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How to Stack a Half in Wrestling

The half-nelson is one of the most common pinning techniques in all of wrestling. However, because the move is so popular, the best wrestlers defend the basic half-nelson almost effortlessly. This is where stacking the half comes in. If you know how to stack a half, you will be able to pin virtually any opponent. Keep reading to learn this effective pinning technique.

1. Start with a Half

Start by securing a half-nelson. If you need a refresher on this basic technique, check out iSport’s guide, How to Do a Half-nelson in Wrestling, in the Related Guides section at the right of this page.

Your opponent will likely be defending the half by turning his head and body away from you. As he does this, place your free arm underneath his armpit that’s on the opposite side of his body of where you are running the half on. From here, place the palm of that same hand on the mat. For example, if you have your half under your opponent’s right arm and over his head, place your left arm underneath his left armpit.

2. Pinch Your Elbows

Pinch both of your elbows together to secure your opponent’s midsection underneath his armpits. From here, place your cheek on the back of whichever hand you are using to perform the half with. For example, if you are using your right hand to perform the half, place your right cheek on the back of your right hand. This will allow you to keep pressure on your opponent’s head while you stack him.

Stacking the half was made popular by two-time NCAA champion and freestyle standout, “Mean” Gene Mills. He named this version of the half the “midnight express” because you are essentially driving your opponent towards 12 o’clock, and fast!

3. Hop Off & Drive

Hop off the leg you are straddling and move towards the side of your opponent’s body that you’ve secured the half on. Stay on your toes to apply pressure to the back of your opponent’s head. As you do this, drive him directly forward as you use the half to pull his head in towards you. Also, push off your free hand you have placed on the mat under your opponent’s far armpit to help drive yourself forward.

Essentially, you will be driving your opponent directly “over” his head. In other words, you will be forcing him to duck his head so you can drive him to his back.

4. Catch the Elbow

Stay on your toes and keep driving forward. If you apply enough pressure, you will force your opponent to duck his head, exposing his back and allowing you to stack him. Right before you have completely stacked him, raise your free arm (that was not used for the half) upwards to catch your opponent’s arm under his elbow. This is almost like doing a “bicep curl.” As you stack him, catching his elbow will allow you to secure his body to keep him from escaping.

Hot Tip: Prop up His Body

Use your free arm’s elbow (the arm you used to catch his arm) to “prop” his body up. Do this by using your elbow to push on his lower back after you’ve turned him. If you don’t prop his body up, he may fall forward and you could lose the stack.

From here, keep driving forward on your toes while keeping your hips down towards the mat. This will force your opponent’s shoulders to the mat and earn you the fall!

Pin Versatility

You should now understand how to perform this basic, yet effective, technique. Knowing how to stack the half-nelson is important because it gives you versatility. When the basic half doesn’t work, stacking the half almost always will. Make sure to drill this move to perfection before you use it in competition. Now get out there and start working on it!

All wrestlers should know how to stack the half-nelson. Learn how to stack and pin the best wrestlers by reading this guide.
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