Fitness Coach Amy Jones takes us through and arm wrestle workout.
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Hi Amy, My boss beat me in an arm wrestle at last year's Christmas party and I REALLY want to beat him this Christmas because he hasn't stopped bragging about it! Can you tell me what muscles I need to work on and what kind of training routine I should be doing? Samuel, Coogee, NSW
I have to admit, I haven’t done a lot of arm wrestling in my time. However, I have done some research and I hope you find this helpful.
When you're arm wrestling, you use: your grip; forearm (for wrist strength and curl); your bicep; tricep; chest; shoulder (front, middle and back) and core. You can strengthen these muscles in a number of ways - but as I like efficient workouts, here’s what I suggest:
Close grip or wide grip chin ups (assisted if necessary). Four sets of eight to 10 reps.
This will work your biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders all in one compound exercise.
- For a close grip chin up, grab the bar with your palms facing toward you, they should not be further apart than the width of your shoulders.
- For a wide grip chin up, keep the grip the same and take your hands wider than your shoulders. Remember, the further apart they are, the less muscles you recruit - so make your grip no more than two hand widths wider than your shoulders.
- If you can, start from a position where your arms are fully extended. If this is too much, jump or use a step to raise you a little.
- Pull yourself up so your chin is just over the level of the bar.
- Control the descent and return to the starting position.
- You can vary this exercise by completing some reps in the concentric (up) and eccentric (down) phases
Cable twists. Four sets of eight to 10 reps.
This will work the rotation of your shoulder and your core.
- Grab the handle of the cable pulley from shoulder height both hands, interlacing your fingers.
- Step away from the machine until your closest arm is locked.
- Place your feet wide apart and have a soft bend in the knees.
- Keeping your arms straight, brace the core and rotate your torso to the opposite side until the cable hits your shoulder.
- Return to the starting position and repeat. Continue with opposite side.
Plank. One minute minimum
Rounding off your sets with a one minute plank hold will increase your muscular endurance in all the muscles listed above.
The research I've done, and the advice I've had from other trainers seems to suggest that arm wrestling is a lot about technique. Here are some basic technique tips for you:
- Curl your thumb on the underneath your fingers once you have gripped the other player
- Place your right foot forward if you wrestle with your right arm, left foot if you wrestle with your left arm.
- Have your core close to or as close to the table as possible. So, if your right foot is forward, your right hip may be against the edge of the table.
- Keep your arm close to your body - this way you can recruit the chest and core muscles more easily that if your arm were extended out further.
- Get a higher grip on your opponent’s hand.
Finally, to finish off your opponent, turn your body and aim your shoulder the direction you want your arm to go.
Good luck and let me know how you go!
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