Does Size Matter in Wrestling?

Some sports can feel like your body type is everything, and some people seem to have a huge natural advantage. In wrestling, your size does have a big impact on how you perform, but perhaps not in the way that you might think.

Bigger wrestlers aren’t necessarily going to find the sport easier or more difficult, and the same is true for smaller wrestlers. Your size and body type are something that you learn to work with. Every size has different advantages that can give you an edge on the mat.

Read ahead to find out all about how size matters in the world of wrestling, and whether it really helps to be big or small.

Why Does Size Matter in Wrestling?

While size is essential in sport, it’s really your weight that is more likely to affect the overall outcome of any match-up. There’s a reason why wrestlers are put into weight classes rather than “height” or “reach” classes. 

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A heavier opponent is harder to move, pin, and lift – if you don’t have the same kind of weight to throw around – and they can have a lot more muscle as well. Just because you’re in the same weight class, though, that doesn’t mean that you will be the same size or shape. Those things do matter as well.

The difference when it comes to size is that you can use it to your advantage, whether you are naturally bigger or naturally smaller. If you weigh about the same as your opponent, then there’s always everything chance that you can take the match, no matter how large or tiny they might look.

Is It Better to Be Bigger or Smaller in Wrestling?

This is the real question that people want to know: is my size going to impact how hard the sport is? Are some people just always going to be better? Don’t let your size put you off because, in wrestling, any body type can be a benefit.

As soon as you start learning the sport, you will begin to figure out that there are certain things that you will be better at or find easier, and some things that are just naturally more challenging – based on your stature.

This is true for everybody, no matter how they might be built. Every wrestler learns how to use their size to their advantage, and how to their opponent’s size against them.

To get an idea of how that might work, let’s talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of being bigger or smaller when you’re wrestling.

Bigger Wrestlers:

  • Long arms give you extra reach. It is easier to keep distance from your opponent when you’re a bit taller, and you can be the first one to grab and find a hold.
  • Being tall makes you harder to throw. If you’ve got long arms and legs, you can spread yourself further and your sprawl will be much more effective.
  • You can have more leverage. Long legs mean more leverage for tilting your opponent’s body, which can give you the advantage and open them up for a pin.

If you’re a taller wrestler, you want to keep your opponent at arm’s length and look for opportunities to use your long limbs. Cradles, hip throws, and ankle takedowns can be really effective for a tall competitor.

Smaller Wrestlers:

  • Low center of gravity. One of the biggest benefits of a shorter stature is a low center of gravity, which keeps you strong and stable and makes it easier to tilt your opponent off balance.
  • Bone density. Generally speaking, smaller wrestlers have higher bone density, which makes it harder to move (and you are less likely to suffer from broken bones).
  • Muscle density. Higher muscle density means more brute strength, which is obviously a big deal when you’re wrestling.

If you’re on the smaller side, you want to get in close and stay low to the ground. Single leg takedowns and lower body work are areas where you will have the greatest advantage.

Summary: Does Size Matter in Wrestling?

So, does size matter in wrestling? It does, but it doesn’t necessarily give anyone the upper hand. Your size will affect what you will be good at, and there are pros and cons to being a tall or a small wrestler.

Once you learn to utilize the strengths of your own body and understand the vulnerabilities of others, then you can start winning at any size.