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Arm wrestling strength


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hey everyone, let me introduce myself.

Im a 25 year old male who just started lifting weights for the first time in his life. Ive been intrigued by arm wrestling shows on the tv for quite a while now, hence i want to focus my training around arm wrestling specific exercises. Im totally out of shape, but i have done some research and come up with a workout plan. Besides the typical bench, squat, rows, I will do pull ups with a neutral grip, behind the back barbell wrist curls, reverse curls to build up my forearms. Im also going to do rope hammer curls, and regular DB curls.

Is this a good place to start? Should I do something specific for my wrist / tendons - in this case, what should I do?

 

Thank you in advance

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Eric Roussin

Where do you live? The first thing I think you should do is get together with other armwrestlers in your area to learn the basics of the sport, and to get your arm accustomed to the movement. The feeling you get from armwrestling is not easy to replicate with weights.

Full range movements are good for the body, but in armwrestling you need good bicep lock strength. That is, you need to get strong at keeping your arm at a particular angle. For this reason isometric exercises can work well (e.g. holding a heavy dumbbell for 5-10 seconds at a 90 degree angle).

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1 hour ago, Eric Roussin said:

Where do you live? The first thing I think you should do is get together with other armwrestlers in your area to learn the basics of the sport, and to get your arm accustomed to the movement. The feeling you get from armwrestling is not easy to replicate with weights.

Full range movements are good for the body, but in armwrestling you need good bicep lock strength. That is, you need to get strong at keeping your arm at a particular angle. For this reason isometric exercises can work well (e.g. holding a heavy dumbbell for 5-10 seconds at a 90 degree angle).

I live in a major city but will be moving to a smaller one in two months time. I havent been able to find a group yet, but i'm still searching... the supply is scarce here though. You mention isometric exercises, is this something I can do in my workout without hindering my muscle gains? How exactly does that fit into a push / pull / legs program?

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Fist of Fury

If you want to be a good armwrestler you will need to specialize on that I think. Only you can figure out what you can handle and not but of course if you do train your arms really hard which you need to do, other events might be more difficult. What you can do is to add straps to everything else, deadlifts, pull-ups, rows etc. That way you won't tax your grip too much during those exersizes.

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Eric Roussin

If you want help in connecting with a local group, send me your location (by PM if you want). Chances are, I can put you in touch with someone close to where you live.

Your muscle gains won't be hindered. Just add isometric holds (bicep, wrist) to your "pull" day.

 

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Peter Brannstrom

I really strongly second that which has already been said, get in contact with some local pullers as;
1. they will most certainly be able to teach you A LOT!
2. they will most likely be an awesome group of people as all pullers I have ever met or dealt with anywhere in the world almost always seems to be great people.

You really do need to get to pull with some, at least somewhat knowledgable, people for a few reasons, part of it being to really grasp what kind of training you need and also just to understand how/what to do.
Other than that I'd say stuff with bands will be your best bet at kinda getting the same kinda feel as to pulling, but, still, not at all, you really are going to want to get to a table and some knowledgable arms, it will greatly improve you and also quickly teach you what areas you need to improve the most.

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13 hours ago, Eric Roussin said:

If you want help in connecting with a local group, send me your location (by PM if you want). Chances are, I can put you in touch with someone close to where you live.

Your muscle gains won't be hindered. Just add isometric holds (bicep, wrist) to your "pull" day.

 

Thanks man. sent you a PM.

Been looking on YT for isometric exercises. I would say my wrists are my weakest link. Would something like this be useful: 

 

What about knuckle push ups?

 

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Eric Roussin

This video, yes. Knuckle push ups, not so much.

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1 hour ago, Eric Roussin said:

This video, yes. Knuckle push ups, not so much.

Sounds good... Is doing the exercise 3 times a week for 3 sets of 15-20 reps a good place to start? (I have no clue about weights used for this as well)

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Eric Roussin

Sure. See how it feels and adjust as necessary.

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Adam Juncker

Arm wrestling is a lot of fun. It's also extremely painful. It relies a lot on tendon and ligament strengthen which requires time under tension to strenghten - painful. 

I can't tell you how many small injuries I've incurred over the past. Fortunately, if you let things heal, they heal stronger.

You have the right ideas about training, and I agree that you really need to pull with people to get better. There are endless gadgets and gizmos and resistance bands that can help, but training with a group is how you get better. 

I've got a club in Evansville, IN, but we get guys from Illinois and Kentucky that regularly come to practice. 

For now, work on high-rep wrist work. And I mean HIGH reps. I work my pronator for about 1500 reps (15 sets of 100). Same with suppinator. Do wrist raises with a sledge hammer. Use fat-grips on everything you do. Hand and wrist strength is paramount: if your hand and wrist can't follow the rest of your body, it doesn't matter how strong you are.  

If you build a solid base (hand and wrist) the rest will come. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Would you still recommend this high of reps for someone who rarely gets to practice with people? I only get to pull a couple times of year but want to get stronger at the key movements so that I'm somewhat prepared. 

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Adam Juncker
On 5/19/2016 at 0:58 PM, JamesG said:

Would you still recommend this high of reps for someone who rarely gets to practice with people? I only get to pull a couple times of year but want to get stronger at the key movements so that I'm somewhat prepared.

I would still recommend high reps. I've never really experienced gains from trying to 1RM my pronators for example. Although I'm sure some people do, there is always potential for injury because the connective tissue has to support the weight.

I'll say this too, and this may not be a great example. I competed in the Kentucky muscle classic last year. One of my competitors had not competed in over a year. We both ended up in the finals pulling for 1st place. I hit him hard in a press and held him about 2 inches from the pin line for like a minute but couldn't finish him off. I ran out of gas and he opened me up and finished me off. 

We were talking after the match and he was complaining about his elbow. I chalked it up to not competing in so long. He texted me about 2 weeks later and said he went to an orthopaedic doctor. That match, and probably the ones prior to it destroyed his flexor carpi ulnaris tendon. To my knowledge he hasn't been very competitive since then.

That said, conditioning the connective tissue is serious business. Devon larratt has always said that high volume training is best for this. It seems to work for me. I try to practice every week, but my work schedule sometimes makes it so that I can only practice like once a month. 

If you can't practice, I would say that a really long and slow warmup is needed before any matches. No hard hits, just nice easy slow-pulling to get the juices flowing. 

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austinslater

I saw a bigger transfer to the table with heavier stuff but to be fair I never gave the ultra high rep stuff enough time. I can the benefit of both and you bring up some good points for sure. Interesting stuff and thanks for sharing. 

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Oh boy. Healthy ligaments and joints are good. Blood flow and pump can be good. Endurance is good. Activity and healing when you can't train heavy is good.

But you will not get strong with only using light weights. Period.

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Adam Juncker
7 hours ago, Tedch said:

Oh boy. Healthy ligaments and joints are good. Blood flow and pump can be good. Endurance is good. Activity and healing when you can't train heavy is good.

But you will not get strong with only using light weights. Period.

I have to agree with you Tedch that heavy weights will make you stronger. I just use table time as my heavy days I guess. Table time is normally 1-2 hours of slow-pulling, speed drills, and timed pulls. 

But I definitely agree that you need to go heavy if you can't pull at least every other week.

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