In Greco-Roman wrestling, there may be an infinite number of ways to lift an opponent from par terre, but that doesn’t mean most high-scorers don’t have their go-to’s they know are dependable. Take the straddle lift. Performed for decades (and decades), it is one lift in particular preferred by many wrestlers throughout the world because when executed correctly, opponents have no choice but to go over. The straddle lift is quick, effective, and best of all, capable of yielding big points even against the most ardent defenders.
Ryan Hope of the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club is one of America’s throwbacks. He could have competed in any era for the sheer reason that he is always looking to score from top with classical lifts backed by innovative tweaks which allow for maximum exposure. That’s why he likes to go straddle lift. In the video below, Hope is coaching a group of youth wrestlers and was kind enough to have someone film his demonstration of the technique. You’ll notice the requisite nuances right away — Hope acquires his lock around the floating ribs and brings pressure with his chest. He then points his toes and pushes his head down on his partner’s back before he sets and comes up.
As soon as Hope has his lock and puts adequate pressure downward on his opponent’s back, he steps his legs out and re-cinches. This enables him to secure the position before arching over — a critical detail, for to rush through the motion can mean losing grip and/or the lock altogether. Hope emphasizes that he “sits down” a bit on his opponent so as not to be bucked off. Next, he steps out and arches the straddle lift over.
In the second clip, Hope shows a variation that may come in handy. “I like this setup because it’s making him think I’m going one way and then I’m going the other way,” he says. For this one, Hope hops over to his partner’s left side. He then hopes back in to secure and steps back out from where he started with his feet set. “It’s a fast-feet ladder-type thing,” Hope explains in the video. “I’m going from one side of the ladder and back through.”
Definitely get comfortable with the straddle lift if you are new to this technique or Greco-Roman altogether. No matter what level of wrestling you are coaching or competing at, the timelessness and efficiency of the lift can help turn bogged-down par terre opportunities into a chain-scoring frenzy that not only brings points, but can end matches altogether.