The consensus of opinion varies quite a bit, and we have included some of the most popular views.
One camp stresses the obvious: hands, forearms, biceps & triceps and deltoid muscles. The other camp advocates the best training for arm wrestling is to focus on the entire upper body muscles, including chest and stomach muscles. Some go further and talk about strengthening leg muscles as well.
Official CAWL To Arms Referee, Jim Bryan, recently worked with each of the CAWL To Arms teams to prepare them for the inaugural tournament. During their sessions, Jim emphasized “Arm wrestling is a combination of strength, leverage and technique. Competitors are only as strong as their weakest link. If their hand and wrist cannot support their
arm strength, applying too much power will cause the competitor to lose any hand and wrist advantage. Conversely, if the hand and wrist are superior, but the bicep and shoulder strength are lacking, you will probably be pinned while maintaining your strong hand position. It takes a combination of strength throughout the entire upper body to become successful. You can only apply as much pressure as your shoulder, arm, wrist and hand can support. Once the strength limit is exceeded, the form and technique fail and usually the competitor will be defeated.”
There’s one thing, however, they all agree on. Not doing any training at all will most likely result in not only a loss, but a possible injury as well. Like all sports, the best conditioning is necessary to provide satisfactory results, especially a victory!
Arm wrestling is taken a lot more seriously than many people might expect. There is even a collegiate tournament dedicated to the sport.
“I do it to gain experience, compete, to maintain my physical regime and to be healthy and fit,” said Nicholas Leonardis, a senior art history major. “At the same time, I wish to experience personal development as a man by using the dedication and discipline that goes into every aspect of my life here on the arm wrestling mat.”
On Nov. 17, Leonardis, along with five teammates, competed in the inaugural CAWL to Arms Tournament in Asbury Park, N.J. The event was hosted by the College Arm Wrestling League, an organization that gathers college students from around the Northeast area to arm wrestle competitively. The tournament will air on ESPN2 and ESPNU in April, May and July of 2014. The winning team gets a $10,000 grand prize.
Four schools were invited to the event: Rutgers University, the University of Connecticut, Pennsylvania State University and Syracuse University. Each team consisted of six members (three men, three women) and Syracuse faced UConn on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. Because the tournament doesn’t air until 2014, results are not yet publicly available.
“It’s been an experience of a lifetime to be able to represent Syracuse on ESPN,” Michelle Carazas, a junior entrepreneurship and marketing major, said in an email. “I learned it’s not about your size when you arm wrestle, but rather your technique.”
Technique, along with training, plays a vital role in the sport, Leonardis said.
As an aspiring Olympic weightlifter, Leonardis already had the strength — he said he hopes to be considered among bodybuilding greats like Arnold Schwarzenegger when “it’s all said and done.” But since arm wrestling is more than a simple duel between two people, he said, there was a lot he had to learn.
He first picked up the hobby when a representative from CAWL contacted him, gauging his interest in the sport. He then acquired the appropriate gear — regulation tables, pads, handles and a set of rules — and formed a practice regimen. He soon learned that the sport, in addition to attaining his own physical goals, takes up a lot of his time.
Eventually he developed a technique that catered to his upper body strength. He uses the shoulder roll, which involves flexing the shoulder and leaning sideways to decrease the surface area between the shoulder and the table.
Aside from training, he also focused on his diet to prepare for the competition. Leonardis said he uses three main supplements after he works out: creatine, multivitamins and fish oil. He said fish oil is the most important because it’s helpful for the recovery of joints. Leonardis said he took his preparation so seriously because the Syracuse team is relatively new to competition.
“We wanted to get a sense of what our team needs to do to compete and do our best against other schools,” he said. “These kids are active, have a lot of technique, and we feel our team was least experienced coming into this tournament.”
Even with little experience as a team, members were excited to be invited to the first-ever CAWL tournament. Eileen Bell, a senior finance and entrepreneurship major, said she made some great connections at the tournament with her teammates, and also with the opposing athletes.
“I never imagined I would be representing Syracuse University in an arm wrestling competition, but I have learned so much and have met some remarkable people that truly made this experience one to remember,” Bell said in an email.
Other Syracuse team members include: Steve Zavilensky, a junior health and exercise science major; Kelly Sheptock, a freshman communication and rhetorical studies major; and Kevin Mata, a senior health and exercise science major.
NJ.com: ASBURY PARK – “Grip it and rip it!”
Those were the words Referee Jim Bryan shouted before college students faced off at the first-ever College Arm Wrestling League, called CAWL to Arms, held at The Stone Pony on Sunday.
