MEGA Q&A (100 Questions Answered) by Champion Australian Armwrestler: Ryan “Blue” Bowen (2016)
Here at Fitworld Exposed we talk a lot about how the key to getting bigger arms all lies in the forearms and arm-wrestlers exemplify this because a lot of them don’t have the biggest biceps/triceps yet their arms still look massive. On the other hand you have a lot of people who train at commercial gyms who are blasting their biceps and triceps like no tomorrow but yet their arms still look small as a whole and thats because they haven’t developed the outer extremities of their arms. I honestly can’t blame these people because the way that bodybuilding has structured their programs you don’t even see the forearms (nor the neck) ever get mentioned. You will see something like back and bicep day or chest and tricep day, but the forearms never get mentioned and that is one of the big problems right there.
In the past week I had the chance of communicating with one of the top armwrestlers to ever come out of Australia who goes by the name of Ryan “Blue” Bowen. Although he may not be the biggest guy, don’t let his looks fool you because he has even said it with confidence that he is convinced that he could beat any bodybuilder on the planet (regardless of size). This goes to show you that weight isn’t necessarily as important as people think when it comes to armwrestling. Most of it has to do with tendons, ligaments, technique, specialized training for armwrestling, heart and other stuff of that nature.
I always say that whenever you want to get good at anything you always want to take advice from the best and arm-wrestlers have some of the biggest and strongest forearms/hands on the planet because their sport revolves around that (along with technique and a bunch of other factors).
Not only could we learn about getting bigger forearms from arm-wrestlers, but we could also learn tips on arm-wrestling techniques and other interesting stuff relating to the sport because lets face it, arm wrestling is one of the most alpha sports out there. I personally feel like its an underrated sport for the most part and that it doesn’t get the love that it deserves and that’s why its part of my duty to spread the word on these amazing athletes because they deserve the attention!
The questions below are in no particular order, but they are very informative and you will definitely learn a lot (especially if you are a novice)!
Lets dive into the world of armwrestling!
For the readers who don’t already know, how long have you been arm-wrestling for and when did you start making a career out of it?
To be honest, I would have been in the sport far longer had I known it was an official sport, but it was only a little over 3 years ago that I discovered professional Armwrestling. All my life I have loved Armwrestling, whether it was my mates at school growing up or my old man growing up, I always loved the direct combative competition that it provides.
Do you look up to anybody in the arm wrestling community or do you just motivate yourself?
Like many armwrestlers on the planet there are two main armwrestlers that inspire me. John Brzenk from the USA and Devon Larratt from Canada. Both armwrestlers epitomize what it means to be an elite armwrestler. Not only are they strong, but they are incredible tacticians and understand the biomechanics of the sport better than anyone else out there.
How do you warm-up for a big arm-wrestling match before a competition?
Im actually someone who doesn’t like to warm up on the table. Prior to a competition I focus on isometric contractions to get the blood into the arm. I never like getting on the table. I always feel as though getting on the table increases the nervous energy I experience which in turn seems to leach power and allows doubt to creep in. Ultimately, I like to be alone, quiet and focused prior to comp.
Powerlifters make the bench press their main upper body exercise that they put most of their focus on, would the “bench press” of armwrestling be the EZ-Bar curl?
Goodness no. So often from the outside perspective, people believe that the bicep is the base that determines an elite armwrestler. In fact the base is the forearm. Primarily the common flexors. One of the major goals in an armwrestle is to not use your bicep. If your opponent gets on your bicep, good chance you are losing. The forearm combined with lats form the basis of a solid Armwrestling offense.
What are some of the exercises that you contribute most of your forearm mass to? A lot of people tell me that I just need to do pinwheel curls, hammer curls and reverse curls (all with 2.5+ inch fat handles), but I personally don’t see much growth. Is this because I am going too heavy, I’m not going heavy enough, not getting enough squeezes or something else? Also what is the highest rep range that you will work in with forearms?
