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Due to the large number of requests and the huge amount of information on this page it is

being divided into three different sites. If someone is interested in the latest questions and
answers they will find them on page three. This page is the beginning of the Ask John Brzenk
Ask John Brzenk
John has agreed to answer
questions from armwrestlers
John is recognized as the best armwrestler in the history of the sport.

No more questions will be accepted. John has contributed years answering questions which
you will find on these three sites.
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For site three

Randy from Michigan.

Question #1. Dear John - I have heard about you for many years but have never seen you
compete. How many years have you been in the sport?
Ive been pulling at organized tournaments since age 17 and originally started in the Midwest

2. How old are you?

Im currently 33 years old and will turn 34 on July 15th.
3. How many 1st places have you taken?
Ive never kept track. Originally when I started I would pull in the neighborhood of 20
tournaments a year. Currently its down to maybe 5 to 10 a year ..and of course all were not
first place. To answer your question though I would say around 150 to 200 tournaments.
From Krono in Italy:
Hi Dave! The video's GREAT! Why don't you convert it in .mpeg ? Or Avi and make it
downloadable? So the quality can improve. (answer from Dave)
I think more people will have the opportunity to see the 2 minute video if they can access it live
rather than taking the space and time of downloading.
1. Hey John's very strong, did he fight against Gary Goodridge? (John's answer)
Yes, numerous times, although not recently. We have probably pulled 30 to 40 times against
each other in competitions through out the years.
From Cosar in Turkey
1. Is weight training important and if so what does he advise and how many times a week?
I weight train twice a week mainly to get a pump and stretch from the damage caused by my
armwrestling workouts they don't last long normally 1/2 to 1 hour long I perform 1 set for
about 12 reps . Do I think its important? Not as important as armwrestling hard. If your
armwrestling workouts are suffering because of your weight training I would back off on the
weight training. I've never spent a whole lot of time weight training. My occasional 6 month
spurts with the weights haven't shown me much noticeable improvements in my
armwrestling.. Although I do notice when I'm in good weight training shape I can armwrestle
longer meaning I can last in a particular match longer. But that's not something I normally plan
to do when going to a tournament....
2. Why did you lose the match to Gary Goodridge in yukon jack 94?
Because the rules state when your arm touches the pinning pad you lose....That and the fact
that Gary Goodridge is one of the best, if not currently the best heavyweight armwrestler out
there. As I remember it he had better back pressure than I did that day which was something I
never expected from Gary , he was always great in a hook and his press isn't bad either,
although this new found technique will make beating him very difficult. Its always much easier
to beat someone when you know which direction their pulling. When there is uncertainty it
makes winning much more difficult.
From Arrow
1. Other than armwrestling, how did you develop your side pressure so well? Did the steel bar
bending competitions help you, or do you do any other training exercises that you think
Other than armwrestling? Armwrestling is what does it ! Its very hard to simulate the pressure
needed for great side pressure by lifting, or any other simulated attempt. Plus for me the
competition, even practice makes me pull the muscles and tendons more than I ever would
working out by it makes working out a lot more enjoyable.Steel bar bending
competitions? I'm not familiar with that.

From Bill Morrison in Canada

1. I've been plagued by pain in my inner elbow which bothers me when
trying to pull in an inside hook, making a press unbearable. I know
a lot of others suffering from the same condition. Any suggestions?
Most definitely it's the most common injury / soreness from armwrestling. I still fight soreness
from inflamed tendons on the inside of my arm I think everyone that has ever armwrestled has
dealt with that pain, and it doesnt seem to heel very easily either. How bad is yours? Only you
know that. If mine gets bad I'll ice it down and take some help with the
inflammation.....also lots of time off. Especially before a big tournament. All the working out,
and being in great shape means nothing if your tendons are inflamed. Although If its real bad
you might want to see a doctor. My brother Bill did because of the pain you describe and they
relocated a nerve that was being aggravated. He is doing fine, pulling as strong as ever, and
with no pain. So he says.......
From Val
Your forearm and wrist look very impressive in the photo you have provided on the Internet.
Do you recommend any exercises for that, or you are a "natural" ? Any other suggestions for
training to become a good armwrestler?
Is my forearm natural? Maybe a little, although my left forearm is about 2 inches smaller than
the right so armwrestling has had a little bit of an effect on it. As far as advise. Armwrestle,
have fun, and be patient it takes some time to develop.
From Kimon in Switzerland
1. Dear John, imagine there is a guy whom you don't know very well. It's up to you guys to pull
now, on a tournament. But you really don't know how he's gonna pull, I mean, what technique
this guy's gonna use. How would you pull? Which particular technique or move would you
2. Is it always useful and suitable to use the Top-Roll, let's say one's really good at it; strong
wrist/ effective poste/ strong fingers and so on?
1. If it's in a tournament. I would watch to see what he likes to do. You can also get a pretty
good idea what his strong points may be by his build. Which technique is the right technique?
This depends on your strong points and his weaknesses.
2. Is the top roll the best technique for you? Maybe. But eventually you will run into someone
that has to be beat with a good hook. Be well rounded it makes your best move even better
when your opponents are a little unsure which direction your pulling Don't give yourself away
setting up at the table. Become a unpredictable armwrestler. It also helps slow down the hits
from your opponents.
From Doug in Alaska
1. John, in your opinion what are the top 3 best armwrestling exercises?
2. Also do you have to diet to make the 198 class?
p.s. I enjoyed watching you in person at Petaluma 96 and would have really liked to have seen
you defend your title in 97 at Petaluma against Jason Vale & Eric Woelful.
I'm not sure there are certain exercises that are better than others. Certainly the hand and wrist

