Freestyle Wrestling Rules

Two freestyle wrestlers grappling on the  matt.
Two wrestlers grappling on the ground. Credit: Photo by Duren Williams:

Freestyle Wrestling Rules – Introduction

Freestyle wrestling is a popular form of competitive wrestling, contested in both high school and college levels. It is a form of amateur wrestling that is practiced throughout the world. It has its origins in the catch-as-catch-can style of wrestling and is considered to be the international version of wrestling. Freestyle wrestling rules are regulated by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), and is an Olympic sport. It is also an event in the Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games. It is characterized by its greater emphasis on athleticism and technique, and it allows more freedom of attack than Greco-Roman wrestling.

The rules and regulations of freestyle wrestling have been developed to ensure the safety and fairness of competition. They are designed to ensure that wrestlers are able to compete on an equal footing with their opponents, and to prevent injuries. The rules of freestyle wrestling also provide guidelines for how wrestlers should conduct themselves in the ring. They are designed to ensure that wrestlers are able to compete in a safe and respectful manner.

Rules of Freestyle Wrestling

Weight Classes

In freestyle wrestling, there are seven different weight classes for male wrestlers, and four weight classes for female wrestlers. These weight classes are based on the overall weight of the wrestler and are divided into categories such as lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. The weight classes are designed to ensure that wrestlers of similar sizes are able to compete against each other, and that there is a fair and even playing field for all wrestlers. In addition to the weight classes, there are also age classes for wrestlers. These age classes are based on the age of the wrestler and are designed to ensure that wrestlers of similar ages are able to compete against each other.


In freestyle wrestling, points are awarded for various offensive and defensive moves. The most common way to score points in a freestyle wrestling match is through takedowns. A takedown occurs when one wrestler takes control of their opponent and brings them to the ground. Points are also awarded for reversals, where one wrestler is able to reverse the position of their opponent, and for escapes, where one wrestler is able to escape from their opponent’s control. And points are awarded for other offensive and defensive moves, such as near falls and pins.

Duration of Match

In freestyle wrestling, the duration of a match is three minutes for men and two minutes for women. The clock is stopped for various reasons, such as when the referee calls a break in the action, when a wrestler is injured, or when a wrestler is penalized. If the match lasts the full duration without a winner being determined, the bout is declared a draw.

Legal/Illegal Moves

In freestyle wrestling, there are a number of legal and illegal moves. Legal moves include takedowns, reversals, and escapes. Illegal moves include head-butting, biting, gouging, and striking. If a wrestler is found to be using illegal moves, they can be given a penalty, which can range from a warning to a disqualification. The referee is the final authority on what moves are legal and which are illegal in a freestyle wrestling match.


When participating in a freestyle wrestling match, it is important for athletes to wear the correct equipment to ensure their safety and to abide by the rules. This equipment includes clothing, shoes, and protective gear.


Freestyle wrestlers must wear singlets that have a solid back and sides and a partially open or full mesh front. The singlets should fit snugly, but comfortably, and should be in the traditional red and blue colors. Wrestlers may not wear t-shirts, shorts, or any other type of clothing, as this is not allowed according to the rules of the sport.

Wrestlers should also wear appropriate undergarments, such as a sports bra for women and briefs for both genders. These should also fit correctly, as they will help to ensure the wrestler’s comfort and mobility throughout the match.


When competing in a freestyle wrestling match, it is important for athletes to wear the right type of shoes. Wrestlers must wear shoes with a hard rubber sole and a leather upper that is securely fastened to the sole. Shoes with spikes or any other type of sharp edges are not allowed. Shoes should also fit snugly, but not too tightly, as they must not impede the wrestler’s movement.

Protective Gear

Protective gear is an important part of freestyle wrestling, as it helps to ensure the safety of the wrestlers during the match. Protection gear includes headgear, which is designed to protect a wrestler’s ears and head from any potential trauma, and a mouth guard, which is designed to protect their teeth and mouth.

Wrestlers must also wear a cup and supporter, which is designed to provide additional protection for the groin area. Finally, wrestlers must wear kneepads, which are designed to protect the knees from any potential impact during the match.


A successful freestyle wrestling match requires both offense and defense strategies. While each wrestler will have their own individual strategies, there are some key principles that all wrestlers should adhere to.


Offense strategies in freestyle wrestling involve taking control of the match by attacking and attempting to score points. Wrestlers should focus on taking their opponent down to the mat, and then using holds and other techniques to maintain control and score points. It is also important for wrestlers to stay aggressive and maintain a high work rate throughout the match.

When attacking, wrestlers should aim to make their moves unpredictable, as this will make it difficult for their opponent to counter their offense. Wrestlers should also aim to mix up their attack, using a variety of techniques to keep their opponent guessing and to prevent them from establishing an effective defense.


Defense strategies in freestyle wrestling involve using a variety of techniques to prevent the opponent from scoring points. Wrestlers should use their body weight and leverage to prevent their opponent from taking them down and should also use counter moves to counter their opponent’s attacks. Wrestlers should stay mobile and avoid getting stuck in one position, as this will make it easier for their opponent to take control of the match.

Finally, wrestlers should always be prepared to defend against submissions, as this can be the difference between winning and losing a match. Wrestlers should use a variety of techniques to escape from submission holds, and should also aim to stay aware of their opponent’s position at all times.


Freestyle wrestling is an exciting and fast-paced sport that has been around for centuries. The rules of freestyle wrestling are designed to ensure fairness and safety for all participants. Freestyle wrestling is a sport that requires strength, agility, and knowledge of the rules to be successful. It is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.

The rules of freestyle wrestling are based on a points system. Points are awarded for takedowns, reversals, escapes, and other techniques executed in the match. The wrestler with the most points at the end of the match is declared the winner.

Freestyle wrestling is a great way to stay active, have fun, and stay in shape. Safety is the top priority when participating in any type of wrestling. Proper protective gear should always be worn and wrestlers should abide by the rules of freestyle wrestling. With proper preparation and knowledge of the rules, freestyle wrestling can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.