extraordinary difference. 

In this video, Zack Esposito demonstrates a variation of a wrist roll to prevent his lock from being broken while finishing a single leg takedown, check it out below!


Zack begins the video by talking about how one of the most common defenses for defending against the single leg is when your partner starts reaching down and grabbing your hands. He explains that it is a very effective defense because what they are trying to do is split your lock and get their foot down to the mat.

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When you have your partner's leg in your lock, he is looking to peel one of your arms off to get his leg down. When your partner does this, it is highly likely that he is going to be trying to pull your front hand because it is much easier for him to access.

What this means is that if your hands are locked and your front hand is on top, it will be much easier for your partner to peel that hand off. However, if your back hand is on top then it will be anchoring your front hand down and will make it much more difficult for your partner to break your lock.

When you get a hold of your partner's leg while going for a single leg takedown, you want it to be in between your legs. An important detail that Zack mentions when using this technique or really just single legs in general is to make sure you are pinching your legs together, keeping your partner's leg secured. If he gets his leg free from between your legs, it makes it much easier for him to get that foot to the ground.

For this technique we are going to assume you have your partner's leg pinched tightly between your legs, you have your lock with your back hand on top, and your partner starts to pull on your arm attempting to break your lock. This is the perfect time to implement the wrist roll.

What this looks like is to let go of your lock and take your backhand and roll it over top onto your partner’s wrist. With your hand on top of his wrist, you have just created significantly more leverage for yourself, and should be able to break the grip he has on your arm and finish the takedown.

When you do break your partner’s grip, you are going to clear your partner’s leg by gripping above the knee with your back hand, down on the ankle with your front hand, and taking a step back and keeping his leg in front of you rather than between your legs.

From here there are a ton of finishing options such as bringing his leg up high and going for a trip on the other leg, grabbing a collar tie and tripping, and so on. This is a great troubleshooting method for when you have your partner’s leg and you want to get up high, but he is preventing it by grabbing your wrist.

Zack had an impressive collegiate wrestling career at Oklahoma State University where he finished with an overall record of 120-12. Zack then served as the assistant coach at OSU for 5 years before taking the head coaching position, where he has helped lead his team to notable victories and accomplishments. 

Included in this instructional you will find techniques covering a breakdown of wrist control, details of the “ride position”, sit out defense, chicken wing variations, arm under defense, and so much more. 

Championship Riding Systems by Zack Esposito

Zack is an extremely accomplished competitor with the experience of coaching at one of the highest levels in the sport. Don’t let your game stay stagnant, take the time to learn and bring yourself to the next level, check out his instructional here!