Co-ed teams of six, including two alternates, were vying for a spot at the championships. Syracuse University competed against University of Connecticut, while Penn State University competed against Rutgers University. The winners from each bracket will arm wrestle on Monday for the championship title and grand prize of $10,000. The competition was taped for ESPNU and ESPN2, where the results will be announced.
Rutgers junior Miranda Previte, of Morristown, said she wanted to participate to show that women could compete at the same level as men. “I wanted to show that just because I’m little doesn’t mean that I can’t be strong,” Previte said. Although the team has only met together for about a week, Previte said her experience as a rugby player helped her feel confident going into the rounds. “Going into it I felt trained and prepared,” she said.
As for the competition being held in New Jersey, Previte said that added a sense of urgency to win. “It’s my turf I have to defend it,” Previte said. “It was really great to have a huge Rutgers family here.”
Jessie Godderz, also known as Mr. PEC-Tacular, co-hosted the show. Godderz is a professional wrestler for Impact Wrestling on SPIKE TV and was a two-time contestant on Big Brother. “I was so stoked to do this project,” he said. “Everything completely exceeded my expectations.” Godderz also said he was impressed by the contestants. “These college students brought it. It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Their sportsmanship is unmatched.”
While the taping sometimes had its lull moments, Godderz and another host told jokes, and at one point took off his shirt and arm-wrestled to keep the crowd going. “I’ll just ham it up no matter what,” Godderz said. “Especially if all I’ve got to do is take my shirt off, I get paid for that. It was inevitable it was going to happen.”
Show creator Rob “Bucky” Buchalter said he developed the idea after creating a separate show that never aired. That show, named Big Men on Campus, was expected to focus on strength and endurance for arch rival colleges, including an arm-wrestling event. Buchalter said instead, they decided on a spin off focusing solely on the arm wrestling element. NYC Brand Productions in association with Dutch Productions took on the project. “As a result it became even more popular as a concept,” Buchalter said, adding that it appealed to everyone, not just men.
To compete on CAWL to Arms, students had to submit a video or attend at casting calls on campus. “We picked and chose teams that we thought were equal and that would be most competitive and we brought them here,” Buchalter said. “They’ve done a phenomenal, phenomenal job.”
Buchalter said they had to keep budget in mind, which is why they chose schools in the vicinity of New York. The Stone Pony was ultimately chosen as the taping location because the producers wanted to bring a feel-good type of event to the region in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Buchalter said. “I am honored, privileged, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “Next year we’re hoping to expand it to eight schools.”
Buchalter also emphasized that CAWL to Arms was not a reality show. “This is a sports show, a sports competition show, about a brand-new sport college arm wrestling,” he said. “There are no reality show elements at all and ESPN told us specifically that’s not what they wanted.”
Harlem, N.Y. resident Marley Akonnor, who is a senior at Penn State, said he didn’t do any training beyond his normal power-lifting regime before the competition. “It’s something I’ve never done before and it’s really intricate. I really like one-on-one sports and individual sports because I feel like those are the ultimate test … the training, the success or the failure is ultimately on your shoulders,” Akonnor said. “I think it was a wonderful experience and I’m glad I took the time out to do it.”
Bryan, the referee, has been arm wrestling for roughly 15 years, won four world championships and arm wrestled on five continents for Team U.S.A. “Everyone is getting a fair shot, even if I’ve trained you before, I’m going to hold you to the same standards,” Bryan said. Before the competition, Bryan gave the students some training to learn proper techniques to prevent injuries and to help them exert more power. “It’s one-on-one when you’re up on that table,” Bryan said. “In front of everyone cheering, screaming, there’s nothing like it.”
Bryan said the students wanted to win so they wouldn’t let their team or school down. “Rivalries are great motivators that make you train harder,” Bryan said. “Regardless of the future outcome, anything that makes you train harder is a good thing, especially in today’s society.”
CAWL to Arms will air on ESPNU on May 13, 2014, and on ESPN2 on July 16, 2014, where the winners will be announced.
If you like to watch arm wrestling videos, go to www.armwrestling.com. They have put up nearly 14,000 matches on their site!
Looking for great tips on Arm wrestling?
For those of you who are really into the sport, The New York Arm Wrestling Association (NAWA) not only can tell you how to avoid arm injury, but also has a book out there called “How to Win at Arm Wrestling!” You can find out more at the following link: http://www.nycarms.com/directory_links/beginnersonly.htm