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Arm wrestling arm break


Tommy J.
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I know we’ve all see this a time or two, but this one gets my attention because the guy who’s arm broke wasn’t in a bad position, and his opponent didn’t seem to make any sudden wild changes in direction..

We did have a guy here named Max who was an up and coming (less than 2 years I think) arm wrestler and was damn strong! At the time of his break he was apparently in a really good position, according to the guys at practice that day.

I almost couldn’t believe it when I heard it.. because we typically only see breaks happen when you lead your hand with your shoulder and the hand gets outside of you. But now that I’ve seen it, I’m wondering if there even IS a safe position for the arm in this sport.. or,

I suspect 1 of 2 things (or both) happened here.

1. He was still new, and his bones haven’t had time to grow to the unnatural angles of the sport.

or 2. He already possibly had an underlying fracture he may not have been aware of from previous pulling.

or like I said, could be both.

 

what do you guys think of this one?

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Man so hard to watch. He looked like he was safe from that angle- I’m leaning on your option 2. I think a possible preexisting fracture better explains what happened to him. It’s crazy he doesn’t look committed to any direction on the break. Certainly a vivid reminder anything can happen when you have such high forces being applied to a human body. Looking at MMT reaction - that surprise he had- leads me to think everyone in the situation thought they were playing safe. EDIT — Safe being the commonly understood angles where most of the time no break— to your question is it a safe sport - absolutely not. Thus far every practice I’ve seen had a number of people with on going injury. Arm wrestling at the level it’s at now is a 100% certainty of tissue damage. The stronger you are day 1 learning the more pain you will get in to. Pain seems to be what keeps most folks from consistent practice and the lingering pain it gives affects everything else in ones life. To quote Jeff Martone - if you are going to be stupid you better be tough. As a sport it’s both of those things. Certainly very exciting to watch and fun to play but safe? No. A bone break is better outcome than tendon damage in perspective of recovery. I think even when practice is addressed with safety in mind you still see so many problems. Last weekend at Brian’s birthday party The Who is who of Texas pullers in the room - it was clear every single man in there was hurt. It’s agreed upon in strength sports pec tendon and bicep tendon injury are some of the worst problems you can get- that’s the menu for this one. Particularly for those people who need their body to be functional 5 days a week to work- absolutely unsafe. 

Edited by AdamTGlass
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18 hours ago, Tommy J. said:

I know we’ve all see this a time or two, but this one gets my attention because the guy who’s arm broke wasn’t in a bad position, and his opponent didn’t seem to make any sudden wild changes in direction..

We did have a guy here named Max who was an up and coming (less than 2 years I think) arm wrestler and was damn strong! At the time of his break he was apparently in a really good position, according to the guys at practice that day.

I almost couldn’t believe it when I heard it.. because we typically only see breaks happen when you lead your hand with your shoulder and the hand gets outside of you. But now that I’ve seen it, I’m wondering if there even IS a safe position for the arm in this sport.. or,

I suspect 1 of 2 things (or both) happened here.

1. He was still new, and his bones haven’t had time to grow to the unnatural angles of the sport.

or 2. He already possibly had an underlying fracture he may not have been aware of from previous pulling.

or like I said, could be both.

 

what do you guys think of this one?

Wow that was rough to watch! I was actually thinking of your point two because I know a guy which point 2 happened to him. He was doing some bike ride or something and fell hard on his forearms. He said it was so painful but his not so intelligent doctor said it is very very micro crack and it will heal soon. After two days the pain was gone and in next day after that he started to train again. On his 2nd session of training he had shoulders and he was warming up starting from 5Kg dumbbells each hand up to when he reached 20 Kg, he broke his forearms on that same spot and of course, cursed that doctor. So yeah, it can be that and both. Maybe his bones are not conditional for this  movement and he needed more time to get conditioned enough.

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He said in MT's video that he felt some kind of pain in the area but didn't think it was something serious and then when more pressure was on it it snapped. So hard to watch hope he heals up fast

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4 hours ago, Lennix said:

He said in MT's video that he felt some kind of pain in the area but didn't think it was something serious and then when more pressure was on it it snapped. So hard to watch hope he heals up fast

This is another factor that concerns me. I don’t recall a grinder match ever not hurting. During AND after.

 

I really want to believe he just had a preexisting small fracture or something.. 

 

because if not, I’m prime candidate for a break based off many of the common opinion on arm breaks as they relate to arm wrestling. Poor diet, alcohol, PEDs, dehydration, and my willingness to pull through the famed “arm break” position if I’m able. I have a bad habit of not letting it go when I’m in that position. No breaks as of yet that I’m aware of. But have lived long periods in pain over the last 10 years via the arm wrestling.

