Greco-Roman Wrestling Rules

Wrestlers grappling in the dirt
Two wrestlers grappling on the ground. Credit: Photo by Aqib Shahid:

Introduction to the Rules of Greco-Roman Wrestling

Greco-Roman wrestling is a traditional form of amateur wrestling that has been around for centuries. It is one of the oldest forms of competitive wrestling, and is one of the three main styles of wrestling that is contested in the Olympic Games. Greco-Roman wrestling is known for its emphasis on upper body strength, and the techniques used in this style of wrestling are distinct from other styles of wrestling. The rules of Greco-Roman wrestling are similar to those of other forms of wrestling, such as freestyle and folkstyle. However, there are some distinct differences that make Greco-Roman wrestling unique. These differences can be seen in the scoring system, the types of holds allowed, and the penalties for illegal moves.

The rules of Greco-Roman wrestling are important for wrestlers to understand and follow in order to ensure fair competition and safe participation in the sport. Knowing the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling can help wrestlers better understand the sport and have a better chance at success.

Rules of Greco-Roman Wrestling

Scoring System

The scoring system of Greco-Roman wrestling is designed to award points for successful offensive moves. Points are awarded for successful takedowns, turns, and exposures. A takedown is awarded when one wrestler takes the other wrestler to the mat. A turn is awarded when a wrestler is able to gain a dominant position over their opponent. An exposure is awarded when a wrestler is able to make their opponent’s back touch the mat for two seconds.

Points are also awarded for violations and penalties. A point is awarded to the wrestler who did not commit the violation or penalty. Penalties can be given for a variety of infractions, including illegal holds, stalling, and out-of-bounds violations.

The wrestler with the most points at the end of the match is declared the winner. If the score is tied at the end of the match, a referee may call for a tiebreaker round.

Types of Holds

The types of holds allowed in Greco-Roman wrestling are designed to emphasize upper body strength. The most common type of hold used in Greco-Roman wrestling is the “overhook”. This hold is used by one wrestler to control the other wrestler’s arms and head. Other types of holds that are allowed in Greco-Roman wrestling include the “arm drag”, the “headlock”, and the “waistlock”.

All holds must be applied with control, and any hold that is applied recklessly or with the intent to injure is not allowed. Additionally, any holds that involve the legs, such as leg trips or takedowns, are not allowed in Greco-Roman wrestling.


Penalties are an important part of Greco-Roman wrestling, and they are used to discourage illegal moves or unsafe wrestling techniques. The most common penalties that are given in Greco-Roman wrestling are cautions and warnings. A caution is given when a wrestler commits a minor infraction, such as stalling or an illegal hold. A warning is given when a wrestler commits a serious infraction, such as an intentional foul or out-of-bounds violation.

If a wrestler accumulates three cautions or one warning, they are disqualified from the match. Additionally, certain infractions, such as intentional fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct, may result in immediate disqualification.

It is important for wrestlers to understand and follow the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling in order to ensure a fair and safe match. Knowing and following the rules of this style of wrestling can help wrestlers have a better chance at success.

Techniques of Greco-Roman Wrestling


In Greco-Roman wrestling, the use of grips is essential to the sport. The most common grip is the over-under grip, which is achieved by the wrestlers intertwining their hands, with one arm going over the opponent’s arm and the other arm going under. This grip allows the wrestlers to maintain control of their opponent and to make use of various throws and holds. Other grips, such as the collar-and-elbow, body-lock, and leg-grip, can also be used to gain an advantage over one’s opponent.


Throws are an important technique used in Greco-Roman wrestling. They involve using grips to control one’s opponent and then using leverage to lift or throw them to the mat. Throws can be used to score points by pinning the opponent or to gain a dominant position, such as a top position, to control the opponent. Throws are often used in combination with other techniques to achieve a successful outcome.


Pins are a technique used to immobilize an opponent in Greco-Roman wrestling. To achieve a pin, the wrestler must control the opponent and then use their body weight to press the opponent’s shoulders to the mat for a certain period of time. Pins are the most effective way to score points in Greco-Roman wrestling and can be used to win a match.

Safety Considerations

Protective Gear

Safety is an important consideration in Greco-Roman wrestling. Wrestlers should wear protective gear such as headgear, kneepads, and elbow pads to protect themselves from injury. Additionally, wrestlers should practice proper technique to avoid injury and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Injury Prevention

Injury prevention is an important part of Greco-Roman wrestling. Wrestlers should use the proper techniques and avoid dangerous moves, such as headlocks and body slams, to protect themselves and their opponents. Additionally, wrestlers should warm up and stretch before and after practice or competition to help prevent injuries.

Conclusion: Greco-Roman Wrestling Rules

Greco-Roman wrestling is an ancient form of grappling that is still practiced today. It features a range of complex rules and regulations which must be followed to ensure the safety of competitors and maintain competitive fairness. The rules of Greco-Roman wrestling require competitors to use only their upper bodies to attack, and the lower body is used only to defend against attacks. In addition, the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling forbid holds below the waist, and any form of tripping, kicking, gouging, or use of closed fists is strictly forbidden.

The object of Greco-Roman wrestling is to control the opponent using throws, pins, and other offensive techniques. Points are awarded for each successful technique applied, and the wrestler with the most points at the end of the match is declared the victor. Greco-Roman wrestling also has a system of penalties for offences such as passivity, false-start, and illegal holds. These penalties can result in the loss of points, or in some cases, disqualification.

Greco-Roman wrestling is an interesting and complex sport that requires strength, skill, and strategy. Competitors must be physically fit and have the technical ability to execute all of the necessary moves. By understanding the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling, competitors can ensure that their matches are conducted safely, fairly, and in accordance with the rules. In the end, it is up to the competitors to ensure that their matches are conducted with respect, integrity, and sportsmanship.