About a month ago I decided to take the leap and jump into another hobby/sport– Arm Wrestling. I decided to go to a local get together for practice (hosted by Sergey Svetlikov) where a group of guys get together to teach, pull, and encourage each other. Going into the first practice I didn’t know what to expect, besides watching a lot of videos on YouTube, I had zero table experience. My main goal was just to NOT get hurt and try to soak up and learn everything I could. Being an athletic guy in high school, playing all three major sports, as well as lifting weights and being a gym regular for most of my time after college, I thought for sure I could at least bring strength to the table and hold my own or maybe even best a few guys! Quickly, I learned that was not the case. With Arm Wrestling, being strong helps, but technique is equally as important, as well as wrist, hand, finger and forearm strength. You can have the strongest biceps in the room, but if you can’t put yourself in a position to actually use them then they’re futile. Lose your wrist and you’ve got a hard road to winning an arm wrestling fight.
Week 1 went great, I did NOT hurt myself and I felt great. I pretty much used nothing but muscle against everyone and tried to brute force my way to wins with (what I now know as) “side pressure”. This was mistake #1. By doing this, I completely threw my arms into shock in the coming days, not knowing wtf was going on. They were sore for a week straight after that Sunday’s practice. Perhaps I should have gone a little easier and focused more on learning the correct way to pull instead of just going with everything I could muster. Competition is in my nature and being the way I am, I viewed this as a challenge and still do to this day. A challenge with myself to get better, and to continue getting better until things start to “click”. After the first week I knew this was something I really enjoyed and I was immediately hooked. Every day following it all I could think of was how to improve, what to buy to add to the home gym, how to recover faster, grow your strength faster, etc etc etc. I watched videos online, looked up equipment and went off the deep-end — as I usually do when I find a new hobby.
Week 2, I came to another practice. This time with a bit more expectations of focusing on technique and trying to learn without getting hurt again. Somehow when you get into it and get going, you start out with “i’m just going to pull light today and go easy” which somehow leads to “pulling with everything you have to practice a toproll or hook”. My arms are not 100% going into week 2 and very sore, but only in the positions that pulling puts them in. It is deceiving because they feel great but then when you go to hook an opponent and practice the arm just about goes powerless when you hit a certain spot and you can feel it give way. The toproll seems to be my preferred and easier technique to learn, so I stuck with that as much as possible, utilizing as much back-pressure and bicep and trying to not twist my arm into a hook position to feel that pain or lack of strength.
Week 3, my arms are still sore. Perhaps because I can’t stop training them for a day or two at a time without wanting to do just a little more. With each practice my arms continue to get a bit weaker but never recovered to 100%. For that I think I would have to take 1-2 weeks off from any arm wrestling related movements. That’s great, but it’s just so very hard, when it is so fun!
Week 4, I’m still addicted and my arms are still somewhat sore. Each week I find that they are slowly recovering a little bit faster, and healing a little bit more with the start of each next practice. No longer are they sore throughout the week, but only for a day or two after practice. Then there are just a couple nagging sore spots around the tendons that will just take time to heal. I still feel I cannot go 100% on the table and that is frustrating, but I am hoping with time that will improve and eventually I will be able to. With each practice I try to gain more knowledge on technique and the best ways to pull, but it is taking time for me to ingrain them in my head. With such an unnatural movement, it is only natural I suppose.
Week 5, Going into week 5, my game plan is the same as Day 1 — learn, learn, and don’t get hurt. And this will probably be my game plan throughout my experience with this sport. Each week becomes more addicting and I imagine it will only get better once I start being able to apply good technique and strength to winning a few times.
This was just my experience so far that I wanted to document. With many big names on YouTube starting to promote the sport, I hope it only grows from here and that more and more guys get involved. It is a very fun way to get together, make new friends, and have that camaraderie with your fellow man.
I will check back again at my 6 month mark to try and document and share my journey and how things are going. At that point, the goal for myself is to be able to use 100% of my strength each week and have started to build tendon strength as well as a base strength for arm wrestling, enough to feel like I’m getting somewhere. Highly subjective, but you know where you are and where you want to be as a competitor and it’s easy to lose track and set lofty goals. For me, every time I leave the house and close the door I just say to myself “I want to leave and come back better than before.”
As they say, “I came for the arm wrestling, but stayed for the friends.”
Here are some must have arm wrestling products and items to build your grip!
Buy an Arm Wrestling Table:
Fat Gripz Forearm Builder: https://amzn.to/2txgFAh
IRON MIND Captains of Crush Grip Strength:
https://amzn.to/2U3RWiM point 5