Greco-Roman Wrestling Explained

Greco-Roman Wrestling is a style of wrestling, performed on a hard surface such as wood or tatami. This wrestling style typically places more emphasis on throws because a wrestler cannot use the traction of his legs to gain leverage or drive an opponent.

The name for Greco-Roman in French is “Grappling” which has become the modern term for all forms of wrestling without the use of legs in international competition. In this post, we will be focusing on Greco-Roman Wrestling and answer frequently asked questions related to this style of wrestling. Keep reading.

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greco roman wrestling

What Is Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is one of the four main forms of amateur competitive wrestling practiced internationally today. The other three forms are Freestyle wrestling, Folstyle wrestling, and Grappling/Submission wrestling. The name Greco-Roman was applied to this form of wrestling as a way to purify the sport in keeping with its roots.

Greco-Roman wrestling forbids holds below the waist; this is the major difference from freestyle wrestling. However, as there are no weight classes in Greco-Roman, wrestlers frequently work to obtain a weight advantage by any means necessary. This often involves applying grease or oil to oneself prior to practice or competition, not unlike those involved with the sport of sumo.

What Is the Point of Greco-Roman Wrestling? 

As with many forms of wrestling, Greco-Roman seeks to promote and employ techniques that would apply in a real fight situation where there is no concern for safety. In WWE terms, Greco-Roman Wrestling is the “art of eight limbs” as it prohibits all use of clinching or grabbing below the waist.

Greco-Roman Wrestling History

Greco-Roman Wrestling is one of the oldest forms of wrestling and was an event at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

It is so old that nobody knows exactly where or when it began, but scholars maintain that some form of grappling took place throughout antiquity with matches recorded even from 500 BC and earlier.

Who Invented Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Nobody knows for sure who invented Greco-Roman Wrestling, but it is believed that various forms of grappling in antiquity may have led to its development.

However, Greece maintained a strong tradition in this art from ancient times and when the Olympic Games were revived in 1896, they included a Greco-Roman Wrestling competition.

Greco-Roman Wrestling Rules

The main idea of Greco-Roman wrestling is to control the opponent’s body and pin him on the mat for a certain period of time.

An important part of this form is also to cause passive submission by putting pressure on the opponent’s arms and legs. The first wrestler who was able to put his opponent in an “inelastic” hold, for 5 seconds, won the bout.

There were no weight classes and an unlimited number of rounds. The only way to win was either to be the first man pinned or get 15 points ahead by a margin of two.

Greco-Roman Wrestling has not changed much since then and still maintains its rules today, although it has been added that any passive hold for 20 seconds is considered a victory.

What Is Not Allowed in Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Greco-Roman Wrestling forbids holds below the waist. In other words, a wrestler cannot use his legs to trip or lift an opponent.

Another restriction in Greco-Roman is that you must have one continuous motion from the standing position to gain a pin on your opponent.

Who can participate in Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is an Olympic sport that requires strength, endurance, and skill. People who compete at a high level generally have had extensive training in a variety of other sports in order to gain an advantage in Greco-Roman Wrestling.

Greco-Roman Wrestling Weight Classes

Greco-Roman Wrestling has no weight classes. The idea is to build strength and endurance, not bulk up like in bodybuilding.

Some believe this is the most difficult of all styles because the matches are long, up to 30 minutes. Wins are by fall or points.

Greco-Roman Wrestling Training

If you want to participate in Greco-Roman Wrestling, it is important that you maintain a strenuous training schedule.

Besides the common wrestling exercises such as squats and heavy lifts, there are several Olympic weightlifting techniques that can help to increase your strength and build muscle.

Some find it beneficial to incorporate pull-ups and dips into their routine because they help wrestlers to develop the strength and stamina needed for those tough Greco-Roman Wrestling competitions.

What Gear Is Required for Greco-Roman Wrestling?

In Greco-Roman Wrestling, there is no specific wrestling gear required. Some practice without shoes or thongs to toughen their feet up, but it is not necessary.

However, if you are serious about getting into Greco-Roman Wrestling it would be beneficial to invest in a cage or wrestling singlet (like the one below) that will most likely be required for competition.

What Is Different About Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Even though the rules are fairly simple, Greco-Roman Wrestling is known to be one of the toughest and most brutal styles.

If you go to a wrestling match, you will see many cuts and bruises on the faces of wrestlers. The use of legs as well as arms makes this style unique and gives it an advantage over other forms of wrestling which rely on one or the other.

