Arm wrestling is one of those time-tested feats of strength that never seems to go out of style. The modern sport is based on a Native American game which became popular among the frontiersman of the early 19th century, but the earliest depictions of the sport can be traced to a painting in an Egyptian tomb dating back to about 2,000 B.C.

Contrary to popular belief, arm wrestling does not require you to rock Dwayne Johnson-sized guns, although they wouldn’t hurt. But with the right amount of technique, speed, and strategy, you can put down an opponent who is easily twice your size. Odds are that at some point in life you’ll be required to prop your elbow on a table and go mano-a-mano with another equally inebriated guy. In order to limit the chances of being humiliated in front of your friends and potential lovers, we’ve put together this handy guide to Arm Wrestling.

Key Arm Wrestling Techniques

There are two key techniques that when used properly will make you a devastating arm wrestler: the top-roll and the hook. For optimal results, these techniques should be fast and fluid in their application.

arm wrestling

The Top-roll

The top-roll is the most effective and most commonly used arm wrestling technique. Top-rolling takes the advantage away from the guy with the strongest arms and places it squarely in the lap of the one with the fastest hands and wrist prowess. The key to top-rolling is to turn your wrist and work your hand up your opponent’s palm. Your aim is to have your hand wrapped tightly around the top part of his hand with him holding the bottom part of yours. Turn your wrist and pull your hand towards you in order to force your opponent’s hand away from his body, thus decreasing his leverage. In order to get in this position, you need to start as soon as you hear the word go. Once you notice your opponent’s grip beginning to slip, you should start moving your grip higher up on his hand. Keep working until you’re as high up on his hand as you can get. As soon as you reach this point, you’re ready for the finish.

The Hook

The hook can be used by itself or with the top-roll. The goal of the hook is to force your opponent’s hand back, thus increasing your power and leverage. As soon as you hear “Go!” force your opponent’s hand back, and expose his wrist by twisting your wrist towards you. When you get him into this position, you’re ready for the finish.

arm wrestling

The Finish

The hardest part of arm wrestling is finishing off your opponent. Most men would sooner die before letting you slam their hand on the table. Am wrestling matches often devolve into an endless stalemate with one guy’s hand hovering inches above the table while the other guy is mustering all the arm strength he can to pin his opponent. Here’s how to avoid this situation- When you’re ready to finish finish the job, rotate your body so that your shoulder is above your hand and in line with the direction you want your arm to go. This allows you to use your much stronger shoulder muscles and some of your body weight. Unless you are arm wrestling Jason Statham, your opponent is going to have a tough time avoiding defeat. Keep in mind, the key here is to implement these techniques quickly and seamlessly. The less time your opponent has to react and respond, the better.

Strength Training for Arm Wrestling

Aside from technique, arm wrestling is mainly about your forearm strength. You can increase your forearm strength by doing some pushup and wall climbing. Forearm curls can also be an excellent exercise for you. Also work on your deltoids by doing overhead dumbbell or bar presses. This is helpful in increasing your endurance limit and tiring out your opponent.

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