How to Win Every Single Arm Wrestling Match Ever

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"Arm wrestling is about 50% strength and 50% technique, so most guys will be able to beat someone stronger than them," says Kirlew. Here’s how to get better at both.

The Stance

"Find a high table so you can wrestle standing up. Most people opt to sit down but being upright increases the power you can leverage. If you’re right-handed, stand with your leading leg (right foot) forward, with your body very close to the table to maximise power transfer."

Leg Work

"Push your leading leg against the inside of the nearest table leg to gain some extra stability. This is especially important if you are wrestling while seated."

The Start

"Most arm wrestles are won within the first couple of seconds, so starting hard and fast puts you at an immediate advantage. Bend your wrist forward to improve leverage. Most opponents will try to “push” your arm down but to win you have to 'pull' his arm towards you, which weakens his forearm. Gain extra power by shifting your bodyweight to your left leg."

Knuckle Down

"In pro arm wrestling we have pads so the knuckles don’t have to hit the table, but this is often insisted upon in pub matches. Try the “top roll” approach: wrist high and knuckles facing the ceiling while pulling backwards to bend your opponent’s wrist back so the knuckles get grounded."

The Grip

"Make sure your elbow is not directly in line with your opponent’s. The elbows need to be on a slight diagonal, or else there is an increased risk of injury because the forearm and wrist are not in natural alignment."

Thumbs Down

"Make sure your index finger is wrapped over your thumb, rather than having your thumb sticking out. Keeping the hand locked will make the wrist more stable and improve power efficiency."

Stephen Kirlew is a member of Milton Keynes Armwrestling

Armwrestling training

Break it down “Success is more down to tendon strength than muscle size, so I do lots of half-range exercises, such as barbell curls and pull-ups, and hold the weight for a few seconds to work the ligaments.”

Think negative “Doing heavyweight, negative sets [lowering a weight that is heavier than you can lift] is great for building strong and stable muscles. I focus on the biceps, forearms and back.”
Head for heights “Rock climbing is perfect for increasing finger and wrist strength and I’ll climb at least once a week.”

Max Anderton

Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.