What I would recommend is what we commonly term “cupping” or in a more scientific sense, flexion of the wrist. Cupping is the single most critical movement in Armwrestling. Armwrestling is mostly about dragging your opponent over to your side of the table. A strong cup, is the key to being able to achieve this.
How important is isometric training for an armwrestler and how much isometric work are you currently incorporating in your programming?
Most movements in an armwrestle are isometric. To lose an armwrestle, you opponent needs to unwind a series of negatives in your arm. They must unwind, your pec, your shoulder, your bicep, your forearm pronators, and your forearm flexors. Isometric training therefore makes up a huge part of the strength training for armwrestlers. It provides the greatest development in tendon strength and stiffness and is what separates standard gym goers from armwrestlers. Interestingly, an armwrestlers may not have a particularly strong full range of motion curl; but the isometric hold at the top of the curl is monstrously strong.
What are some very common arm-wrestling myths and can you give me the actual facts?
The bigger guy always wins. This is totally untrue, what defines an elite armwrestler is his tendon strength and stiffness. As someone who trains for this specifically I regularly dismiss of guys twice my size. In fact, I am 100% certain, there isn’t a bodybuilder on the planet who could beat me in an armwrestle, and im only 80kg. I have already beaten in official comps, fomer 3 x times Australia’s Strongest Man, at the South Australian State Titles last month, a 215kg armwrestler, and just last week a 150kg powerlifting athlete.
Is it true that in arm-wrestling its important to try to bring your opponents hand closer to your chest because bringing his arm closer to your body will give you better leverages or should you mostly be concerned on side pressure (or both)?
You are spot on when you say bring them closer to you. Leverage is everything in an armwrestle. To become a good armwrestler, stop trying to pin your opponent, and start trying to bring them as close to you as possible. Do this and the pin just happens naturally. Side pressure is awful, it cause serious injury and is honestly a very weak movement.
I see a lot of arm-wrestlers doing barbel curls with the bar in between their thumbs and index fingers, what is the purpose of curling in this fashion?
This sounds to me that they are looking to strengthen what we call the “post”. Being able to keep your wrist high during the setup of a match really does put you in control of where the match goes. And in armwrestling this means likely victory.
I also see a lot of arm-wrestlers doing one arm barbel curls, whats the point of this exercise without being too vague?
The reason for this is, as you may expect, simulating an armwrestle is important when training. Teaching your body to focus purely on the one arm to get its maximal effort is something that takes both physical and mental rehearsal. It also allows for the body’s core to become condition to the flexion required to support the armwrestle.
Is it true that arm-wrestlers do a lot of weighted top-half neutral grip pull-ups in order to put more focus on the forearms, biceps and grip?
Indeed, neutral grip, top half pull ups are a great movement for building the base that we were referring to earlier. The forearm flexion and lat engagement here, allows for great development of the forearms and the back pressure needed in a match.
Do you ever use very thin handles in your training or do you always use handles that are 2.5 inches and up?
Table time (Armwrestling) is the most efficient way of training. When you don’t have anyone to grip up with it is important to keep your hands working hard. So in answer to the question, I never use thin handles. The thicker the better.
The hook is a common move in arm-wrestling, what are some other moves that most beginners should know about? Begginers should try not to focus on side pressure, and look to simply achieve flexion of the wrist, back pressure with the lats, and if they can then sense a win, simply lean over at the hips and pin their opponent.
Once a beginner has mastered this, they can then go on to learn the finer arts of Hooking, toprolling and pressing. Whatever you do though, as a beginner, stay away from the press. It’s a recipe for a broken arm if you don’t know how to use it safely.
A lot of arm-wrestlers tend to experience elbow pain later on in their careers, what are some of the best ways to prevent this as much as possible?
The elbow pain comes from too much side pressure. Very simply, the best way to avoid this chronic inflammation is to focus almost exclusively on wrist flexion and back pressure. Let the pin happen naturally, and this pain will rarely show its ugly head.
Lets get into some specifics, whats your take on head placement during arm-wrestling matches?