are one of the most important first steps in becoming a good armwrestler....But from there a lot
would depend on the style that your working on. Personally my back, shoulder, and triceps
(especially the side triceps) seem to bother me the most from pulling hard so I try to reinforce
those areas in my work outs. Funny as it may seem the styles that I use most never seem to
bother my biceps although I do work them, they seem to be plenty strong enough compared to
my other weak links.. 200 lbs has not been much of an effort for me to maintain in fact I think
its my natural weight when I'm not working out hard. 190 lbs is reachable for me with enough
notice without too much strength lose. Although when I go on my small weight lifting kicks I
have been as high as 220 lbs. I feel most comfortable around 200 in my every day activities,
although I do notice a difference in my armwrestling strength when I am heavier.
From J in Mass.
Well we all know that John is one of the best. But when can we expect to see him next, and
where? I know many people look forward for the chance to be able to pull against him, and I
think if they knew where and when he was going to pull next then with this information we
would be able to make that tournament all that much better!
Which tournaments do I plan on attending and why? When I first started pulling with my dad
15 years ago I would participate in any and every tournament that was available. Money or no
money it was a learning experience and I had something to prove to myself and my
competition... that was then. As much as I still love the sport of armwrestling . At 33 and 15
years of competing. Its not easy to justify taking off work and spending x amount of dollars to
compete for a title. If its a sponsored pro tournament you will most likely see me there....
Currently I plan on attending March 1st main event tournament 220 lbs class. The Golden Bear
in Moscow in April 98 Super heavyweight class. The AWI Super Heavyweight tournament in
Las Vegas June of 98. Then the 98 Pro Am at Lake Tahoe in June.
From Paul
1. I was writing to you to see if you had any videos or books available on the sport of arm
wrestling. I am a newcomer to the sport. I used to be a competitive powerlifter and I love arm
wrestling and would be very interested in learning the technique as well as the strength
training side of this sport.
2. Also, what is the best publication to get on the sport as far as schedules and tournaments
are concerned? I'd really be interested in obtaining information that you have personally
written or been involved in.
There is not much out there to speak of on teaching armwrestling. There are a couple of
videos out there and maybe a old book or two. Your best bet for learning the technique is to
personally get involved with some armwrestlers and some local tournaments.. Ive been asked
many times to put a video together but to be honest Im having a hard time knowing where to
start . Its definitely a sport which requires a lot of hands on practice to realize what works and
what doesnt. As far as schedules go I personally look to the Internet I realize a lot of people do
not send tournament information to Dave but the big ones seem to find their way there.and
who knows maybe eventually with local cooperation we can have tournament schedules
posted by the different areas of the country.
Phil from Colorado
How does one go about learning arm wrestling? A few years ago I won a local arm-wrestling
tournament just as a goof, beating several bigger and stronger guys, so I obviously have some
"knack" for it. I weight train regularly, and have powerlifted successfully in competition for

some time, but would like to start competitive arm wrestling and would like to learn the
technique and training from someone. I have watched numerous matches on TV and can
obviously tell that technique beats strength every time. Who can I learn from? I currently live
in Denver, Co. Thanks for any help you can give.
The best way to learn how to armwrestle is to compete first at a local event like you mentioned
talk with some of your competition see if they have regular practices tell them you are
interested in learning and would like to be a part of their training. Technique is important but
believe me your arm requires a lot of strength and stability to be able to execute technique.
There is no secret trick to armwrestling. It comes from a lot of armwrerstling and a lot of
reinforcement in some very unnatural areas. Dont be discouraged as it will take several years
of armwrestling before you realize your potential.
From SamiL95
Could you please tell us a little about your three best matches. Thank You.
I'm not sure how you would define best matches. Single matches aren't as memorable for me
as the tournament as a whole. My most memorable tournaments, and why are as follows.....
1. The Sands Reno tournament, back in around 82 or 83, was something very special for me.
My father was still actively pulling then, I was 19 or so, virtually an unknown, and pulled three
weight classes that day. Beating some current legends of the time, which included Johnny
Walker, Virgil Arciero, and Clay Rosencrans. I did however, fall short of winning all three
classes, taking a second to Mike Shadock in the heavyweight class. It still was a great day for
me. I'd also like to mention, after that tournament, it took me almost 4 years and a lot of
matches to beat Johnny Walker again. Reno must of woke him up a little. Any time I beat
Johnny, I felt like I accomplished something. Next to my father, Johnny was my inspiration for
excelling in armwrestling. Hated to see him retire.
2. 1986 Over The Top tournament. Lots of hype, high stakes, and length made this tournament
very memorable for me. At 6:00am in the morning I pulled Ed Arnold for the biggest prize in
armwrestling to date a Volvo White Semi Truck. We started three separate times, in a match
that seemed to last an eternity. I was sick for days after that tournament. I think mainly from
lack of sleep. But it was definitely worth it.
3. 1988 World Wristwrestling Championships. This tournament at the time was single
elimination it had some great pullers but the final three matches are what I remember
most...Semi finals in the heavyweight class paired me up with 300lbs plus Richard Lupkus. I
don't think many got a chance to pull Richard but I can tell you he has to be the strongest arm
I have ever gripped up against. Raw Power. If it wasn't for the limited movement on the
wristwrestling table and his inexperience. I surely wouldn't have lasted long. I did however
battle back and win....but the tournament wasn't over I had Ron Bath next in the middle finals
then Robert Webb in the heavy finals. My match with Robert has to be the longest and hardest
fought match I have ever been involved in. You'd better have lots of endurance when pulling
on the old wristwrestling table. Hated to see it go .... not really.
Rudi From Texas
Hey John, after a tournament I suffer for week's in my upper shoulder. What exercise or pulling
style will help?
Are you talking about the back part of your shoulder or deltoid. I suffer there also. I do several
shoulder exercises which includes concentrating on the deltoids...As you become more

