How to Do a Headlock in Wrestling


The headlock, also known as a head and arm throw, is a common and powerful pinning technique in wrestling. Though it is also useful for scoring back points, pinning an opponent ends a match immediately. That fact makes the headlock a powerful tool to defeat an opponent quickly and conserve energy during tournaments with multiple matches. Learning the headlock will give you the opportunity to end a match earlier. It will also give you a tool to use in desperation when a victory is needed immediately.

  • Stay on your feet while your opponent does the same. While both on your feet, tie your parter up with one hand cupping over his triceps. The other hand should be around his neck and should be resting on the nape. This is a common position when tying up, and it will not automatically signal that you are attempting a headlock.

  • Step in towards your partner quickly. Your leading leg should be on the same side being used to cup the nape. As you step in, powerfully rotate your body inward. Pull your partner's arm across your waist, using your handhold on his triceps. As you turn, catch your partner's head in your armpit. Extend the hand that was resting on his nape. Wrap it further around his neck.

  • Fall backward. Keep your partner's head and arm held fast. When you go down to the mat, your partner will be on his back. Lean on him with your back. Place one arm around his head. Pull his arm across your waist. At this point, lock your hands. His head and one arm should be stuck in your grasp.

  • Keep pressure on your opponent, Stay on your heels and squeeze the headlock as tight as possible. Lift his head so that he cannot bride off his neck.

  • Try to keep your body at a T with your partner. Staying perpendicular will enable you to exert more pressure. Prevent escape by paying careful attention to him. Make sure to keep your center of mass from straying too far to the opposite side of your opponent, or he will be able to roll you over and escape. At worse, he could even reverse your situation. If you feel yourself being rolled over, arch your back and attempt to stop the roll by propping yourself up with your head.

Tips & Warnings

  • A headlock is a dynamic move. You must exert an explosive effort to have success.
  • It is illegal to use a headlock in wrestling if it does not include the arm in the hold. A headlock around only the neck is dangerous. Make sure to lock your grip around the head and arm.

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