Armwretling really is a science. The positioning of your body really does play a major part in determining how solid your defence is. For me, I like to have my position to the right side of my arm (when Armwrestling right handed) and loaded quite low. This allows me to explode up and left from the go, which enhances the pronation in my hit. Others like to stand tall which brings a sense of almost creating a wall that your opponent has to climb over. But the one common thing is to have you head behind your arm. This puts your shoulder in a position that creates a very strong base to hit from.
What is the best way to have a strict arm-wrestling match without having the access to a special table?
Use a table or bench where you can stand. Sit down armwrestling increases the chances of pushing and ultimately putting yourself in a dangerous position. Standing up allows you to use your whole body and keeps you far safer. Allow the non Armwrestling hand to grab onto anything you choose. Real Armwrestling is about the whole body, don’t let anyone tell you it is cheating.
How important is your bodyweight when it comes to arm-wrestling?
Bodyweight, doesn’t mean much. Most armwrestlers focus their training almost exclusively on their hand, wrist and forearm, so the rest of the body doesn’t really have that much of a factor in determining the potential of an armwrestler. Of course, having said that, the superheavyweight armwrestlers (110kg+) love to get as heavy as possible.
A lot of armwrestlers do a ton of sledgehammer work in different directions, but which hammer exercises are the best for building forearm size? Also what is an affordable size to buy a heavy and long hammer from?
Sledge hammer work is something that is used for strengthening peoples post, and people forearm rotation. Rotation is a huge factor in armwrestling and is probably the biggest difference between bodybuilders who train their forearms and armwrestlers. Everyone who just trains straight forearm flexion and no rotation misses out on so much of the development potential. Using an 8lb hammer is more than enough if you holding it at the end. But always be careful, a hammer can easily cause injury. I much prefer training my rotation with a belt looped over the thumb with a weight suspended below.
What are some of the best ways to prevent armwrestling injuries (ex: using the right tables, form…etc).
As I mentioned earlier, the absolute best thing you can do to prevent injury is to stop using side pressure, any form of pushing, and start using lats and forearm flexion as your main effort. Simply pull your opponent closer to you and only pin them if you can do so without reaching your maximum effort in side pressure.
Will arm-wrestling ever be in the Olympics?
Id put money on it. The sport has just been accepted into the Paralympics, and is making major breakthoughs on the IOC and will very possibly be in the Olympics in Japan 2020!
What is your biggest goal for this year?
For me this year has already been highly successful. In march I won the Asia Pacific Championship at the Arnolds Classic for the under 80kg category. This was easily my biggest win to date. Moving forward, om the Australian circuit my goal is to climb the current Overalls rankings. Taking down one heavy weight at a time, I want to end the year on the podium for the heavyweights in the Australian National titles whilst remaining at 80kg.
A lot of bodybuilders will have programs that look something like:
Monday: Chest + Triceps
Thursday: Back + Biceps + Forearms
Friday: Shoulders + Traps
This is a common example of what is known as a bodybuilding split routine.
What does your weekly training routine look like for arm wrestling on average? I absolutely always aim to achieve as much table time as possible. Armwrestling is easily the most effective way to train. Ideally I am gripping up on the table with other elite pullers, a minimum of 6 days a week. Table time provides the perfect combination of muscular efforts, to keep your game progressing. If I cant get table time, I will usually split my routine up into all of the angles that the forearm can handle. Flexion, pronation and supination are the major forearm groups that I target.
How long do your sessions usually last on average and how long does it take for you to get warmed up?
A warm up usually lasts 2 or 3 minutes of 30% effort when i’m Armwrestling with another puller. Once warm the session then on average last 2 to 3 hours.
Do you ever incorporate 3 inch+ handle work in your training? In other words how fat are the handles that you train with?
I do. When I am training wrist flexion I like to put a standard fat grip over the bar, then I put another fat grip over the top of the fatgrip. I haven’t measured it, but this feels great and allows for great connection through the flexors. Armwrestling really isn’t about squeezing the fingers. Flexion of the wrist is so much more important, so the bigger the handle the better.
