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The Spiral Ride & Breakdown in Wrestling

If there is one technique that all folkstyle wrestlers should know, it’s the spiral ride. Often simply known as the “spiral,” this move can be used to effectively control and break an opponent down when in the top position. The sooner you learn this move, the better. Keeping reading to learn the fundamentals of the spiral ride and breakdown.

1. Start with Your Palm Up

From referee’s position, you have to adjust the way you start if you want to gain the advantage over your opponent with the spiral. While on top, take the hand you are using to cup your opponent’s elbow and turn your palm up for an underhanded grip. Your thumb should now be on the outside of his elbow. This will give you the ability to quickly get your arm under your opponent’s near-side arm once the referee blows his whistle. Your other arm will remain around your opponent’s midsection, as normal.

2. Block the Arm

On the whistle, release the grip you have on your opponent’s elbow and place your arm underneath his near-side armpit. For example, if you used your left hand to cup his left elbow, release that grip and place your left arm underneath his left armpit. Keep your palm up and place the inside of your forearm — just above your thumb — high on his triceps, near the armpit.

The placement of your arm should be “shallow.” That means you shouldn’t get your arm too far “deep” under his armpit. If you can touch the palm of your hand to your opponent’s near-side pectoral, you are in good position. This depth will allow you to block and drive against your opponent’s arm in order to break him down.

3. Spiral the Thigh

Release the tight waist and move your hand down towards your opponent’s same-side thigh. For example, if you initially used your right arm for the tight waist, move it down towards his right thigh. From here, spiral his thigh (reach your hand inside of his thigh) and place your palm against his inner thigh.

4. Get on Your Feet

With your arms placed in the correct position, get on your feet. Make sure to keep your chest in contact with your opponent’s back as you do this. Your chest should be positioned high on your opponent’s back, near his shoulder blades. Your head should be over your opponent’s shoulder on the opposite side of his body, next to his head. (If you’re positioned on the left side of his body, your head will “hang” slightly over his right shoulder.) Position your legs slightly behind you so you can pressure into your opponent. This is the spiral ride.

Hot Tip: Heavy Hands

The key to breaking your opponent down with the spiral is to force all of your weight onto his hands. This will prevent him from moving and it will allow you to break him off of his base.

5. Circle & Break Him Down

With your hips parallel to your opponent’s body, start taking big steps and walk your feet in a circle towards his hands. As you circle, use your forearm to push his arm forward and press against his inner thigh with the palm of your hand. Essentially, you are moving both of your arms away from one another in opposite directions. Use your legs to pressure into him as you do this.

You may not be able to break your opponent down instantly with the spiral. However, if you stay heavy on top of him, circle your feet quickly, and continue to move his arm and leg away from each other with your spiral grips — you will eventually break him flat!

Move Off of the Whistle

You should now understand how the spiral ride works and how to use it to break down an opponent. Use the information detailed in this guide to help you perfect this move in practice until it is ready for competition. If you drill this technique correctly, you will be able to surprise your opponents with it from referee’s position right off the whistle! Good luck!

All folkstyle wrestlers should know how to perform the spiral ride and how to use it to break down an opponent, as well. Check out this guide to learn all the basics.
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