Is Being Tall Good for Wrestling?

25 July 2022

If you’re just getting into wrestling or are finding a new level of interest in the sport, you might be wondering how different body types match up against each other. For example, is being tall good for wrestling?

Many people actually consider it more of an advantage to be short in wrestling, rather than tall, because you have a low center of gravity and higher muscle density. In reality, though, there are many positives to being a tall wrestler that can be used against a smaller opponent.

Read ahead to find out what it’s like to be a taller wrestler, and how it can actually be a real positive if you know what you’re doing.

Are Taller Wrestlers More Successful?

Statistically speaking, wrestlers actually tend to be on the shorter side, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that being smaller is better. When it comes down to it, skill plays a much bigger part in any match-up than body type. If you have learned how to use your height in the right way, it can definitely feel like a natural advantage.

With that being said, there are also reasons why it can help to be a bit shorter as well, so you need to understand what you will be up against.

One of the beautiful things about wrestling is that anyone can have fun and hold their own, no matter how tall or short they are. It’s not like basketball, where you feel like you have to be built a certain way to compete at the highest level.

How Is Being Tall Good for Wrestling?

So, what are the actual advantages to being a bit taller on the mat? What can that extra height add to your game?

  • Longer reach. This is the big one. Having more reach can make a big difference because you can keep your opponent away from you and engage on your terms, but you do need to have fast reactions and great skill to make the most of it.
  • Better Spread. If you’ve got long arms and legs, you can sprawl much more effectively, and you can reach the mat and around your opponent in ways that they can’t.
  • More leverage. It’s not just about your own ability to be flexible and dynamic – you can have an advantage in throwing as well. Long legs give you a lot more leverage, which can be devastating if you know how to use it.

How Is Being Tall a Challenge for Wrestling?

It’s not all positive for tall people in wrestling, though. In fact, you will have a number of challenges to overcome. You can easily get caught out if you don’t understand where your natural weaknesses might be, and how to counteract the strategies that a shorter person might use against you.

  • High center of gravity. A shorter opponent will be naturally more stable and sturdy, so they will find it easier to put you off balance. You don’t want to let a short wrestler get in close, because that’s where they have the upper hand.
  • Low muscle density. Because you will be a similar weight to your opponent, despite their smaller stature, they are going to have higher muscle density. This generally means that you will be wrestling someone who has more brute strength than you.
  • Vulnerable limbs. Long limbs can be a point of weakness that another wrestler will look to attack. You have to be careful about your positioning so that you don’t open your legs up for an attack.

What Is a Good Strategy for Tall Wrestlers?

No matter what size or shape you are as a wrestler, you need to figure out what works for you. Everybody is different, so your strategy might not be the same as someone else that is your height, but there are some things that give taller competitors the edge over a shorter wrestler.

Keeping your distance is almost always a key part of the strategy. At arm’s length, you will be able to stop blows and pick your grabs much easier than they can. Cradles and ankle takedowns tend to be more effective when you have the height advantage as well.

Summary: Is Being Tall Good for Wrestling?

So, is being tall good for wrestling? It certainly can be, if you develop your technique around it. In some ways, it can be easier to be a shorter wrestler, as you are likely to have more muscle strength and be more stable on your feet, but a good tall wrestler will know how to use their height to their benefit.

You will have more reach than your opponent, and more leverage, and if you know what you’re doing you can be incredibly difficult to throw. At the end of the day, it’s how you develop yourself and adapt to your natural advantages that will matter the most.