Do you find that Captain Crush Grippers help your performance in arm wrestling and do you find that they are good for forearm hypertrophy?
Grip strength really isn’t something that is particularly important in an armwrestle. I honestly never use grippers. Squeezing the hand is a very inefficient movement within a match. Although many armwrestlers can close the biggest of grippers, this isn’t something we train. I have no doubt grippers help with hypertrophy, but no where near as much as wrist flexion, pronation and supination.
Do you ever incorporate any Farmers walks into your training?
I do. I love the farmers walk. Although the type of farmers walk I do isn’t your typical heavy farmers walk. For me at the end of my session I like to go for a 2km walk with a 17.5kg weight in each hand. The first 200m you will think it is incredibly easy, but the lactic acid very quickly arrives and 2km becomes nearly impossible to achieve without putting the weights down.
Do you incorporate any sledgehammer levering work into your programming and if so then how heavy is your hammer that you use?
I have tried using a sledge hammer as part of my training, but to be honest I feel it has too high a risk of injury. The weight can quickly become too much if you go beyond your limit of control, and there is a very real risk you stretch the ligaments in the wrist. Rather than this I train my rotation by looping a belt over my thumb and letting the weight be suspended from the belt. I then rotate my wrist and it provides a much safer training experience.
What is the most weight that have ever strict curled and what rep range do you usually work in? Also do you incorporate a lot of barbel rows in your program and if so then do you do them with a fatbar?
My strict curl isn’t all that impressive as I don’t really work it that often. I always tend to focus on the top half of the range of motion only, always preventing the arm from opening at all. In this sense, at the top of my range of motion, the heaviest resistance I can handle is approx 80kg. (picture me stand with my elbow into my hip, my elbow at 90 degrees and a 80kg person hanging from hand/wrist)
A lot of arm wrestlers talk a lot about the importance of doing hammer curls and how they take this exercise very seriously, would you mind elaborating on why exactly?
The hammer curl (the top half of it) is a key component to what an armwrestler describes as his post. The stronger the post the more stress it places on your opponents hand, which ultimately dictates who is in control of the setup of the match. This move is really only used for the setup and also if you need to take a regrip during the match.
Do you ever use wrist rollers and if so then why?
When I am training my wrist flexion I do use rollers. A free spinning handle is the best thing for strengthening your wrist flexion. I do heaves in a neutral grip on rollers, and when I am isolating my wrist flexion I use rollers. This simply forces your to keep your forearm flexors engaged; and when at the bottom of the movement it places tremendous stress right out to the tips of your fingers (which is always where your opponent will attack you).
I’ve never played any serious arm-wrestling matches against anybody in my life, what are a couple of basic and critical tips that you could give me to start off if ever anybody challenges me?
Probably the most critical thing is to lock your arm and use your whole body. Resist the temptation to push. Aside from it being dangerous, pushing is very weak compared to pulling. Pull your opponent toward you and when you want to pin, do it by leaning over, not by pushing.
How do you use leg drive and core strength during an arm wrestling match? Also what is your take on foot placement and lower body stance as far as getting a mechanical advantage is concerned?
In a professional armwrestle there is a lot of torque going through the body. I like to wrap my right leg around the table supports and position my hip hard against the edge of the table. This provides a stable platform to lever your arm from. Without the stable platform you will not be able to generate half as much power.
Are there any “cheats” or “hacks” per say that aren’t really cheats, but they give you a huge advantage in winning an arm wrestling match? (ex: squeezing a particular one of your opponents fingers..etc)
The easiest trick or hack when you are taking on a mate (who doesn’t really know anything about the sport) is when taking a grip, be the person to have your knuckles facing upward. Allow your opponent to grip your hand with their knuckles facing forward. This will give you a leverage advantage.