advanced in armwrestling it seems more and more strange muscles start hurting......I think this
is normal?
From Garrett
1. First, feats of strength: What are your best feats of strength with arm and forearm
exercises? Table curl? Dumbbell wrist curl? E-Z Bar curl? Concentration curl? Alternate
dumbbell curl? Others?
2. Secondly, I am interesting in hearing some of the most impressive feats of arm strength you
have seen others do -- or that you are aware of. While strength in the gym doesn't necessarily
translate to success in competition, there seems to be a positive correlation between the two,
albeit, a non-linear one.
I hope your not disappointed but I don't lift with heavy free weights and I honestly don't know
what I could do. When I do lift I use machines. It allows me to concentrate more on the muscle
and allows me to go to full exhaustion....
I haven't seen any weightlifting from any armwrestlers that would probably impress a
dedicated weight lifter. If weightlifting consisted of locking out statically an enormous amount
of weight then maybe armwrestlers would be more impressive in the gym.
From Joe in Indiana
John first of all I would like to say that I have watched you for years and in my opinion you are
the best pound for pound armwrestler ever. I have watched you pull on TV and tapes and you
never seem to lose your hand. There are a lot of armwrestlers that have been pulling as long
as you but never seem to develop that type of hand strength. Do you do any type of exercises
that after you do them for awhile and compete in a tournament you know that they made a
I have to attribute my hand strength from simply armwrestling a lot. I do some wristcurls and
hand grippers occasionally but I really don't think its as effective as just getting into some
hard finger, top rolling matches. I've just recently started pulling more with my left arm, and
although I've always used both when working with weights and gripping devices. My left
forearm is 2 inches smaller than the right? That says something for the effectiveness of
Krono from Italy
Strong biceps or strong wrists..what's better?
Developing strong hands and wrist are the first steps and most important thing in becoming a
good armwrestler without them you cant begin to use your upper arm strength to move
towards the pad. I also believe the forearm muscles play a much more important roll in
keeping your arm locked than the biceps my opinion triceps are more important along
with shoulders and back. Biceps although they look intimidating are way down on my list for
main muscles used in armwrestling.
From Bob in Florida
Hi John, You mentioned that you had competed against Gary Goodridge about 30-40 times.
What percentage of those matches did you win?
I've had some great matches with Gary through out the years I've won my share and lost a few
trying. The question is how would we fair against each other today? What you did in the past

is soon forgotten . The mental advantage comes from your last meeting , which I hate to say is
in Garys favor. Gary has been a great competitor through out the years and I look forward to
testing his abilities again in the future. Its been over three years since we have pulled against
each other? Someone please hold a heavyweight tournament.
I love that "streaming video" of you and Zaur. I have watched it about a dozen times. Was this
your first match against him? Was the Russian tournament "Gold Bear" a single elimination or
did you beat him twice? Had you heard of him before you went to Moscow?
Yes it was the first time I had met and competed with Zaur, and no I hadn't heard of him until
that time. The tournament was double elimination until the finals. Then it became single so I
only competed against him once that day.
Joe from Indiana
John I noticed that the table your standing at doesn't have the pin pads. Do you practice on a
table like this to give yourself power beyond the pad or basically a greater range of motion or
is it just a unfinished table?
Actually that photo is taken at my little brothers house. Its Bills table and I'm not sure why he
never put pinning pads on it. But I do like it without the pads it makes the pulls a little harder
and longer.
Mark from New York
Say you know a guy hooks do you top roll him and vise versa? Also I have problems with
opponents with higher forearms than my own. Do you do anything different in this situation?
Also that picture you have posted shows a large forearm have you ever measured it?
Sure, if you can why not. What ever works and is easiest on your arm. Each person and
situation is unique that is why there is no substitute for experience and being able to use
different techniques. Long forearms means less leverage in a hook try controlling this person
into a hook to see how he feels. Grip hand high then low on the wrist to see if it makes a
difference. The last time I checked my forearm measures 15 1/2 inches with arm fully extended.
SiRiuS from Malta
Question for John: Could you please give me a technical explanation on how to execute the
top roll?
The term, to top roll someone, means to gain a leverage advantage by positioning your
opponents hand in a opened hand position. There are several different ways to accomplish
this. First with arm strength. With your wrist positioned straight curl like a reverse curl straight
back towards your body with the knuckles of your fingers positioned high towards the ceiling.
This type top roll requires a lot of curling arm strength and not as much hand and wrist
strength. Its a good style to work on if your not blessed with large dominate hands and wrist.
The other type of top roll relies on superior hand strength along with good side pressure. This
top roll doesn't relay on the biceps as much as it does good hand wrist and finger pressure.
The first step in this move is protecting your own wrist by getting a bow in your wrist. The
rolling and side pressure into your opponents fingers should be felt with the meaty part of
your own thumb. The outside hit relays more on triceps back and shoulder along with a
dominate hand to control your opponents hand open to the side. Two good top rollers in this
direction commonly results in a slipped grip and strap.

