Q&A with World Champion Poland Armwrestler: Jan Żółciński (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 thats why its part of my duty to spread the word on these amazing athletes because they deserve the attention!
What made you get into armwrestling in the first place?
I always likes individual sports where Your power, speed and technique are the main elements. When I saw professional Armwrestling and I tried it – that was clear that this is my sport.
You have hands down some of the largest forearms I’ve ever seen! One of my goals is to eventually get my forearms to 16 inches, what are your top 5 favorite exercises for the forearms for packing on slabs of SIZE?
I will get it as the compliment 🙂 There is a lot of exercises. My favorites are: curling wrist with dumbbell but I like the wrist pronation and supination exercises also. I’m using special belts made by Mazurenko Equipment to train them. I’m training with them to simulate the real position used on armwrestling table. In my opinion – You have to use fingers and metacarpus in the beginning of building forearms.
How do you warm-up for a big arm-wrestling match before a competition?
Before the championships or professional fight I’m swinging hands, forearms and shoulders to warm-up the joints. I’m using rubbers to warm-up my muscles. Massage is used to have flexible attachment of the muscle.
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?
Armwrestling is so complicated. The most important parts are fingers, metacarpus, wrist, forearm, shoulders, back and chest. There is a lot of exercises for that 🙂
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?
I’m training using „fat handle”. In every sport and training – you have to find that point – what works for You in the best way. I suggest to start with this handle and set the training to use metacarpus in the maximum way and on the maximum curled wrist You can keep the weight isometric. I’m using isometric in every exercise.
How important is isometric training for an armwrestler and how much isometric work are you currently incorporating in your programming?
What are some very common arm-wrestling myths and can you give me the actual facts?
Myths what I hear every time is „You can not curl your wrist in armwrestling”. The true is, that wrist should be straight only in setup, before “Ready-Go” command.
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)?
As I said – Armwrestling is complex. If You are using one part of Your muscles – you are weaker than if You use more muscles. If You will use Your back, chest, forearm and other parts – You will generate more power and with pulling Your opponent hand to you – you are decreasing angles in your hand – and Your hand is more powerful. This is why armwrestling competitors training in exact specified angles.
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 training is based on rotatours. They are very helpfull in top-roll technique.
I also see a lot of arm-wrestlers doing one arm barbel curls, whats the point of this exercise without being too vague?
I’m not sure I correctly understand this question but this exercise is similar to the first one but made in different way. But the goal is the same.
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?
On my example: at the warm-up I’m doing the pull-ups in the full way. But during training session I’m doing pull-ups from the top to the half way to train this muscle parts. You have to be strong in special angles in armwrestling.
Do you ever use very thin handles in your training or do you always use handles that are 2.5 inches and up?
I’m using thin handles sometimes during the chest or biceps training. In the other training sessions I’m using 2,5.
The hook is a common move in arm-wrestling, what are some other moves that most beginners should know about?
Hook is the best and my favorite. And as I know – a lot of novice and pro armwrestlers are using this technique. But there is as much techniques as much competitors in the armwrestling sport. Everyone modify the general moves for themselves. General techniques are: hook, top roll and triceps. I suggest to use the top-roll because it’s most save and you can get less injuries.
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?
They have to warm-up correctly and during the training sessions do not make fast moves. At the beginning – the training technique is most important. After that You can increase the weight. Even if You have big muscles (and a lot of them) You have to remember that moves in armwrestling are made in different directions and Your joints and tendons needs more time to adapt. I had that pain at the beginning. But when I used this rules – I feel pain after hard championships only.
What is the best way to have a strict arm-wrestling match without having the access to a special table? Also how do you make this match as safe as possible?
It’s hard to answer. I strongly suggest to not pull on not-professional table because You can injure yourself easly. If You want to armwrestle – it’s good if somewhere around is someone who knows how to do it and in danger position he can stop the fight. I’m talking about because there is a lot of videos with broken hands during armwrestling. And that videos and that „armwrestling” is not a real sport what we are doing. Save Your hands.
How important is your bodyweight when it comes to arm-wrestling as far as leverages are concerned?
Body weight is important and that’s why we have the weight classes. Your height and forearm length is important – in triceps style competitor can use his weight to hit the hand of his opponent.
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?
Every single exercise, which needs good grip and hand stabilization is ok. Size of the hammer should be prepared for your power and Your hand.
What are some of the best ways to prevent armwrestling injuries (ex: using the right tables, form…etc) and do you think that side pressure is really that dangerous?
There is the injury risk in armwrestling like in the other sports. For sure – if you know the rules – risk of the injury is lower. But You have to remember that there is no rule for torn biceps. If you want to armwrestle – take someone who knows how to do it and knows the safety rules. And on professional table and after the good warmup.
Will arm-wrestling ever be in the Olympics?
I hope so. There is some moves to do it – separated championships for disabled competitors and anti-doping tests. That means we are closer to reach the Olympics games. I would like to see armwrestling in the Olympics.
Thank you for your time! If you want to see more of Jan then you could find him at: