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How to Do the Basic Arm Drag

Wrestler executes an arm dragOne of the most versatile and effective setup techniques is the arm drag. The arm drag can be used in all styles of wrestling as a takedown and as a set up for leg attacks, throws, and other moves. Before you learn all of these, however, you must first learn the basic arm drag takedown. This guide will help you become familiar with how the move works. Read on to learn the basics of the arm drag and an effective takedown.

1. Secure the Wrist & Pull

In order to arm drag your opponent, you must first gain control of the arm you want to attempt the move on. Do this by grabbing his wrist with an over-handed grip (thumb facing up). This should be done using your near hand. For example, if you want to arm drag your opponent’s right arm, secure his right wrist with your left hand.

Once you have secured his wrist, pull his arm towards you to straighten it. This will make it easier for you to control his arm throughout the move.

2. Drag Inside

Next, bring your free hand to the inside of your opponent’s arm and grasp it just above the elbow near the triceps. For example, if you are arm dragging your opponent’s right arm, bring your right arm inside of his arm (near the arm pit) and grasp it just above the elbow with your thumb pointing up.

Hot Tip: Hook

Make sure to keep all of your fingers together when performing the arm drag. Doing so will give you much better control of your opponent’s arm throughout the drag. Gripping an opponent’s arm in this manner is known informally as a “hook” or “meat hook.”

3. Pull Down & Away

Begin to pull your opponent’s arm down and away towards your foot that is opposite of his arm. That is, if you are dragging your opponent’s right arm, pull his arm down and towards your right foot. Pull his arm by using the drag, or the “hook,” you have on the inside of his arm. Then, use the grip you have on his wrist to help guide his arm down and towards your foot.

3. Reach for the Hip

As you perform the arm drag, your opponent’s body will turn and his back will be slightly exposed to you. Take a big step behind your opponent with your leg that is on the same side of your opponent’s body as the arm you are dragging. While you step, release the grip you have on your opponent’s wrist and reach behind him to secure his hip bone.

For example, if you’re dragging your opponent’s right arm, take a deep step behind your opponent with your left leg. You’ll also release his wrist with your left hand and reach behind his back to secure his left hip.

As you step in, make sure to keep dragging your opponent’s arm down and away. Keep your hips in towards your opponent once you grab his hip. Allowing space between your bodies will give him a better chance to escape.

4. Lock & Lift

You should be almost completely behind your opponent in this position with one hand on his hip and the other hand still gripping the inside of his arm. Now, release the grip you have on your opponent’s arm and force that hand towards the hand you have securing his hip. You can do this by trapping your opponent’s arm between your arm and his body as you reach to lock your hands together. You can also move your arm underneath his arm to get a body lock. Either way is fine.

For example, if you have your right hand securing your opponent’s upper arm and your left hand is on his left hip, release the grip you have on his right arm and reach for your left hand. Once you can do this, lock your hands and pull your opponent towards you.

Now you can lift your opponent off the mat in order to score the takedown:

  1. Lock your hands and pinch your elbows together to prevent your opponent from escaping.
  2. Step to the side of your opponent so your bodies are perpendicular to one another. (Either side is okay.)
  3. Bend your knees slightly and pinch your knees together to secure your opponent’s leg.
  4. Pop, or in other words, push your hips into your opponent.
  5. As you pop your hips, squeeze the body lock you have around your opponent and lift him off of the mat.
  6. While your opponent is off the mat, turn your elbows to sweep your opponent off his feet and get his body parallel to the mat.
  7. Release your lock as you hit the mat and stay on top of your opponent for the takedown!

Powerful Setup

You should now have a much better idea of how the arm drag works. Drill these basic steps regularly until you have the arm drag mastered. From there you can work on using your arm drag to set up other types of techniques. Check out the Related Guides section at the top right of this page for a few techniques that work well with the arm drag. Now what are you waiting for? Get drilling!

The arm drag is one of the most versatile setup techniques in all styles of wrestling. Learn the basic arm drag by reading this guide.
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