PS: I saw the video of you and the guy from Georgia and there is a part where he put his whole
bodyweight onto his arm and almost gets you over, is that allowed??
It sure is. As long as your body, shoulder, face, etc dose not come in contact with your hand.
The move you saw was what armwrestlers call a shoulder roll. You position your body behind
your arm and press with all your body weight. This isn't as easy as it looks it requires a lot of
tricep arm strength to keep your arm in front of you. It is also difficult to protect your hand and
wrist from being top rolled.
Robert from Canada now living in San Clemente
Hi John, first let me tell you that I am a big fan of yours, not only for your known ability to pull
but also for your good attitude on a table. I am one of the best friends of Marc Gauthier
(maggo) from Quebec Canada. You might remember seeing me with him because I use to
follow him to all the tournaments. I say I use to, because I moved from Canada to Southern
California 7 months ago and lost track of him. I consider myself the biggest fan of
armwrestling, even though I am not an armwrestler myself. Now my question is, what is your
opinion as far as warming up is concerned before a competition? Over the past years I have
had many discussions about this with a lot of armwrestlers, and no one seems to agree on
what to do to warm up before a competition.
Im sure warming up is the safe thing to do, and I always do this before practice. But for a
tournament when I need to perform at my very best. I dont. I have tried warming up and it
hurts my performance even the pump you get from mentally psyching yourself up has hurt . If
stiff I will stretch chest and shoulders but I never warm up the arm and hand any extra blood
there definitely takes away from my hand strength and endurance. This also includes pre
tournament arm rub downs. This may not hold true for everyone but it is what Ive found works
best for me.
Joe from Indiana
The above question posted is on warming up and I was also curious about what you do after a
tournament. Do you go straight for the ice whether you feel you did any damage or not or do
you wait and see how your arm is doing? And are there things that you have found over the
years that help you recuperate quicker?
If ice is available I will use it during and after a tough tournament or workout. Ice during a
tournament with hard matches left might not be the safe thing to do as far as injuries are
concerned, (though Ive never pulled a muscle in my hand or forearm), it is definitely an
effective way to get the feeling back in a dead pumped up arm. I will normally apply ice to my
forearm and hand but have occasionally applied it to sore triceps. As far as quick recuperation
techniques I dont have any. I do ice my tendons during the week to 2 week period before a big
tournament this mainly is a mental thing that I do to make sure my tendons are not inflamed
before a big match.
Vern from Canada
Can you give me some advice that would help me get better balance at the table. I find
because of not being able to use my paralyzed left arm to hang onto a peg at the table it is very
hard to keep my balance when a competitor hits off the "Go". I find that I always have to start
defensively and try to catch the "Hit" rather than being the aggressor giving the hit. I find it
very hard in a deep hook situation because I cannot pull across my chest due to having
nothing there to help me (my arm). Maybe you could practice this at the table using just one
arm to give me an idea of some counter moves I could use or your insight as to a way of
keeping my balance at the table.

