How To Dominate An Arm-Wrestling Match

how to win at arm wrestling

Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme recently dipped into a bar while on break from shooting scenes for The Expendables 2, and apparently the guy downs cocktails as fast as he delivers roundhouse kicks. A few hours of heavy drinking later and a boozed-up Van Damme found himself involved in an arm-wrestling match with another bar patron. He lost and went into glass-smashing rage after realizing his watch was missing, which we’re guessing he removed to arm wrestle. (If you’re waiting for a punch line, there isn’t one. This seriously happened.)

If you ever find yourself challenged to an arm-wrestling match by a buddy or some lout at a bar, we don’t want you losing or hurling glassware. To help you walk away victorious, we suggest you do two things: One, rewatch Sylvester Stallone’s Over the Top so you’re properly motivated. Two, use these tips and exercises from Allen Fisher, 26-time arm wrestling world champion.

TECHNIQUE POINTERS:

Tip #1: Keep your arm and elbow as close to your body as possible to achieve greater leverage.

Tip #2: Rotate your arm inward toward your body when you get the jump on your opponent.

Tip #3: When you reach the halfway point, rotate your arm slightly outward, and shift into more of a pushing mode. This technique will rattle your opponent and get him off-balance for a quick finish.

Tip #4: Don’t use the “roll over” technique from the movie. Sure, Stallone steamrolled people all the way to the top of the tournament, but if you loosen your grip or lose concentration, you’ll lose.

IMPROVE GRIP STRENGTH

Whether you have mammoth paws or Mini-Me-sized mitts, these simple grip exercises will strengthen the ligaments and tendons in your hands and fingers to improve your chances of rolling over opponents.

How to do it

  • Grab a tennis ball or a hand gripper
  • Squeeze the hell out of it for 5 seconds and release
  • Do 3 sets of 10 with each hand.

WRIST CURLS

Gigantic biceps won’t save you in a match if you have a weak wrist. “Training and conditioning your wrist to torque forcefully against your opponent will reward you with greater leverage, and give you an edge when competing,” Fisher says.

How to do it

  • Sit or kneel and grasp a barbell bar with a narrow-width underhand grip
  • Rest your forearms on your thighs or a vacant flat bench with the wrists just beyond knees or bench
  • Allow the bar to roll down the palms towards fingers
  • Raise the bar back up by gripping and pointing your knuckles up as high as possible.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds
  • Lower, rest for 5 seconds, and repeat
  • Do 3 sets of 8-10

STATIC BICEPS CURLS

These three variations of the static curl — a dumbbell biceps curl where you perform the exercise with one arm while holding a dumbbell in the middle position with your non-working arm — will burn like hell. They’ll also help supply enough arm ammo to blast opponents in a match.

Fisher suggests starting off using 1/3rd the maximum weight you would for the standard version of each curl and resting two minutes between each set.

22-SECOND BICEPS CURL (WITH EZ BAR — THE BAR THAT LOOKS LIKE A STRETCHED W)

How to do it

  • Stand upright holding an EZ bar with your palms facing out and elbows at your sides
  • Begin to curl the weight up towards the shoulders
  • Stop about 5 percent of the way up
  • Hold the position for 12 seconds
  • Follow through slowly and finish the movement in 10 seconds
  • Lower, rest for 5 seconds, and repeat
  • Do 3 sets of 10

22-SECOND HAMMER CURLS (WITH DUMBBELLS)

How to do it

  • Stand upright holding dumbbells with your palms facing your sides
  • Curl the weight up, toward the shoulder
  • Stop about 5 percent of the way up
  • Hold the position for 12 seconds
  • Finish the rep slowly, for a count of 10 seconds
  • Lower, rest for 5 seconds, and repeat with the alternate arm (for one rep)
  • Do 3 sets of 8-10 per arm

22-SECOND REVERSE CURLS (WITH EZ BAR)

How to do it

  • Stand upright holding an EZ bar with your palms facing the front of thighs
  • Begin to curl the weight up towards the shoulders
  • Stop about 5 percent of the way up
  • Hold the position for 12 seconds
  • Follow through slowly to the top for next 10 seconds
  • Lower, rest for 5 seconds, and repeat
  • Do 3 sets of 8-10

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ModernMan.com