How to Arm Wrestle
“You need a thick wrist and a big hand and a long forearm,” says Kent Damore, a 27-year veteran of “pulling,” which is what the pros call arm-wrestling. Endurance also plays a big role. “Cardio helps a lot,” he adds. “Thirty seconds of arm-wrestling is equivalent to a round of boxing.” He recommends starting with hand- and wrist-strengthening exercises like fingertip pull ups and push ups, as well as wrist curls.
A steely grip and strong mental resolve are essential. “I want to stress that this is not a sport that someone who cannot stand losing should be in,” Damore says. “No one is undefeated in this sport professionally.” You also have to be willing to battle for little to no glory. “Arm-wrestling is not a high-paying sport. We drive thousands of miles to get a six-inch trophy,” Damore says. Sometimes the best payoff can be an emotional one. “When I go up to the table, I don’t think of one person specifically. I think of the turmoil in my life and bind up all that energy, bring it to the table, and it’s a release. It’s the closest thing to a fistfight without going to jail.”
From “How to Arm Wrestle” by Jaime Lowe for the New York Times, 2016; Image still from Over the Top
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