I've tried different styles using the peg and not using the peg, and I've found that I personally
don't pull on the peg unless I'm in a shoulder roll move. I can't explain what your experiencing.
I personally know its very difficult to move your body weight around with the limited
movement caused by having your arm positioned in front of your body such as the old
wristwrestling style and with this table I would adjust by pulling back harder than on a
conventional table. Try moving your stance to different locations for balance problems. Your
habits might not necessarily be right for you give new positions and styles time to develop. If
you find you are catching your opponent a lot try developing more back pressure to keep your
hand from being rotated to the hook position.
I have heard you on more than one occasion say that you've gotten stronger through the years
predominantly from table workouts. How often do you pull in a week? Who do you pull with?
How do you deal with the fact that whoever you pull with will probably be weaker than you?
How does that "push" you to be better and stronger? What exactly do you do during those
table sessions and for how long?
When I first started pulling at age 13 I would pull every day. This was enough recoup time for
me at that age and I improved steadily without to much injury. As I got better and older I
steadily decreased my workout pulling sessions to once a week I have tried working out more
than that but felt I was causing injury. Ive pulled with hundreds of guys through out the years
but currently pull with about a dozen local guys along with my brother Bill. We will pull on
average about an hour to maybe 2 on various different styles. With a dozen good seasoned
armwrestlers to pull with. Being the strongest soon doesnt matter with a few hard pulls under
your belt you soon struggle just to stay in the match getting a good workout has never been
hard for me no matter who Im puling with. Motivation recently has been difficult But with
some big tournaments on the horizon It gets me excited. I dont think Ill ever give it up. Its
been my life and I love the sport.
Glenn from Minnesota
John, First, Have you ever heard of a magazine called "Armsport" ? If so, does it have a lot of
good armwrestling tips (like Milo does). Also, where can I find some good Armwrestling
videos, for both entertainment and to learn? And last, have you ever tried the Iron Mind
Grippers? Do you think that they are a good training tool for armwrestlers? On the off note I
would just like to say that ever since I saw a Yukon Jack Tour. on ESPN 2, I've been hooked. I
believe that with guys like YOU, armwrestling will soon be bigger than ever. Thanks for taking
the time. Your questions and answer page is GREAT!!!!!
I received Armsport for its first couple of years. I havent gotten it in a year so I cant comment
on the progress or articles in it. I was told it has a new editor and will show improvement with
more and more support. As far as good videos Im at a loss for recommendations the videos I
own are ones that I have personally taped. There great for getting you motivated to work out. I
have tried the Iron Mind Grippers but do not currently own one. I do however use the weaker
handgrippers on a daily bases and do think they help.
Dear John, my dad used to be an armwrestler. You might know him. Mike Kuba. I looked up to
him a lot for armwrestling. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I want to know if you
consider yourself a roll model to any younger people.
Michael Kuba Jr.
Sure I know your dad. He is someone I personally looked up to and respected when I first

started pulling. He has a great shoulder roll press and was always great to be around. As for
your question about being a good roll model Im not sure what that means. I dont spend a lot
of time with kids teaching armwrestling, the tournaments I normally attend dont have the
younger generation watching. Ive never been embarrassed by any of my actions on or off of
the table. You could consider me a G rated armwrestler .
Mavrocat from Missouri
My question might seem somewhat odd but I think some people might be interested in your
"presence". I find that your professional, clean cut appearance is in some way even more
intimidating than a 350 lb. "maddog" fully tattooed biker armwrestler. You always seem so
relaxed and poised that it makes it seem like there is this incredibly powerful presence you
have harnessed. From the matches I have seen you in, you don't ever growl or contort your
face. You just grip the opponents hand and get to work methodically overpowering him. My
question is, is this something that you consciously do to reverse-psyche your opponents or is
it just your mannerisms and who you are?
My calm approach comes from both my personality and from experience. I have tried different
approaches psycheing myself up and being aggressive on the table and it has hurt my
performance more than its every helped. I personally perform better on the table or in the gym
lifting weights with a calm concentrated effort on strictly the group of muscles that are
required. Who am I? I am a guy who is blessed with good genetics and a dad who loved the
sport. I was brought up armwrestling at a very young age and have never stopped trying to
improve. With tournaments like the Main Event which gets young kids involved I am afraid
your going to see a lot more (Tiger Woods) in the armwrestling field.
From Anthony
In your opinion who are the three or four best armwrestlers around in the lighter weight
classes (under 175 lbs.)? Also, your arms look huge in the photo--how big are your forearm
and biceps flexed and how big is your wrist?
This question is a tough one. I'm sure there are plenty of good 175 lb guys out there that have
beaten or think they can beat the guys that I will mention. My list is from years of watching and
occasionally armwrestling each of these great armwrestlers. All of them have had there bad
days with occasional injuries that have set them back. They have been around a long time and
consistently have won major tournaments over the years. These armwrestlers are all from the
U.S. I don't have experience with the quality of the wrestlers in some of the other countries.
In my opinion the 3 best under 175 would be...
Dave Patton
Alan Fisher
Andrew Rhodes (Cobra)
If you beat one of these armwrestlers you have something to be proud of because it doesn't
happen very often.
Currently my forearm extended is 15 1/2 inches
Bicep is 18 inches largest its ever been.
Wrist a little under 8 inches.
From Tom in SoCal

