of the importance of the hand is its actual physical size. A large, thick
hand gives a wrestler a tremendous advantage from the beginning. It will
be very difficult for someone with a small hand to control an opponent's
much larger hand during a match, limiting his potentially successful moves
and therefore his options at the table.
All is NOT lost, however, if you
have a small hand. Hand and finger strength to you is in fact even more
important than it is to the big-handed wrestler! For while you might not
be able to control your opponent's hand, you cannot afford to let him
control yours either! He who controls his opponent's hand wins almost
every time. If you possess the strength to fight your opponent's attacks
on your hands and fingers, you will neutralize his hand-size advantage,
and the match will be determined by things other than your hands (like
forearm strength, speed, and technique). This helps to describe the absolute
importance of the hand in arm wrestling.
Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of any of the finger exercises
that you should perform. Because of the difficulty of describing many
of these exercises, I will have to steer you to a book that is called
Mastery of Hand Strength, by John Brookfield. It has some great exercises
in there. I will try to get some pictures up here soon, though, as finger
and hand strength is VERY important to successful arm wrestlers.
The exercises I do
want to introduce here even without pictures are "Finger Walks"
and hand grippers.
You will need a sledge hammer for this exercise. With the weighted end
of the sledge hammer on the bottom, hold the sledge hammer by the end
of the handle out in front of you. The sledge hammer should be straight
up and down, with the weight at the bottom and your hands at the top.
The way in which you should be holding the sledge hammer is between your
eight fingers. That is not very clear, so let me try to detail it more.
The four finger tips of your left hand should be against one side of the
handle, and the four fingers of your right hand should be against the
other side of the handle. By creating adequate pressure between your left
and right hand (each pushing against the other one), you should be able
to hold the hammer out in front of you with just those 8 finger tips and
Now for the tricky part... Using ONLY your eight fingertips,
"walk" your fingers down the handle until you reach the hammer
head at the bottom. Basically, you will try to use your top one or two
fingers to hold the hammer while your bottom two or three fingers re-grip
lower on the handle. Then you will need to hold the weight with your bottom
two fingers while your top two fingers move back down the handle toward
your lower two fingers. Keep "walking" in this way until you
reach the hammer head at the bottom. You will find that this is more difficult
than you might at first believe. One of the major difficulties is of course
walking your fingers down the handle. Another is making sure that each
hand "walks" at the same time. If they "walk" at different
paces, the hammer will soon be torqued and will be very difficult to hold
because one hand will be bearing the brunt of the burden while the other
hand does relatively little to help.
There are endless variations on what
you can do with this exercise to make it more difficult. If you can walk
your fingers up and down the sledge hammer several times, you can move
the resistance up in at least one of two ways. First, you can get a heavier
hammer or add weights to the bottom of it. This is most advantageous if
none of your fingers is disproportionately strong (or weak) relative to
the others. Another way in which to add variety to this exercise is by
performing it with just three fingers (and you can switch which three
you use) or, if you are incredibly strong, performing it with just two
fingers. Believe me, this is EXTREMELY difficult with a 16-pound sledge.
I recommend the Strongman Grips hand grippers, as these
are like no other gripper you have tried before! Wheras sporting goods
store grippers provide you with between 10 and 50 pounds of resistance,
these grippers provide you with between 100 and 300 pounds of resistance!
You will not believe the strength levels you can achieve by training on
these grippers. If you can close the 200 pound gripper, you are able to
CRUSH most people's hands in a handshake, and if you can close the 250's
all the way I DON'T want to shake your hand! And don't even think about
the 350's, because only a few people in the world have EVER fully
BOOK: If you are interested
in learning the moves above in much greater detail, as well as several
advanced moves, our Ultimate Guide to Professional
Arm Wrestling Technique might be just
what you are looking for. Topics
covered in the book include how to come back from a losing position, more
arm wrestling-specific exercises, and how to win at arm wrestling on the
surfaces other than an arm wrestling table (across a kitchen table, on
the floor, and in bars), as well as many others.
We also offer a video, Secrets of Pro Armwrestling,
that details how to win at armwrestling and features several world champion
armwrestlers! To learn more about the video, click here.