How Hard Is Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is one of the most difficult styles to compete in. It takes a lot out of a wrestler and can push them to their physical limits. The mental capacity needed for this style cannot be understated either.

There are many tough battles that go on for several minutes before a winner is decided. In Greco-Roman, mat wrestling is essential, so being able to use your hands effectively can provide you with an advantage over some of the other more common styles.

Is Greco-Roman Wrestling Hard to Learn?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is one of the most difficult styles to learn, especially if you’re a wrestler who’s used to folkstyle or freestyle.

While Greco-Roman Wrestling does not allow for a variety of holds and grappling techniques, there is an extensive list of rules that must be followed when taking part in any match.

Though this form of wrestling does not allow for the use of legs, you are still able to throw your opponent using different strategies.

How Popular Is Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is one of the most popular styles amongst Olympic competitors. Greco-Roman Wrestling is also growing in popularity throughout the rest of the United States as well as Europe, so much so that there are now Greco-Roman Wrestling clubs popping up everywhere.

Is Greco-Roman Wrestling in the Olympics?

Yes, Greco-Roman Wrestling is part of the Olympic Games. It was first added to the Olympics in 1904 and has been a mainstay ever since.

In fact, Sofia, Bulgaria recently hosted the World Championships which saw an impressive attendance rate as well as a record number of countries competing against each other for this prestigious title.

Is Greco-Roman Wrestling Good for MMA?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is quite popular with MMA fighters because of the similarities in training that each sport imposes.

There are also many techniques that can be applied to both wrestling and MMA fighting. If you are an MMA fighter looking for a way to mix things up, Greco-Roman Wrestling may just provide you with the variety you need.

Is Greco-Roman Wrestling a Martial Art?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is not considered to be a martial art; it’s actually an amateur wrestling style that may or may not have any connection with the fighting arts.

While there are no hands used in this form of wrestling, some self-defense techniques can be applied since they involve grappling and takedowns.

Is It Good for Self-defense?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is used to test physical prowess, but it is not the best choice for self-defense. The lack of wrestling techniques that focus on grappling and taking an opponent to the ground can make this style ineffective when dealing with a bigger, stronger assailant.

If you are looking for effective self-defense moves like hip throws or joint locks, then Judo or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would be better choices.

Is It Good for Cardio?

While Greco-Roman Wrestling can give you a great workout, it is not necessarily the best option when it comes to cardiovascular fitness.

But what makes this style so effective in developing muscle and strength is that wrestlers need to use their entire bodies in order to perform moves that will help them get a better hold on their opponents.

Is Greco-Roman Wrestling Dangerous?

Greco-Roman Wrestling could be dangerous and can lead to injury if you are not properly trained or if you lack the proper technique.

Since this style requires a lot of body movement, it requires more coordination than other styles would. If your opponent gets control of your head during a match, there’s a good chance that they’ll pin your shoulders to the mat which will end the battle almost immediately.

Is College Wrestling Greco-Roman?

No, Greco-Roman Wrestling is different than College Wrestling which is based on the folkstyle of wrestling. Folkstyle wrestling has a different set of rules which allows the use of one or both hands to control your opponent.

There are also pinning combinations that can be used in folkstyle, unlike Greco-Roman Wrestling where pins are not allowed.

Is High School Wrestling Greco-Roman?

No, high school wrestling is also based on folkstyle wrestling. While there are some Greco-Roman Wrestling tournaments for high school students, it is not considered the same as what is competed for at the college and Olympic levels.

How Strong Are Greco-roman Wrestlers?

Greco-Roman wrestlers are known to be some of the strongest and most powerful athletes in the world. If you’ve seen any of these Greco-Roman Wrestling games, you’ll notice how fit and toned these guys are; they also tend to be taller and bigger than other professional wrestlers which makes them that much more dangerous when competing.

Who Is the Best Greco-Roman Wrestler of All Time?

Aleksandr Karelin is considered to be one of the greatest Greco-Roman wrestlers in history. With 13 Olympic medals, 3 World Championship titles, and a record 13 consecutive victories in European Championships, Aleksandr Karelin has set the standard for excellence when it comes to this style of wrestling.

Should I Learn Greco-roman Wrestling?

It depends on what you want to get out of wrestling. If you’re looking for a form of wrestling that will allow you to have more control over your opponent’s legs then Greco-Roman Wrestling might not be the best option.

However, if your goal is to develop strong muscles and gain more power behind your throws, then Greco-Roman Wrestling might be the best option for you.