Can you be more specific on the particular exercises you train for armwrestling? You only
mention some vague body parts, but not the exercises themselves. I would really like to hear
the particular exercises and number of sets, reps and #days. I am fairly new to pulling and I
would really like to get some solid advice from an experienced and successful armwrestler like
yourself. This kind of information is not readily available and know one seems to want to share
it either. Thanks in advance for the information.
My weight training is nothing special. The key to becoming a good armwrestler is training hard
with other armwrestlers on the table this is were your strength and technique will come from. I
have no secret weight training method and they are definitely not very intense. My weight
training consist of about 1/2 to 1 hr of mainly machine workouts. I workout once a week
armwrestling and twice a week with the weights. The weight training I do consist of one set for
approximately 12 reps. I start with shoulders on a machine. Move to flys for chest on a fly
machine. I then work deltoids on a machine. Then I do dips then work triceps on machine. I
then work biceps on machine one set for 12. Ill then finish up with forearm wrist curls and
hand grippers on my way home in the car...
After competing for many years, you have probably seen lots of injuries (broken arms
specifically). What are the chances of a person returning to competition after receiving a break
(spiral fracture of the humorous) and having a steel plate used to correct it (plate still in)?
Doctors seem to never give an answer due to the fact that most of them have never treated
someone who wants to return after this type of injury.
To be honest over the last 15 years of armwrestling Ive seen maybe a handful of broken arms
and all of them in the upper arm. (Except for my own which was in the elbow.) To answer your
question I think it would depend on the individual. How old are you? How bad do you want to
pull, and are you mentally ready to go through the pain and uncertainty that goes along with
developing the muscles, tendons,and (bone) for armwrestling. The few people that I know that
have injured there arm in this area have trained hard and have become good armwrestlers. A
current friend that works out with us, Robert Baxter, broke his arm about 3 years ago. Im not
sure how bad it was compared with yours but his included much nerve damage... he just
recently won the amateur 220 lb class at the Main Event tournament and is improving with
every workout. Take it slow and see how it feels you can get a good workout without twisting
the upper arm to its limit. Over time stressing this area will surely strengthen it and build
confidence. The danger of a break seems to diminish with time thats why I recommend taking
it slow at first until your arm gets accustomed to the torque.
From Keith
I have been searching all over the web trying to find out what muscles are involved in
armwrestling and haven't found a thing. I obviously don't know a thing about the sport, but I
find a great interest in it. If you could give me the information, I would greatly appreciate it.
I'm not familiar with all the muscles of the body. But I can tell you there are a lot involved when
armwrestling. Depending on the style some maybe more important than others. The hand and
wrist for starters is very important. From there it requires years of developing the tendons and
muscles on the inside of the elbow. (armwrestling puts a tremendous strain on this point and it
takes years to develop this area). This is just the beginning though from there you'll develop
biceps, triceps, shoulder, back / lats and chest. You will find as you reinforce certain areas it
will cause greater strain on other areas, areas you never felt before. The best way to see what
muscles are used and to develop these muscles is to get involved and try it out, be patient
though it takes the body some time to adjust to the unusual strain. If you are a heavy
weightlifter don't be discouraged armwrestling has some unique areas that require some extra
time to develop.

From Joe
John so much is put on the hand in armwrestling, my question is, is it possible to be one of
the best in the world in say the middle weight and heavier class with a average to below
average hand size. It seems that when you go up against a person with a large hand that they
are starting out with a advantage from the get go.. If you know of anyone that has made it to
the upper level please tell us who they are. And also what is the size of your hand..
Having a large strong hand is an advantage and allows the use of more techniques but its
definitely not everything in becoming a great armwrestler. There are several people I can think
of that have small hands and wrists that are tough to beat Gary Goodridge being one of them.
The styles change when pulling someone with a larger and stronger hand but it isnt
impossible to beat theses armwrestlers. There are a couple techniques that I have seen and
used that are effective.The first is developing superior back pressure and protecting your hand
by forcing your wrist up so the knuckles of your hand are towards the ceiling. Sometimes this
will lead to the straps but the same technique should be used. Another effective method
requires good wrist curl strength with superior side pressure. Avoid grabbing your opponent
hand to hand but instead grab a little lower on the wrist. If your hand strength is efficient
enough this will force them to beat you with there arm strength instead of putting your hand
out of position. If hand size and strength was everything Cleve Dean would still be undefeated.
In armwrestling there always seems to be weaknesses in everyone. The key is experience and
in finding out what those weaknesses are. Different builds make it impossible for anyone to be
the best in all areas.
From Charity
Beside yourself who do you think are the best three armwrestlers are in the world, pound for
pound. To be honest there hasnt been any big tournaments with enough incentive to bring out
the best to test this question. In the past personally my toughest competition has come from
Canada and here in the United States, although my experience with armwrestlers outside the
States has been very limited. The pound for pound equation is complicated and is figured
differently depending on who you talk to. The strongest? The most
experienced and diversified? The person I think will win in a particular match up, or a
particular tournament? These would be a little easier to answer. The people that I would
mention are armwrestlers that I have personally seen consistently in the top 4 of there
particular class throughout the last 15 years. Are they still the best today? ??????? The lack
of sponsored professional tournaments to attract the best from all over the world make it
impossible for me to begin to guess who currently is the best...These are a few names I have
pulled and would label them as consistently top armwrestlers. Light weights. Dave Patton.
Alan Fisher. Andrew Rhodes. Middleweights. John Walker (retired). Bill Brzenk. Heavyweights.
Gary Goodridge (Canada). Cleve Dean (retired). Richard Lupkus (retired). Ron Bath. Jerry
From Ryan
I have always been a strong guy but never decided where to put my strength. About a year ago
I started armwrestling seriously and am now bringing home trophies from every tournament I
enter. My power is great but my speed needs a lot of work. In your opinion, what is the best
way to work on speed? I do get a lot of table time in already. Why do you feel you need to work
on your speed? Are you getting out of position after the go. Do you find you are catching your
opponents? Is your hand being top rolled or controlled in an uncomfortable position or are
you just a little unsure which direction to go? Beating your opponents as fast and as easily as
possible is the name of the game in staying fresh for the next match. Having a good solid