 

I do agree with Adam though. While likely far more painful when it happens, I’d take a broke bone over a torn bicep or pec any day. Way shorter recovery period, and it’s not a guarantee you’ll have to have a surgery to fix it, like you do with a tendon rupture. Plus, bones grow back stronger after a break. So the break is the better injury on multiple fronts.

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Arm breaks can always happen. There is no position that is 100% safe. But you can reduce your risk greatly by avoiding the bad positions. I’ve seen a few armbreaks in person and every time it’s been someone who’s relatively new to the sport with maybe just a year or two in. I think the longer you’ve been in the sport the less risk you have of breaking your arm. I think it’s because of two reasons. First reason is that the bone adapts and gets stronger. And the second reason is technique and positional awareness. Some new guys seem to use alot of side pressure regardless of the position they’re in, even when there’s no benefit. If the guy in the video used alot of side pressure then he’s actually in a perfect position for breaking his arm. His arm is at 90 degrees and any side pressure in that position will cause the highest amount or torque possible on the humerus.

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On 8/5/2021 at 7:27 PM, Joe Sullivan said:

If it was a micro crack it should have healed very quickly but perhaps  not to the degree that the torque of the 20 kg dumbbell would put on it. What exercise was he doing when it broke? The doctor was not necessarily  wrong. How long exactly did this guy wait to start training? 

The doctor was obviously wrong here. Maybe it wasn't a micro crack. It could be anything but he was wrong. He trained 3 days after the incident. There was pain. The next day he did shoulder press and with 20kg he broke it.

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On 8/7/2021 at 3:42 AM, David_wigren said:

First reason is that the bone adapts and gets stronger.

100% on point here. It’s also a funny note that new pullers to the sport are always looking at me like they’re having a stroke or acting like I just said some off the wall random nerd shit when I say to them “your bones just need to grow to the sport”. It’s called Wolff’s law.

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and this law literally applies to every strength sport out there. But it is drastically demonstrated at times in sports like arm wrestling, boxing, MMA, and a few other sports.

Armwrestling it’s the humorous.

boxing it’s the hand bones, cheek bones, eye sockets, etc.

MMA it’s quite a few different bones, like shins, and all the aforementioned bones in boxing.

 

I could go long and get left field on this law, but in short, it’s pretty much the reason i tend to laugh, and sometimes scoff at the notion that any new prospect to those sports is believed to be some new GOAT by his or her super fans. or if the person themselves believe they have what it takes to just show up and clean house. It’s more unlikely those people have a body that is perfectly built for those tensions than it is for me to literally win the lottery. Case in point, there have been more people win the lottery this last 24 months alone, nation wide, than there have been the perfect storm of unknown* and new* (pay attention to my asterisks before replying with anything any of you think might be witty) athlete enter any of the sports I mentioned in like 100 years….maybe even ever! And I’m talking a legit new guy. Not some dark horse badass MMA guy that Bas Rutten has secretly been coaching and sparring with himself in a private gym for 10 years before we all get to see him make his debut. Lol! That’s not a new guy. Nor is anyone else that fits a similar description.

I will gladly put money down on the fact that Wolff’s law will actually be the hardest and most time consuming mountain to climb over all other factors when entering a new strength/contact sport. There is simply no way around physically growing to that said discipline.

example- let’s say a strong guy came into arm wrestling that is also a genius, and can learn all the proper technique and angles in like a month or so (hasn’t happened yet that I’m aware of.. but i guess it could!), and also has big levers, is STILL likely to get his arm broken over a lesser guy that took 5-6 years developing all the things the aforementioned guy simply walked up to the table, day 1, possessing.

Edited by Tommy J.
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Spot on. Also why the solution to poor bone density always requires some sort of force application via resistence training and not just taking calcium. Bones can't get stronger with the stimulus for growth, same with muscles tendons and all tissues. Humans are highly adaptable, tho most just adapt to sitting on a couch. 

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5 hours ago, Joe Sullivan said:

Wolfs law is also why folks get heel spurs. The resultant forces cause these bony spurs to grow in conjunction with the forces placed on the foot.....

I suppose if arm wrestlers start walking on their elbows we could see the same with elbows. Lol!

 

on a serious note, there are the occasional pullers that need excess bone removal surgery. Devon was one of them.

 

tbh, I think a lot of veteran arm wrestlers don’t necessarily have bones that “far” exceed the normal strong gym rat bones. I’m no doctor. And also don’t know of any doctor that has specifically tested or done any trials to see specifically how much more dense the humorous gets with years of heavy arm wrestling, vs a guy who simply lifts weights but doesn’t arm wrestle. But if I had to guess, I’d say top arm wrestlers humorous bones are maybe only 5% more dense than a strong* non arm wrestlers humorous. Which I suppose is still a huge difference.. but if you think about it, it’s not really enough to be a superhuman advantage. It’s just enough to break a new puller tho.

