Wrestling Defense: Building a Base

By building a solid base, you can defend against turns and find a way to escape back to your feet.

Wrestling from underneath can be uncomfortable. In the bottom position, your opponent is in control and in position to dominate the match.

You’ll need to work on the skills needed to get back to your feet and into a neutral position. If your opponent breaks you down and has you on your stomach, it’s important to be able to build yourself back into a base.

“In bottom position, it is critical to build a solid base to defend against turns and to find a way to escape,” Division I assistant coach and former collegiate wrestler David Terao says.


There are three steps to building a base when on the bottom:

  • Lift one hip to help you create space.
  • Slide your knee under your body.
  • Drive back into your opponent to position yourself back to a good base.

“Building a solid base in bottom position is the foundation for all bottom techniques and should be practiced regularly,” Terao says.

Once you’re in a solid base, you’ll be in position to attempt an escape or a reversal. The stand up is a technique used to return to your feet. The switch can put you in position to score a reversal. The Granby roll can help you do both.

If you can execute a reversal and get into the top position, you’ll have an opportunity to score or go for a pin. The gut wrench can help you record two points as you roll your opponent on their shoulders.