How do you use the strength of your shoulders and lats to aid you in an arm wrestling match? Also how important are these muscles for arm wrestling and do you experience soreness in these areas the day after a serious match? The lats combined with strong wrist flexion form the basis of an Armwrestling offence. A strong hand with no lat power or vice versa means that ultimately you cannot bring your opponent over to your side of the table, which means you are fighting an uphill battle in what is now a side pressure leverage disadvantage.
When it comes to shoulders, it is probably more accurately the rotators. When you are in a defensive position, it is important to make your arm as tight as possible in all the angles of your body. You put your fist as close to you shoulder as possible and your elbow as close to your body as possible. When your opponent attacks from here, there outside of the shoulder burns like crazy. I specifically train my shoulder rotators just to survive a long defensive match.
What are some breathing and bracing techniques that you could give novice arm wrestlers?
If you are someone who likes to hit hard and fast, then a big exhale on the go provides a brilliant boost to your power. If the match is a a long battle, I tend to find myself holding my breath. Many times when an opponent takes a breath, their power drops away a touch, and that can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
What are some of the ways that you can tell that someone has good genetics for the sport of arm wrestling?
(ex: thick wrists…etc) I honestly am a believer that genetics only determine your start point. Hard work and commitment will take anyone to the top. I was incredibly thin and weak prior to taking up this sport. I used to be told that my wrist were incredibly thin. Now after dedicating myself to this sport, people look at my wrists and say, no wonder you are a good armwrestler, look at how thick your wrists are. Trust me they didn’t start that way.
How often do you practice arm wrestling matches per week and do you contribute some of your forearm size to arm wrestling?
Also tell me where can I find affordable arm-wrestling competition tables online? 6 days a week minimum. I absolutely attribute my success in this sport to this factor. Being on the table is the best possible thing you can do to develop yourself within this sport. In terms of purchasing a table. Within the northern hemisphere, Mazurenko is the go to for a professional table. Within Australia, Monzta Products Armwrestling Tables are easily the best table.
One of my biggest goals is to have 16 inch upper arms with 16 inch forearms. I currently have 15.5 inch upper arms and about 14.25 inch forearms and I know that getting to 16 inches will take long, but what do you recommend?(ex: weight gain, special exercises…etc)
To get the forearms up to speed, the key is not to neglect forearm rotation. So often people only train forearm flexion. Pronation and Supination make up so many of the muscles within the forearm; and it is the development of forearm rotation that separates armwrestlers from other strength athletes.
What is the funniest moment that you have had during arm-wrestling up to date?
There are some characters in the sport. Some people become incredibly psyched up before and during a match. But for me I am always pretty quiet and focused in the lead up. The funniest thing I have seen on the table is probably armwrestlers slipping apart from the ready go and simultaneously hitting themselves in the face.
How do the tournaments that you go to in armwrestling usually work? (Best 2/3, time between matches, number of matches..etc)?
Tournaments are a double elimination format. Lose twice and your out. Time between matches usually average 3 to 5 minutes. Once in the finals, 1 minute is all you get between each round.
I am sure that you have seen thousands of armwrestling matches in your life. What are 3 beginner mistakes that are a COMPLETE waste of energy that a lot of novices typically do during armwrestling matches?
Pushing/Sidepressure/focusing on pinning. As ive mentioned earlier, the best thing you can do in an armwrestle is to pull your opponent to your side of the table using a combination of forearm flexion, pronation and lat drag.
Also while you are at it tell me some exercises that are a COMPLETE waste of time when training for armwrestling matches?
Armwrestling is essentially about the hand wrist and forearm. The further away the body part from these areas the bigger the waste of time. (with the exception of lats) Is it actually true that in armwrestling matches you are technically allowed to “squat down” a bit as long as your elbow is on the pad because we see in a lot of professional armwrestling matches that a lot of pullers get down really low and end up winning As long as you have your elbow on the pad and one foot on the ground at the start of the match, you can end up in any position you like. People sometimes gain more rotation in their hand by dropping their body. But every position has a counter to it.
Soft tissue work is very important for maintaining healthy muscles for the long haul, how often do you do soft tissue work and what do you use (lacrosse ball, foam roller…etc)?
