Q&A with Heavyweight WAL Armwrestler: Derek Smith (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 that’s because they haven’t developed the outer extremities of their arms.
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 and 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 doesn’t get all of 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!
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?
Ive been Arm Wrestling about 5 years now. I immediately fell in love with the sport. If you want to compete physically against someone and you are out of college then you dont have a lot of options, unless you want to fight and get punched in the face all the time haha. I set my goals at the top and have taken it serious ever since.
Do you look up to anybody in the arm wrestling community or do you just motivate yourself?
There are many people who have motivated me in the sport. Mostly to beat them though haha. I find it incredible that there are so many people on the planet who care about this sport and are also working tirelessly at it day in and day out to become the strongest version of themselves.
What is your biggest goal for this year?
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?
How long do your sessions usually last on average and how long does it take for you to get warmed up?
Do you ever incorporate 3 inch+ handle work in your training? In other words how fat are the handles that you train with?
Yes i use the original country crush handle daily, it hits my forearms very specifically. I have built handles from Lowes that are 3 inches and rotate for less than $20. i feel they hit the hand and forearm very well, if your hand and wrist are too weak generally you cannot effectively transfer your power on the table. There cannot be weak links in the chain.
Do you find that Captain Crush Grippers help your performance in arm wrestling and do you find that they are good for forearm hypertrophy?
Do you ever incorporate any Farmers walks into your training?
I would love to incorporate strong man type of lifts into my training but currently i do not have access to such amazing tools.
Do you incorporate any sledgehammer levering work into your programming and if so then how heavy is your hammer that you use?
I have used sledgehammers since i first started in the sport. It is honestly my favorite tool to use. I currently use a 15lb two handed sledge. It does wonders for my wrist.
What is the most weight that have ever strict curled and what rep range do you usually work in?
Honestly i don’t know what my heaviest 2 handed strict curl was. I have strict curled 95lbs one handed before but that was about 3 years ago, so hopefully i have improved haha. As far as rep range i usually will go 10-8-6-2 on heavy curls. Always to failure. Trying to be strong with endurance!
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? Also what is your take on Pinwheel Curls for forearm size?
Do you ever use wrist rollers and if so then why?
Yes i do. Rotating handles do wonders for building up your forearm and hand.
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?
Its all about separating your opponent so that they are spread out and weak and you are tight and strong. That and STAY SAFE. Keep your elbow within your shoulders (as close to your belly button as you can manage) and keep your face as close to your hand as possible, winning AND losing sides of the table.
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?
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)
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?
What are some breathing and bracing techniques that you could give novice arm wrestlers?
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)
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?
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)
Keep working at it. If you are so concerned with the size then you might want to raise your reps of bicep targeting lifts. Forearms take time and dedication, im talking years. Hit them daily and keep getting that pump. These are just my opinions of course.
What is the funniest moment that you have had during arm-wrestling up to date?