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6 Golden Tips for Absolutely Winning an Arm Wrestling Match

Other By Louis Spencer JR |

G. Hale was playing Division II college baseball in Kansas City, Missouri, when he sat down and started going through the channels on his TV.

There, the 1987 arm wrestling show starring Stallone as Lincoln Hawke, a driver who aspires to win his estranged son’s desires. And to do that, he has to win a national arm wrestling competition.

Neither the worst nor the best of Stallone’s efforts, Over the Top made Hale recall his high school years and how the edge sport had achieved his athletic interests, which weren’t being met by the former baseball. “I had never lost a match,” Hale tells. “The movie suggested me that I was good at it.”

That was 14 years ago. Now a he is known as the Hellraiser, the full-time geologist that has won several major titles. While you may not have the composition for the traumatic sport (more on that later), you might still want to feel yourself in the event of an impromptu match breaking out. We asked Hale for some tips on what to do when you’re faced with the opportunity to achieve a reasonable amount of glory while arm-grappling. This is what he’s saying:

1. SIZE REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

Well, it does. But really only if your contestant knows what they’re doing. Otherwise, having a bowling pin for a forearm isn’t anything to be careful about. If anything, your foe may have a false sense of confidence. “It looks easy, but there’s really a very complex set of actions. It’s good to have your ego at the door.”

2. PRETEND YOU’RE PART OF THE TABLE.

When you square up with your competition to lock hands – thumbs wrapped around the back—don’t lean over the table with your butt in the air. Don’t make the usual mistake of sitting down for a match, either. “It limits you greatly,” Hale says, and could even lead to injury.

Instead, you want to set the foot that matches your powerful hand under the table with your hip feeling the edge. With your free hand, grip the edge or push down on the top for balance. “Pretend like you’re part of the table,” Hale says. That way, you’ll be able to recruit your whole body into the competition.

3. BREATHE.

If you’re changing to the color of a lobster, you’re probably carrying in your breath. Remember to continue taking in air through your nose. There’s no advantage to treating the match like a diving party. The lack of oxygen will just tire your tissues out faster.

4. BEAT THE HAND, NOT THE ARM.

There are three basic procedures in arm wrestling, according to Hale: shoulder press, the hook, and the top roll. The shoulder press strengthens the shoulder right behind the arm, pushing the opposing appendage down as if you were performing a triceps pressdown. The hook is complex, varying pressure from all sides and combining pulling motions to bend the wrist behind. For the best chance of winning, opt for the top roll, which involves sliding your hand up your opponent’s so your grip is attacking the top portion nearest the fingers. That way, he or she is selecting fewer major muscle groups to resist. “When you beat the hand, the arm follows,” Hale says. Because this is more strategy than strength, you might wind up toppling some formidable-looking contestants.

5. IN A STALEMATE, WAIT FOR AN OPENING.

While lots of arm grappling matches end quickly, others become a battle of decline. When you find yourself locked up in the middle of the table, wait for your opponent to relax. “In a neutral position, it’s good to wait static, keeping your body and arm locked up,” Hale says. “You’re just setting for your opponent to make a mistake.” The moment you feel their arm lose tension, push.

6. TRY SCREAMING

     

Arm wrestlers play all kinds of mental games, and while some might be resistant to trash talk, it’s likely your opponent will be influenced by some insults. “You can make someone lose their focus quickly,” Hale says. “In a stalemate, you can give them a hard time, tell them they’re not powerful. It’s intimidating to be out of breath and to see someone just talking.”

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