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Arm wrestling is a sport with two participants. Each participant places one arm, both put either the right or left, on a surface, with their elbows bent and touching the surface, and they grip each other's hand. The goal is to pin the other's arm onto the surface, with the winner's arm over the loser's arm.



Various factors can play a part in one's success in arm wrestling. Technique and overall arm strength are the two greatest contributing factors to winning an arm wrestling match. Other factors such as the length of an arm wrestler's arm, his/her muscle and arm mass/density, hand grip size, wrist endurance and flexibility, reaction time, as well as countless other traits, can add to the advantages of one arm wrestler over another[citation needed]. It is sometimes used to prove who is stronger between two or more people.

In competitive arm wrestling, as sanctioned by the United States Armwrestling Federation (USAF), arm wrestling is performed with both competitors standing up with their arms placed on a tournament arm wrestling table[citation needed]. Arm wrestling tournaments are also divided into weight classes as well as left and right-handed divisions. Furthermore, strict rules such as fouls given to penalties (such as the competitor's elbow leaving a matted area where the elbow is to remain at all times, or a false start), and trying to escape a possible arm pin by breaking the grip with the opponent may result in a loss at the table[citation needed]. Paraphrasing USAF rules, arm wrestlers must straighten their wrists without a time lapse of one minute during competition.[1]

The World Armwrestling Federation (WAF) is the universally recognized global governing body of amateur arm wrestling and comprises more than 85 member countries.[citation needed]

Some noted top arm wrestling competitors include John Brzenk (hailed as the greatest arm wrestler of all time)[2], Alexey Voevoda and Magnus Samuelsson. Allen Fisher is of high acclaim, for he has won 25 world championships[citation needed]. He is one of the oldest current arm wrestlers at 53 years of age.

Competitive styles

John Brzenk is known mostly for his array of techniques which change almost every time he is engaged in competition, even with the same opponent within the same match. As of Summer 2008, John Brzenk is ranked #1 in North America[citation needed]. Ron Bath is known for his use of the Top Roll technique which emphasizes a 'roll' of the wrist as he brings the opponent's wrist down.[citation needed] Travis Bagent, like Brzenk, is known for his wide array of techniques, coupled with his massive strength and explosive style.[citation needed] Many of Bagent's matches have ended in seconds. However, Bagent is most well known for his colorful remarks and rather rude comments against his opponents.[citation needed] Bagent is considered the best left-handed arm wrestler in the world and is currently ranked second overall in North America, as of Summer of 2008. Joe "The Blaster" Caggiano, the 1981 world champion, has trained most modern champions.

Other competitors such as Matt Girdner, Michael Selearis, Marcio Barboza, and Christian Binnie, are known for their reliance on strength, coupled with the hook technique, where the wrist turns into a hooked grip after the referee has started the match.[citation needed] "The Hook" or "Hooking" is a generic term used to describe any move derived from the inside system of arm wrestling the second generic system or style of Arm wrestling is known as outside arm wrestling "the Top Roll" or "Top Rolling", while the "Tricep Press", "Shoulder Pressing" or Shoulder Rolling" is often described as the third generic system or style of arm wrestling.[citation needed] and Certain arm wrestlers depend on the straps such as Jason Vale who won the 1997 Petaluma World championships in the super heavy weight class at only 175 pounds using the strap technique.

The contestant on the right is in an injury-prone or "break arm" position. His shoulder must be in line with or behind the arm, as seen with the contestant on the left. This is cause for a referee to stop the match.

Many arm wrestlers will have a signature style or favorite technique, while others have enjoyed success by becoming extremely well rounded. Within each of the three broad technical systems of arm wrestling there are numerous clearly identifiable techniques which have been developed and enhanced over time.[citation needed] Great Britain's most successful Armwrestler and former two time European and World Middleweight Champion Neil Pickup is one of today's leading Armwrestlers widely recognized as having originated and developed techniques to suit the genetic make up of individual Armwrestlers. Neil Pickup has enjoyed an Amateur and Professional career spanning more than 20 years during which time he has won more than 60 International titles across 5 different weight classes on both his right and left arms, while also training numerous World Champions both male and female. This success has been largely attributed to his technical prowess, experience and understanding of this exciting combat strength sport in which the athletes whole body must be utilized effectively as a lever.

Avoiding injury

Typical Fracture

Arm wrestling puts enormous torque/twist on the upper arm's humerus bone to a degree seen in few other physical activities.[3] Most people's bones are not accustomed to being significantly stressed in this direction, and injuries can occur surprisingly easily. The arm typically fails because of a diagonal break at or below the midpoint between the shoulder and the elbow.

The natural tendency of an inexperienced arm wrestler is to push the hand, wrist, and shoulder in the same coordinated direction, against the force being applied by the opponent.[citation needed] This is how we throw a baseball or hit a tennis ball.

However, turning one's shoulder this way simply adds to the torque already being applied to the humerus by the opponent. US Arm Sports advises of the danger of "letting your shoulder get inside your hand." It is better to pivot your shoulders so that you never look away from your hand.[citation needed]


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