How to Get the Banana Split on a Wrestler

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In Greco-Roman wrestling, you are always looking for ways to pin your opponent. You need to have moves to get past any number of defenses if you want to successfully finish a match. The banana split is an effective way to finish your opponent off by pinning him to the mat in a position that is uncomfortable to be in and difficult to escape from. If you can lock it in, you're well on your way to victory.

Establish your position. To lock in the banana split, you must have rear ground control of your opponent with your hips positioned behind his. If you get too high on your opponent's back, you will not be able to properly lock in the hold, and you will leave yourself wide open for a reversal. Your hand nearest your opponent's head should be working to control his wrist while your other hand should be gripped firmly around his waist. The foot inside your opponent's feet should be used in a near ankle ride where you wrap your foot around his ankle to prevent him from standing up and escaping.

Secure your opponent's far leg. Release your hand from his wrist and reach across his back, grabbing for your opponent's inner thigh right above the knee. At the same time, with the hand you were using to grip his waist, reach down underneath his far leg behind his knee. Clasp your hands tightly right behind your opponent's knee, making sure that you have a firm grip. This will be the leverage point that you will use to flip your opponent onto his back.

Using your outside leg that is not engaged in the near ankle ride, slip your leg between your opponent's legs and place your foot on the back of his thigh right above his knee. This move is called a grapevine, and you will want to lock it in on your opponent as you reach for the far leg. When you flip your opponent over onto his back, you will extend this leg to apply pressure. As you lock in this grapevine, release your other leg from the near ankle ride.

Roll your opponent onto his back. Depending on where your opponent has his weight distributed, you can either roll back or roll through to flip him onto his back. If your opponent has his weight back, sit out and pull up on the far leg as you fall back. This will pull your opponent onto his back with his shoulders on the mat, and you will control both of his legs. If your opponent has his weight forward, push over the top of him with your leg that was in the near ankle ride, holding your opponent's far leg tight. This will roll him all the way over onto his back, and you will have control of each of his legs.


The only way for your opponent to escape this hold is to break your control on one of his legs. Your grip must be tight on the leg you are holding as you dig your knuckles into the back of his knee. Your grapevine can be secured using your free leg to trap your foot, creating a figure-four with your legs that will give you added control over your opponent.


The banana split can put a great deal of pressure onto your opponent's hips, which could lead to injury of the hips or groin. It is strictly against the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling to apply moves to inflict pain, so focus on controlling your opponent's legs when he is on his back and not spreading his legs apart to apply extra pressure and cause unnecessary pain or injury. The move is legal if used properly to secure a near-fall or pin, but the referee can stop the match and deduct points if you are using the move simply to cause your opponent pain.