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How to Escape a Pin in Wrestling

Wrestling pinning his opponentLearning how to escape a pin, or “fight” off of your back, is one of the most important skills for beginning wrestlers to master. Being able to get off of your back keeps you from being pinned and allows you to continue the match. For this reason, learning how to keep from getting pinned is invaluable.

Below, you’ll find the basic steps to escape a pin. Before you can begin doing this, though, be sure you are able to perform a neck bridge. If you aren’t familiar with the neck bridge, check out iSport’s guide, “How to Do a Neck Bridge,” in the Related Guides section to the right of this page.

1. Arch Up

The first step to escaping a pin is arching up into a neck bridge to keep your back off the mat. Dig your heels into the mat and push your weight (and your opponent’s) onto your head as you arch your back. Try to arch up as much as you can; you should be on the very top of your head in this position. After digging your heels into the mat, you can push off of your toes to arch your back even more. Your opponent will be on top of you, chest-to-chest, in this position.

2. Drop Your Body & Wedge

You now are able to start the process of getting back to your stomach. To do this:

  1. Bend your knees slightly to lower your body and drop the height of your neck bridge. Do this quickly to create space between your opponent’s chest and yours.
  2. With your hand flat on your chest and your fingers together, “wedge” your hand into the space you created between your opponent’s chest and yours. Use your outside hand, or the hand furthest from your opponent, to do this. For example, if your opponent is positioned on your left side while you are on your back, wedge your right hand into the space between your bodies.

This will allow you to position your body to turn into your opponent and get back to your stomach.

Hot Tip: Exceptions to the Rule

There may be times that are appropriate to use the hand nearest to your opponent’s body to wedge into the space between your chests. This is appropriate if your furthest arm is being controlled by your opponent, or if there is a clear opportunity to get your near arm through. In this case, just reverse the directions so that you are wedging with your near arm and turning away from your opponent rather than towards him.

3. Turn & Scissor Your Legs

Start to turn your body into your opponent as you wedge your arm through. As you do this, scissor your legs toward your opponent to get to your belly. Cross the furthest leg from your opponent over your near leg to completely turn onto your stomach. For example, if your opponent is positioned on your left, scissor your right leg over your left leg and turn into your opponent.

Keep turning into your opponent until you get to your stomach. Keep in mind that your opponent will be doing what he can in order to keep you on your back, including:

  • Lifting your head off of the mat so you cannot bridge
  • Controlling the arm you are using to wedge so you cannot turn

Often times, escaping a pin is a struggle that takes constant effort and adjustments to your positioning in order to get back to your belly — this is why the process is commonly known as “fighting” off of your back. So, don’t worry if your initial attempt at getting off of your back isn’t immediately successful. Just continue the previous steps until you are safely back on your stomach again.

Determined to Win

You will now be able to properly escape a pin and get back to your stomach. Drill these steps during training to make sure you can escape a pin quickly and efficiently. In addition to the skills learned in this guide, it is equally important to maintain a positive attitude. Refusing to be pinned, coupled with an attitude that you will do anything to get off of your back, will go a long way in all levels of wrestling.

Good luck!

Knowing how to escape a pin and get off of your back is a crucial skill for beginning wrestlers. Learn the basics of escaping a pin in this must-read guide.
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