Before you armwrestle, please take a moment to learn about the BREAK ARM POSITION:
We’ve all seen the videos on youtube. Because the risk of injury is very real, and a broken humerus isn’t too humorous, I’m going to tell you how to not hurt yourself before you learn anything else. Armwrestling with improper technique is the culprit in most armwrestling bone injuries. If you will, please compare the upper-body positioning of the winner (left) and the loser (person whose arm breaks, right) in the first video. You will want to notice a few key details: The winner has his chest squared off toward his armwrestling arm (the plane defined by the alignment of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints is perpendicular to the frontal plane), and he is pulling hand and wrist toward his body as well as leaning to the pin-side. This is very solid form. Contrast this with the loser, who quickly turns his torso AWAY from his arm (bringing the arm more parallel to the frontal plane), which really only lets him push with his arm instead of PULLING toward his body. It is this rotation of the torso and subsequent rotation of the elbow and shoulder joints (particularly the shoulder), that constitutes break arm position and contributes the MOST to broken bones in armwretsling.
What does this ugly paragraph all mean? It means that when in a match, you always STRIVE to avoid break arm position. Keep your wrestling arm perpendicular to your chest, and encourage your opponent (if they are inexperienced) to do the same. Of course, you can can waver (as many enthusiasts and professionals do), but as a beginner, know that the further your chest faces away from your arm, the more at risk you are for bone injury.
Now that you know how to avoid breaking your arm, I want you to keep in mind that the technical aspects I am about to briefly describe should be performed with proper body positioning EVER on mind:
Aspects of effective arm wrestling strength, positioning, and force production.
- Chest squared toward arm.
- Strong back pressure/ »toproll » (tight biceps/lats/brachioradialis) as if you are pulling your opponent’s hand over your shoulder (commonly called a Toproll)
- Strong wrist flexion/ »hooking » (palm flexes towards wrist) and Abduction/wrist « back pressure » (knuckles moving toward facing the ceiling and thumb pointing toward you
- Strong PRONATION of the forearm. You want to try to rotate your hand over his, as this gives you significant mechanical advantage.
- Tight pecs to provide some sidepressure (though this is about 1/10th as important as good back pressure for an amateur, and can open you up to ulnar tendon injury)
- TIGHT grip. Either high on your opponent’s hand if you want to focus on backpressure, and pulling their arm away from them (good against weak fingers and back pressure) or low on their hand/down near their wrist if you want to focus on drawing them into a bicep/Hook battle (good against people with inferior biceps and weak forearm flexion.
- TIGHT core and upper back activation. Tight abdominals, tight obliques when you pull towards a pin, traps, lats, almost everything – The point of armwrestling is to synergistically activate ALL associated muscles at the same exact time (you can be explosive and dynamic about it, or be a bit more isometric and just drag the opponent down).
- Use your body weight to pull your opponent’s hand away from them and toward a pin. This is the goal with both toproll or hook heavy technique, NOT just pushing to the side.
In short, armwrestling isn’t a cheesy, dynamic « push » against the other guy’s arm in the middle of the table. It is a highly coordinated, often isometric, PULL coming from most of the upper body pulling muscles and core muscles. If you want to keep beating your son, use your superior control of muscle groups (what I like to call Old Man strength) to keep him from getting a comfortable position, and drag him down.
Of course, there are a LOT of nuances to the above information, but that is the gist of proper A/W technique.