If I could afford it I would do it daily. Ideally speaking once a week would be great for keeping the arms healthy. Usually I will work my arm with a tennis ball sized roller if I’m feeling tender.
When you talk about the days where you practice with table work armwrestling matches for 2-3 hours, how many matches will you typically play?
Its not so much that we are having matches. It is just essentially continuous armwrestling. We will train all of the various angles associated with each movement and rest when needed.
Do you ever get a bit intimidated when you are playing against someone who is 100lb heavier than you with forearms that are inches bigger than yours?
Not at all. Size really doesn’t mean much on the table. Most big guys lack rotation in the forearm which if taken away from them leaves them in a position where leverage is well and truly against them. As mentioned earlier. I am confident I would beat any bodybuilder on the planet regardless of size.
What are some advanced moves in armwrestling that you are only starting to discover now?
The longer I am in the sport the more subtle the movements are becoming. Like any sport, the closer you are to the worlds best the smaller the refinements become.
You talked about how you find that the top half curling variations are important for armwrestlers and how they are also important for forearm hypertrophy, what would be considered a strong top half curl? (Ex: 2.5 inch Fatgrip Top Half Hammer Curls with two 100lb dumbells x 5, EZ Bar Fat Grip top half reverse curls…etc)?
The top half of the hammer curl is definitely important. Although if I was training it specifically I wouldn’t actually use a thick grip in that scenario. If I’m aiming to improve my bicep hold I would get the heaviest weight possible, pick it up…..and lean forward propping my elbow on something like a preacher curl bench leaning forward until my forearm is parallel with the floor, and then stand back up. The strongest armwrestlers on the planet are doing this with 100kg without their arm angle opening at all.
What do you consider to be a really strong and elite amount of weight to wrist curl and for how many reps (also with what kind of handle)?
Many elite armwrestlers can raw wrist curl in excess of 200kg across both arms. But for me this training is too risky and injury prone. I train my cup on the table, or when I’m not on the table I use a light weight (10kg) with ultra high reps on a free rolling handle.
Whats the highest rep range that you will ever work in with wrist curls and wrist extensions and why would you go up to this rep range?
10kg continuous effort until failure…30 seconds break and repeat 3 to 4 times.
Since you like overloading the top of your curls so much then how much band work do you incorporate into your programs and do you also include a lot of band wrist curls? Also what kind of band tension do you usually work with?
I use bands when I don’t have anyone I can grip up with. I am always aiming to simulate table time with the bands. The tension is fairly easy. It is more about repetition of the correct angles that gives me the best progress.
Do you ever do any open hand rubberband work in order to counteract all of the gripping?
Not as often as I should. For the sake of keeping healthy I do think that balance is essential. But it isn’t something I commonly do.
How important is finger strength in armwrestling and do you ever do 2-3 finger pull-ups?
Finger strength in terms of the tendon stiffness is pretty important when trying to contain your opponent. But you need to be careful not to confuse it with squeezing strength. I don’t train pullups with 1 to 2 fingers. I get all of my finger strength again on the table.
This may sound like a funny question, but do you ever thumb wrestle?
No, but whenever a non armwrestler challenges me to a thumb wrestle, I dominate them and find it amusing how easy it is to beat them.
When doing wrist curls do you do them with a thumbless grip or do you wrap your thumb around?
If I did wrist curls I would definitely wrap my thumb.
You talk a lot about the exercises that you like for the wrist flexors, what do you like to do for direct work for the wrist extensors?
What I described earlier as a “post” uses the extensors to a degree, however, I Don’t actively look to make strength progression in my extensors.
In powerlifting there are raw competitions and geared competitions. Is there any equipment that you could use in armwrestling to make you a lot stronger (not drugs)?
No. In armwrestling you aren’t permitted to wear any clothing that covers your elbow and there aren’t any aids that assist.
How big are your forearms compared to your upper upper arms and how much do you currently weigh?
