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How to Do a Leg Lace in Wrestling

The leg lace, often known as the “ankle lace,” is one of the most effective turns in freestyle wrestling. While doing this turn, you control both of your opponent’s legs in order to roll him. The leg lace is a versatile move with many different variations and finishes, but before you can learn these variations, you must first understand the fundamental leg lace roll. Read the technique description below to start drilling this move.

1. Straddle

To begin the leg lace, the first thing you must do is straddle one of your opponent’s legs when you’re on top in the par terre position. In other words, place each knee to the outside of one of your opponent’s thighs. You can also use the top of one of your legs (the ankle/shin area) to put pressure on that same leg. This pressure will trap his leg and keep him from defending.

2. Shoulder Pressure

Next, place the same-side shoulder (as the leg you're straddling) on the back of his opposite thigh. For example, if you are straddling your opponent’s left leg, use your left shoulder to put pressure on the back of his right thigh (keep your head to the outside of his leg). This will help keep him from basing up and will allow you to take control of this leg.

3. Control the Leg

Now, use your opposite-side arm (to the leg you are straddling) to hook your opponent’s opposite leg at the ankle. For example, if you are straddling your opponent’s left leg, hook your right arm around the lower part of his right leg. Try to hook his leg firmly so you can to secure it in your armpit.

With your other hand (the same-side hand as the shoulder you’re using to pressure his leg), reach under your opponent’s upper leg, and wrap your hand around his quadriceps. You should now have your opponent’s leg secured tightly with both arms. Continue keeping pressure on the back of his thigh with your shoulder.

4. Step Over

The next step is to get up on your toes and step both of your legs over and to the outside of the leg you were straddling. For example, if you were straddling your opponent’s left leg, take a few steps to the left until both of your feet are to the left of his left leg. This exposes his leg so you can scoop it. As you do this, keep his leg secured tightly and keep pressure on the back of his thigh with your shoulder.

5. Scoop

With the leg you were straddling now exposed, use the arm that’s controlling his lower leg and “scoop” underneath this leg at the ankle. For example, if you are controlling your opponent’s right leg, your right forearm will be used to scoop his exposed leg. As you scoop the ankle, apply pressure upward with your forearm to cross your opponent’s legs together, and then press them tightly together.

Here, the ankle of your opponent’s bottom leg (the leg you just scooped) should be secured in the bend of your elbow. The ankle of your opponent’s top leg (the leg you were controlling initially) should be secured in your armpit of that same arm. Snake the arm you are using to control your opponent’s ankles around the calf muscles of your opponent’s top leg. This will help you keep the legs secure as you roll. You can also choose to lock your hands in this position.

Hot Tip: Wrap the Legs

Some wrestlers prefer to remove the arm that is in between the opponent’s legs, and instead wrap their arms around the outside of both legs at the thigh for better control. For example, if you were using your left arm to secure your opponent’s upper right leg at the beginning, you’d remove this arm from in between your opponent’s legs and wrap it around the outside of your opponent’s left thigh. If you do this, try to grip the leg furthest away from you to help pull his legs together.

6. Roll

Roll towards the arm you are using to secure your opponent’s upper leg. (If your left arm is in between your opponent’s legs and controlling his right upper leg, roll to the left.) Use this arm to “push” your opponent’s legs in front of your face as you roll; essentially you are causing your opponent’s body to roll as you do. Keep the grip you have on your opponent’s ankles tight.

As you roll, “pop” or push your hips upwards to put more force into the roll. To prevent against being stopped on your back and pinned mid-move, bridge up on your head as you roll. Use your feet to drive off of the mat as you turn and roll. Try to complete as many rolls as possible. If you gain a lead of six points or more, you will win the period!

Win with the Basics

This basic leg lace works at all levels of wrestling, from youth divisions to the Olympics. Drill this move until you have mastered it to ensure that you can score in par terre when you need to. In time, you will learn many variations of this move to make your leg lace that much more effective. Good luck and get drilling!

The leg lace is one of the most widely used turns from the par terre position in freestyle wrestling. Check out this guide to learn a basic variation of the leg lace.
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