Arm Wrestling 101

Picture of arm wrestling match.
Courtesy of
Photo of arm wrestling competition.
Courtesy of

Arm wrestling is a sport that's all about brute strength, good leverage and quick instincts. Find out more about this sport right here.

Arm Wrestling - History

The sport of arm wrestling has been around since the days humans figured out they had arms. Pictures of arm wrestling competitions have been found on ancient Egyptian tombs from thousands of years ago and competitions were held by Native Americans hundreds of years ago as well. The modern sport became more popular in the 1950s and 1960s when contests took place all across the United States at taverns, carnivals and fairs. Today, arm wrestling competitions are held around the world for men, women and kids in various weight classes. A World Arm Wrestling Championship is also held each year year, featuring the best arm wrestlers from more than 70 countries.

Arm Wrestling - Basic Moves and Techniques

There are many different moves in arm wrestling but the three basic techniques are the Hook, the Toproll and the Press.

  • The Hook - The Hook is the most common move in arm wrestling and the one you see the most in competitions and on TV. To perform the hook, you curl your wrist as hard as you can and get your body over your arm. Keep your arm close to your body and pin your opponent by pushing downing with your arm and body. To be successful with the Hook, you should be stronger than your opponent and have good strength in your biceps and forearms.
  • The Toproll - The Toproll is a good move for beating your inexperienced friends. This move relies more on leverage than strength, so you can even use it to beat your older siblings. The goal of the Toproll is to put pressure on your opponent's fingers, so their hand opens up and you can gain leverage. The key to the toproll is to move quickly and get high on your opponent's hand. Once you've opened up their hand, you should be able to move further out on their fingers, making it very difficult for them to outmuscle you, even if they're stronger. The higher you get, the more leverage you gain on your opponent's arm and the easier he or she is to take down.
  • The Press - The Press is a pure power move in arm wrestling and will only work if you're as strong or stronger than your opponent. The key to the Press is to get your opponent's palm to face up toward the ceiling with your own hand on top of his. Once your opponent is in this position, get your body over your arm and push down your opponent's hand, using your upper body and arm.

Arm Wrestling - Get Started

Arm wrestling is a great sport because you don't need any equipment, other than your own arms. You can organize a tournament by getting a group of your friends together and many boys and girls clubs also hold arm wrestling tournaments for kids as young as seven in different weight classes. The best way to get better is by simply challenging your friends and siblings. But remember: you're just trying to pin your opponent's arm down, you're not trying to hurt anyone. Don't arm wrestle against someone who's obviously much stronger or much weaker than you. Pick an opponent who's about your same size and strength.

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