How to Set Up, Execute, and Finish an Arm Drag Takedown

Arm drags work both offensively and defensively. They function as a wrestling move in itself or a set up to a leg attack, which makes it unique in its flexibility. Properly executed arm drag is also very difficult to counter because it creates an angle in which the opponent cannot respond unless the opponent circles back around to a neutral position.

Set up

The arm drag is available anytime your opponent’s arm is straight. Because of this, basic setups involve wrist control. You can hit an arm drag from controlling your opponent’s wrist, but you can also counter your opponent’s wrist control with an arm drag.
In order to set up this takedown, you can fake a duck under too. Furthermore, you can keep your opponent guessing if you fake an arm drag to set up a duck under.
Other set ups exist such as an arm drag from an underhook or bicep control, but the main concept is to pull your opponent’s arm in a position where you can pull your opponent’s arm across their body.


A few key points of the arm drag:
-Pull your opponent’s arm across his body to minimize his ability to counter. To be effective, pull above your opponent’s elbow (around their bicep/tricep muscles).
-Instead of just circling around your opponent, drive into your opponent. This puts more weight on your opponent and makes it harder for them to escape.


A basic finish involves controlling the opponent’s far hip, but sometimes you may need to transition to a leg attack. First, try to reach as low on the waist as possible in order to secure control of your opponent’s body. If this doesn’t work, you can adjust your position to execute a single leg or double leg takedown. Some wrestlers go straight to a leg attack from an arm drag, too. Double leg takedowns are particularly popular from an arm drag, but body locks and single leg takedowns are also possible.

Arm Drag Takedown Variations

When an arm drag is used as a counter offense, wrestlers will tend to keep their hips lower and farther back. While doing this, they will pull their opponent down while keeping as much weight on the opponent as possible.


As a set up, 2016 Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev uses an arm drag to set up his fireman’s carry during his 2014 World Championship gold medal match.
In certain situations, multiple-time World and Olympic champion, Kyle Snyder will use this technique offensively. Here, Kyle Snyder demonstrates a few transitions into leg attacks from an arm drag.
In defensive situations, world champion (cadet age group) and 2017 USA world team member Zain Retherford will used it to counter an opponent’s failed shot attempt.
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Che is a former collegiate wrestler, member of Thailand’s national freestyle wrestling team, and current combat sport enthusiast. He writes about how to achieve higher physical and mental performance while being on a budget or a busy schedule. You can learn more about Che and his work here.