confident start definitely is important. But speed has not been as important for me as having
good hand and wrist control. All the speed in the world is useless with out this. Concentration
should be focused on achieving good hand position and control. Moving fast to gain position
or moving to the pinning pad sometimes can backfire. Once hand control is achieved then you
are in control to hit as hard and as fast as you can to the pad. This doesn't necessarily have to
occur right after the referee says go.. I can think of a few armwrestlers were it was
advantageous to let them hit first putting there body slightly out of position before making a
move to the pad. Develop your hand strength and some back pressure this might help in
feeling more confident to make a hard move after the go. As far as developing speed I don't
personally work on it....I think what your doing is what I would, and have done, and that is
build confidence by ARMWRESTLING.

One more... Ever pulled Mike Gould? He is the reigning Canadian heavyweight champ. Also, if
you are ever in any tournaments near Manitoba send me an email. I would love to watch you
pull... or maybe even pull you. I'm sorry Ryan I don't think I have pulled Mike Gould. But thanks
for the warning I will try to remember the name....In the past some of the biggest tournaments I
have attended have been in Canada. Its been awhile since I've been up that way but would love
to have a reason to go there again to pull.
From Luke in Canada
John, I am a beginner, who just stared armwrestling last June, and am fascinated with details
of technique, especially relating to hand position. My question is, how much can the thumb
contribute to the battle for hand position? I wrestle in the 198#'s and have 'largish' hands.
They are not long, but rather wide and thick. My fingers are shorter than those of my
somewhat ectomorphic training partner (my brother), who is 6 foot, seven inches tall, and who
can easily wrap his fingers halfway around the back of my hand, and who has one of the
strongest grips of any men I have gripped up against. He used to be able to obtain a wonderful
hand advantage over me, with his fingers, until I tried pushing upward with the back of my
thumb, prying with my thumbtip against the outside of the first joint (from end) of my pointer
finger, and peeling his top fingers open. Is this something you have either tried yourself,
encountered with others, or something in which you see much potential? I personally believe
the thumb is very important factor in hand strength and positioning for armwrestling Im not
sure I fully understand the technique you are using on your brother but I can tell you that I
have had soreness in the past with my thumb muscle and it definitely takes away from hand
strength and being able to roll into your opponents fingers. Your mention of your brothers
large long fingers to me are not as much of an asset as having a thick wide palm. I would
imagine at 6 foot 7 he probably has a long forearm which my be a leverage disadvantage. I
would approach someone this big one of two different ways. Grip low and force them into a
hook where they would be at a disadvantage because of their arm length or by posting straight
back with fingers toward the ceiling attacking his fingers which would be lower, parallel to the
top of the table because of the forearm length. Trying to defeat him to the side challenging his
hand and wrist would be last on techniques to try.
And by the way, is there any chance of your coming to the Can-Am Ironman Championships in
Vancouver, B.C., in May?
Yes, I may try to make the trip for the Vancouver tournament. Depends how much punishment I
receive from the Moscow Golden Bear tournament.
From Steve

