Wrestling Moves Staggered Stance

Starting With A Dynamic Base

If the squared stance is one of the first things to add to your Wrestling Moves List you can be sure the staggered stance is the next.   The staggered stance arguably offers more striking ability than the squared stance.  This stance gives the wrestler the ability move forward slightly more rapidly than the squared stance.  (as a track sprinter would have coming out of the blocks)

The Stance

The wrestler will place their feet at just slightly wider than shoulder width apart and facing forward towards their opponent.  One foot and leg should be about a step  and a half in front of the other foot.   The distance varies from body style to body style however you do not want this to be two narrow or too wide. 

The front knee should be bent slightly at about a 15  degree angle and should be pointing in the same direction as the feet.  The rear knee will have about a 10 degree angle.   As in the squared stance your hips are probably the most critical balance point in this position.  Your hips should be facing up and forward.  This will help you maintain your center of gravity in the correct position. 

Your hands should be placed in front of you just in between your stomach and hip area.  They should be centered between your feet in a position to ward off a leg attack (especially from the exposed front leg) or engage in a tie up.  Your fingers should be spread out as if you were carrying a ball in front of you and your elbows should be lightly touching your ribcage.   Your back with be hunched over with a very gentle curve which will minimize your exposed upper body torso area and shave a few milliseconds off of your offensive transitions.  Your head should be positioned facing up and forward.

It is all about Balance

The goal of the square stance it to find yourself in a very balanced position.   Your weight should be distributed with slightly more weight on your rear foot.  This will give you the maximum amount of explosive push power as you move forward for a strike.  You will have most of your weight balanced across the foot avoiding putting too much weight on the toes, balls and especially the heels.   If you were pushed on the shoulder or the forehead by an opponent you should be able to maintain your stance without having to take a step back.  If you were to be pushed from the side you should also be able to avoid taking a step to one side or another.  One easy test to see if you are in the correct position is to lift your front foot off the mat without to make much weight ditribution change. 

Things to Avoid – Balance Killers

Feet and Legs:  Don’t let your feet get too wide apart or too narrow.  Make sure you do not point your feet inward or too far outward.   Insure that you don’t put too much weight on your front leg.   This will make it difficult to move and will open you up to a quick strike from your opponent.

Knees:  Make sure you keep a good flex without bending your knees too much and not letting them straighten out… this goes for both the front striking leg and the rear power leg.

Hips:  Don’t drop your hips too far forward, backwards or open them up to much to the side.  They will open up slightly sideways due to the step you are taking.  However keep them a square and forward as possible to maintain good weight distribution.

Hands:  Don’t drop your hands.


Feet and Legs:

Arms and Hands:  Holding on arm extended out in front facing up with you elbow away from the ribcage  and one hand held back palm down.  This gives the ability to snatch offer your hand to your opponent in order to attempt to snatch their hand.  This can be used for a transition or a setup.

Back:  A straight back stance is sometimes taught in order to keep a better balance point on the body.   However mostly this is avoided.


Circle movement: As with the Squred Stance the wrestler will take a small steps with a leading foot in one direction to the side and step-drag the other foot behind maintaining the staggered stance position. These steps should be inches apart.  Too big of a step will lead to quickly falling out of balance.  This is especially true with the staggered stance.  The small steps side to side  is often done mirroring the opponents circle movement. The direction of the circle movement is often changing back and forth in an attempt to gain advantage by exposing an opponent off-balance  in-between steps or with an open leg.  It is of up most importance that you maintain your balance will performing this side step motion.   

TIP: If your opponent is rushing the circle movement be sure to take rapid small steps versus any one large side step.

Move Forward/Backward:  The movement forward and backward should be done with small steps (inches at a time).   All the while the wrestler should maintain their center of gravity over the hips and keep the weight off the front foot.

Penetration Step Forward:  The step forward is used to transition into an offensive movement.  The wrestler will push off with the back foot and take a deep step forward directly at or slightly to one side of their opponent.  


  • Single Leg
  • Double Leg
  • Tie Up
  • Duck Under
  • Fireman’s Carry
  • Ankle Pick


  • Head Snaps
  • Hand Snatch


  • First Step Loses
  • Man in the Mirror

1 Comment

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  1. Circling in a staggered stance is similar to moving forward and backwards. It is very important to move your lead leg first when you circle since moving your trail leg first leaves you more vulnerable to being taken down.

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