When my arm is straight my forearm and upper arm are the same size. When in the flexed position my bicep has an extra half inch on my forearms. I weigh 80kg
I weigh 230lb so what would be some ways that I could use my weight to my advantage as much as possible for getting the upper hand?
The best approach is to forget about your total weight and simply focus on making your hand as strong as possible.
What are certain armwrestling skills that only come with years and years of experience?
Keeping tight and learning to use a shoulder defence is something that beginners really struggle with. Understanding how to use rotation takes quite a long time and the intricate movements of the hand take a long time to understand. I have no doubt that the longer I am in the sport the more complex the technique is going to become.
Are you always going full force the time during an armwrestling match or are there parts of the match where you are going slightly less hard?
I will always go full force in my hand. This often translates to an easy effort level in my arm. If my opponent cant match the force in my hand they don’t gain access to arm power.
I live in Montreal where Hockey is the main sport that people care about. Is armwrestling the “hockey” of where you live?
No its quite a small sport compared to hockey. In eastern Europe it is enormous. But it is still quite an emerging sport in Australia.
Do professional armwrestlers actually earn a really high salary to live well off of? Also what is the prize money in the tournaments that you compete in (if there is any prize money)?
The World Armwretling League pays quite well in a prizemoney sense with world champs walking away with in excess of $10,000 per arm and 8th place picking up $500 per arm
When gripping your opponents hand, are your fingers as spread out as much as possible or are they stuck together?
Mostly together. Control is a very important aim in an armwrestle. Locking your hand together allows this to be at its best.
What exactly is your “non-working” hand doing during armwrestling matches?
Holding the peg. This is a rule within pro armwrestling.
Describe to us the best armwrestling match of your life?
Any match where I am told I have no chance of defeating an opponent leads me to being fired up to a point where victory becomes immensely satisfying.
Do you ever incorporate plate pinches in your program for grip strength?
I’ve noticed that a lot of armwrestlers are hunched over and certain armwrestlers don’t have the best posture. Do you find that armwrestling has impacted your posture in a negative way or not?
Yes, Armwrestling definitely impacts posture. Armwrestlers have to be aware of achieving balance to their body and use tools such as rear delt flys to open up.
We talked about the forearms, lats and biceps, but what role do the triceps have in armwrestling?
The triceps play an important role once you have gained hand control but do not yet have enough power to finish the match. The triceps allow “down” pressure to be maintain along with the lat drag.
Is lower body training really that important in armwrestling? What does your leg training look like?
Defintely no need for legs. I don’t train my legs. Helps me stick to my weight category.
What does your back training usually look like?
The only back training I actively complete is armwrestling. The lat work in an armwrestle develops quite a bit of back strength. The average elite armwrestler can do pullups with ease. Many being able to do one arm pullups.
What does your chest and shoulder training look like?
Again, armwreslting is the only thing I do. lol. seriously. I focus purely on armwrestling. Everything else only develops as it is needed in armwrestling.
Where exactly do you look the whole time when you are armwrestling?
Most of the time I am looking at my own hand and noting it in relation to my opponents body position. This helps me to expose their weak points.
How far do you like to keep your shoulder away from your fist for optimal positioning in your opinion?
The closer the better. Getting your opponent on your side of the table takes away their access to power and increases yours.
Do you ever do pull-ups with unconventional objects shaped like lacrosse balls or towels?
Occasionally I do pull-ups with various options for the hand based training. However, again it doesn’t really play a big part of my regular routine.
I see a lot of armwrestlers do exercises with their hands in buckets of sand, what is the logic behind this and do you do this for your training?
Hand in the sand is primarily used for training rotation, both pronation and supination. It also allows you to train the extensors.
Whats your take on the Neil Lewis armwrestling machine?
My thought on all armwrestling machines is that they are flawed. They attempt to simulate real armwrestling but fall a long way short. They only ever emphasize the side pressure component of armwrestling and forget the hand totally. This will bring on injury and ultimately develop a poor technique.
Thank you for your time! If you want to see more of Ryan then you could check him out at: