Facing taller and bigger opponents in Wrestling is inevitable. With that, do you know how to beat someone bigger than you in Wrestling? Here’s the short answer:
You can out-wrestle a bigger Wrestler by attacking the legs. Shoot a lot of high and low crotches. Be confident and confuse your opponent with numerous feints. Because you’re smaller, you’ll have the speed advantage, so use this to wear down your opponent.
Ready to dunk on bigger Wrestlers? Below is an in-depth explanation of all the things you need.
Common challenges with bigger Wrestling opponents
Facing bigger Wrestling opponents is a pain in the butt. Below are examples of the most common challenges you can encounter.
You might get intimidated
Wrestling or not, fighting a bigger guy can be intimidating. But don’t let this get to you. Believe in yourself and the training that you’ve been through.
If you get intimidated, you’ll fear your opponent. Soon enough, you’ll be afraid to shoot your takedowns and execute the game plan from your training camp.
Fear will also keep you mentally blocked. This will remove your awareness and composure during the match. So focus on your opponent and take your chances.
The best thing to do is to hype yourself up and enjoy the moment. Always remember the story of David vs. Goliath; if David can, so can you.
They can overpower you
Bigger biceps, chests, and arms don’t always mean more power. You can only get overpowered by your opponent if your moves are sloppy because you’re afraid and overthinking your actions.
Getting overpowered is the last thing you want to happen in a wrestling match. This will cause you to be pinned, get taken down, and rag-dolled by your opponent.
Despite being smaller or thinner, your power can still work on your bigger opponent. You can do this with the help of timing.
With timing, you can take advantage of your opponent’s momentum, body weight, and movements for a takedown and pin them.
There are a lot of small and thin wrestlers who have succeeded in the MMA world. They have fought much taller and much bulkier fighters and managed to win with their wrestling.
Fewer moves to use
Because you’re fighting taller and bigger opponents, there are some moves you need to avoid.
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These moves must be avoided because they can give your larger opponents an advantage, allowing them to counter you more easily.
For example, you can’t go for a body tackle on bulkier opponents because you might not get your hands wrapped around them properly or have enough force to bring them down.
Wrestling a taller opponent won’t allow you to perform most head and arm pulls because your reach is limited compared to them. Even if you can get a grab, it’s a risk.
The best thing to do is to attack the legs. This way, you will destroy their balance, no matter how big they are.
An excellent move to try is a high or low crotch. A low crotch is recommended for taller guys. For bulky opponents, go for the high crotch.
Tips for taking down a taller opponent in Wrestling
A tall opponent can be quite deceiving. Below are some helpful tips to counter these tower-like Wrestlers.
Go for leg trips
Leg tripping is a famous move used in many ground martial arts, such as BJJ and Judo. You can also use this in Wrestling to dispose of your opponent’s long legs.
Match your leg trips with speed and timing. If your opponent is tall, it’s more likely that their legs will be left isolated so attacking their legs is the way to go.
Leg trips are notoriously effective on tall guys and on all Wrestlers in general. The legs are the foundation of the body’s equilibrium. Without it, a guaranteed pin is on its way.
If you’re not comfortable on the leg trips, you can try high and low crotches. This move also works well in dismantling a Wrestler’s balance.
Pick your actions carefully
Being too reckless will cause you to lose a match, especially against a tall fighter. Stay wise with your choice of moves, and always think two steps ahead.
A taller opponent can see your body language better with their height advantage.
Mix your Wrestling skills with fight IQ. A good thing to do is to make great leg trip openings with takedown fakes.
Wrestling is not just about physicality; there’s also a mental game involved in this sport that I love. Outsmarting your opponent is equal to outpowering them with your gains.
Talking to yourself during the match is a great way to pick your actions. Consider yourself as an ally, and speak to yourself if your next move is practical or not.
Based on personal experience, talking to myself during a high stake situation was an excellent way to improve my decision-making and lessen the pressure.
You can’t win at anything if you’re not confident in what you’re doing. Believe in yourself. If you lose, put your head up and continue striving for improvement.
Being confident will remove fear from your system when fighting a taller Wrestler. You can execute your game plan better against anyone if you’re confident.
If you lack confidence during a match, there’s a big chance that you’ll get rattled. Getting rattled will make you reckless and an easier opponent to pin down.
To improve your confidence in the mats, hype yourself up before, during, and after the match, no matter what the outcome. Think of the people that inspire you to win in life.
When you wear your Wrestling singlet, know that you’re the best Wrestler in the world!
Tips for taking down a heavier opponent in Wrestling
Taking down a heavier opponent is not easy but also not impossible. Try doing these things below.
Take advantage of your speed
Being lighter in weight will give you a good speed advantage. You can use this to surprise your heavier opponent. Heavier guys tend to have slower reaction times.
But the strength of a wrestler is extremely impactful, which is why strength-to-weight ratio is the most critical factor in winning.
You can take advantage of your speed advantage in shooting takedowns and fakes. Being quick will make you illusive; this will make you harder to counter and defend.
If you’re successful on your takedown plan, continue utilizing your speed on the ground to work your way through the pin.
Your speed will help you transition to different wrestling positions and, eventually, a match-ending pin.
Be sure not to move too much; it’s still important to conserve your energy. You don’t want to be gassed out against a heavier guy.
Use a lot of feints
Mix your speed with unlimited feints. There are no rules that limit your feints, so use as much as you can. This will leave your heavier and slower opponent confused about when to react.
Use a variety of feints. You can act to go for a body clinch one moment and then fake a low crotch the next. Do this until you see that your opponent’s not reacting on the feints anymore.
If your opponent stops believing in your attempts, then that’s precisely the right time to do it.
Catching your opponent off-guard is almost a guaranteed takedown because there’s little to no time to defend.
The key to making your feints work is to ensure you’re not displaying a pattern. The effort becomes useless if you have a feint pattern because your moves can be easily read.
Aim for the legs
Don’t risk trying to perform a body throw against a heavier opponent. Be smart and attack the legs instead; destroying their balance is the goal.
There are plenty of moves to choose from. You can go for a high and low crotch or a leg trip. Any of these will do great in taking down a heavy Wrestler.
Of course, you can’t just go for the legs every time. Learn your opponent’s movements first; find your timing, and then explode.
Be persistent with the legs but don’t overdo it to the point where you’re losing points or being countered.
Final say on beating bigger opponents in Wrestling
Skill and fight IQ is useless if you don’t have the confidence to use them. Yes, defeating a bigger Wrestler is hard, but it’s far from impossible. With the correct technique and a good amount of self-belief, anyone, including you, can pull it off.
Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.