I’d wager only 5% more dense at best, based solely off factors that are prohibited from discussing here. That all top armwrestlers are obviously familiar with.

but, as I said above, 5% more dense bone is technically still a huge advantage I suppose. 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

if you were to add 5% to any lift and compare, it is pretty significant.

note that I’m not saying elite pullers are “only” 5% stronger than non pullers. I’m simply estimating the bones are maybe only 5% more dense. Which could equal a TON of added overall strength.

I guess an example of what I’m describing could go like this-

julius Maddox may have WAY more dense bones than me due to his frequent ridiculously heavy bench sessions. However, a guy who benches about 450 likely doesn’t have much bone density advantage over a guy who benches 350. Like, yeah, the guy that benches 450 is literally 100lbs stronger on the bench than a guy who benches 350. But I highly doubt you’d see much difference in bone density as it relates to bench press, between those 2 lifters. Vs a HUGE bone density difference for Julius vs a 350lb bencher.

but the truth is, the gap in bone density between elite pullers and strong, but sort of lower level pullers isn’t nearly as drastic as Julius’ near 800lb bench vs a 350lb bencher.

im I making any sense to you guys?.. lol

Edited by Tommy J.
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As a fun and interesting (to me) side mention, I’d bet that fighters bone density in the limbs and face are insanely more dense vs a non fighter. More so than the density between any two lifters. One would think that all the striking causes a more drastic change in bone density vs just slow, heavy static loads do.

unless we’re talking comparing Thor’s bones to a guy who’s the same height but never touched a weight in his life.

….I don’t know. I think this exact subject is highly interesting to be honest. Forgive me for getting nerdy.

Edited by Tommy J.
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8 minutes ago, Joe Sullivan said:

Yup... it’s mostly the increase in the  tendon strength  making the most impact I would think. 

I added more to that post as you replied to it I think

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On a side note, did you guys know the term “big boned” is a full fledged nanny myth?

 

 

Edited by Tommy J.
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1 minute ago, Joe Sullivan said:

Yes, there is no such thing as a big boned, only extra adipose tissue. It’s something people that are heavy set use as an excuse

You meant to say fat*, sir. 😁

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Lol… anybody sensitive looking at this thread better pad up and put a helmet on. Feeling rowdy today.

 

 

 

 

I’m kidding I’m kidding…. No intents to ruin anyone’s day. I could see how the mere mention of found fact by professionals on the matter is offensive to some.

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1 minute ago, Joe Sullivan said:

Yup! I did.... gluttonous folks Say “ I is   “big boned” as an excuse to not push that extra corn bread and apple pie to the wayside!😂😂😂

Admittedly, I’m guilty these days of overeating and getting myself way fatter than I should be.

and I still make no excuses. Your boy likes to eat. That’s just all there is to it.

My untouchable “safe space” IS self loathing. As it should be for anyone.

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Lol, More on direct topic.. I guess I could close out the arm break thing by simply pointing out to just go slow progressing on the table. And be VERY careful in long grinder matches with evenly matched opponents. as those seem to be the ones where arms give in most cases.

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This is why I never got back into arm wrestling... the fear of breaking my arm & can't work

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  • 2 weeks later...

in every arm wrestling video everyones just complaining about some kind of pain idk seems like such an unnatural motion constalty training internal rotation and putting lateral force through a joint thats just made to flex and extend

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I've been arm wrestling for a little over a year and don't have any weird pains. My secret is to first spend 10 years rock climbing to build bulletproof tendons. I also am constantly doing rehab and prehab movements, and never go long stretches without any activity. Sleep and nutrition are huge and often ignored by everyone bit especially arm wrestlers, almost none of the other guys I pull with do anything at all to manage joints and avoid injury 

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28 minutes ago, Joe Sullivan said:

You must not be arm wrestling often enough or intensely enough. Anyone I know that seriously arm wrestled is constantly in some sort of discomfort or pain in their arm someplace. No matter who, or how long they are in pain. My coach is masters world champion and he is always in pain. It is what it is if you are doing it intensely and not just casually .

I'm just not currently strong enough to challenge my tendons or joints which have been built up through climbing. Eventually I'll probably reach that point, but will take awhile. If you can't exceed the load a tendon can handle, then there will be no damage occurring, and no pain. I of course have muscle soreness as with anything, but I can hammer side pressure as hard as I want and there is zero elbow discomfort at all. 

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Yup, I understand pain and training, have been doing it my entire life. I'm not strong or good, never claimed that but what I do have is some bulletproof joints that I can bang away at with no issues. I have normal muscle soreness, just like everybody I just have never had any joint or tendon issues, not since I first started climbing. Come to Rochester and pull we have plenty of strong guys for you. And if I use two hands we might be close haha

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