John, I have two questions concerning Gary Goodridge. Have you seen him lately in ufc
competitions? also has your brother bill ever armwrestled him?I haven't seen or heard from
Gary in awhile. He called a couple of months ago, and I haven't seen him fight since his match
with Don Frye. As far as I know Bill has never locked up with Gary.
From CN
I have been armwrestling for almost 2 years and I am trying to become as rounded in styles as
possible. My question is what styles counter each other. Does a top roll stop a hook and if so
which top roll. When do you use a post. And when to use a hook. And when to use the other
top roll. This seems to be a easy question but a lot of people have different answers. So I
thought I would get the best answer from the best man for the job. And can you tell me why
each one counters another. Thank you for your time in this matter as this is surely to help.The
answer depends on your strengths and weaknesses. .Along with your opponents strengths
and weaknesses. Unlike chess armwrestling requires strength to execute technique. If your
opponent is known for having a great hook you definitely would not want to make it easy for
him by moving your hand into this position. It will require strength on your part to control the
match into a position thats most uncomfortable for your opponent. The question becomes, is
your top roll stronger than his hand to keep you from being hooked? As far as the different
types of top rolls this also depends a lot on the build and strengths of your opponent. The
variations are endless on techniques, experience will help you realize what works and what
doesnt It may take a dozen times wrestling someone before you realize how to put this
individual into an uncomfortable position. Once exposed its then up to them to strengthen this
area of weakness. Does the top roll counter the hook? I personally would try to take advantage
of someones hand when being shoulder rolled because I feel that particular move normally
weakens the hand and wrist and breaking there wrist back would provide a leverage
advantage. But not always. Can someone counter a strong top roller by grabbing a little lower
on the wrist and forcing the match into a hook ? Yes, but not always. This would depend on
your opponents strengths. Your hand strength and side pressure verses his back pressure
and physical build.Every match is unique and two armwrestlers are never exactly the same
what works against one person may be completely wrong for someone else. There is no
substitute for experience and trial and error.
From Malta
I once asked you for a technical explanation on how to execute the toproll and I would like to
thank you as I have now grasped it, your explanation was very good. My question is this...I
don't take part in any competitions or anything as there is no official body in Malta, I
armwrestle people purely for fun and sometimes as a peaceful way of avoiding a fight (and
sometimes to impress a girl). I'm telling you this because most people I pull know little in the
way of technique and all of them go for that standard hook kind of position and remain with a
solid fist. I am 16 years old so many of the people I find myself pulling are much older and
stronger than me... I often find myself on the defensive and win by sheer staying power alone,
however this is not always possible because some people are just too strong for me to hold.
Do you have any suggestions or tips for me when I find myself in that defensive position of
about 45 deg. from the plain of the table and in the hook position? ... I've found that moving my
wrist and forcing them into an over the top position tends to confuse them a bit and give me
some clearance... however this can work against me as sometimes they can just toproll
me... Your observation of putting pressure on the wrist of someone that is not an armwrestler
is probably good strategy as most beginners lack the strength in the hand and wrist. The more
you continue to wrestle people experienced or just bigger and stronger will eventually lead to
more power in your arm, be patient it takes time. Sounds like youve already developed a good

lock and at 16 years old some good endurance, maybe not in the position you want, but Im
sure it will help in the over all power of your arm. Maybe you should find a training partner that
will occasionally allow you to develop strength on the offensive side. Are you pulling on an
armwrestling table ? If not you need to construct one. Its difficult for anyone including myself
to be offensive from the start in pulling anyone that is halfway strong down without being
square on an armwrestling table.
From Gilbert
John I wanted to know what I can do to train myself to have speed. I have strength but need to
work on getting a quick jump. I wrestle both right and left, and train on weights and the table
any suggestions would help. Thanks for your time. As long as you are aggressive during
practice your speed and confidence should increase with practice. Problems will start for
most, including myself, when your practice is slow and deliberate . This type of pulling is great
for building strength and getting a good pump for both wrestlers but can sometimes lead to
bad habits at tournament time.
From Captain
John, I live in Minnesota and I know Rett Houdek he says he has pulled against you a lot. I
consider Rett to be top dog around here. but for me I weigh about 140-142 on average, I've
wrestled in Jerry Halversons wristwrestling organization for about 4.5 years but I've never
really tried to Armwrestle, I have been told you have to toproll in order to win but I always hook
and dive and most of the time it works, but thats with wristwrestling though. I plan on going to
Omaha in July for the National Armwrestling. With your experience would you say competition
itself is what has taught you your technique? By chance are you gonna be in Omaha? I hope
to run into you someday. There are a lot of successful armwrestlers that hook and or shoulder
roll I find your comment on diving in on a wristwrestling table kind of funny, for me the only
why to win on a wristwrestling table is to top roll first, then to come in with a press. Because of
the restricted movement wristwresling requires more arm strength, and a little more
endurance, matches are normally a little longer to win. Armwrestling matches normally are a
little quicker, and because of the freedom of body movement your lock has to be good. The
shoulder roll move may be a little harder to perform because of the spread between the elbow
pads. I think you will enjoy armwrestling but the technique is a little different. There is no
substitute for experience on the table it builds strength and confidence. I would practice on
the armwrestling table as much as possible before your trip to Omaha. Good luck. I may go to
Omaha I havent decided yet.
From Kimon
Dear John, can you tell us something about the supermatch you had in Russia against this
guy who took first? What can you say about him, his technique, style, size, weight and so on?
What did you learn out of it? Thank you very much. Congratulations for your first, second and
once again second place you took.The guys name is Alan Karaev. He is big, he is strong, he is
young, and I'm afraid he is going to get better. Did I learn anything from my match with Alan? A
little, although definitely not as much as I would have liked. He has a large hand with a
powerful wrist and a good outside hit. His large size my make him susceptible to a posting top
roll, which is what I tried during are final match. Or a forced hook, which I wasn't able to
perform because of my lack of hand strength. Our first match was in round three. It was not
much of a match I tried to control the match inside, he hit hard outside, flattening my hand
with plenty of side pressure to beat me. Before our final match I did get a chance to catch my
breath and get some feeling back in my arm. I did a little better posting back in the straps, and

at one point felt comfortable with my position It is definitely not one of my stronger moves but
it was the only option I felt I had at the time. I could tell during our set up that my hand
strength wasn't on the same level as his. As far as his arm strength inside it was something I
didn't get a chance to test as he controlled the match outside. One of the keys to winning a
tournament is knowing your competition and being good enough to stay fresh throughout the
tournament, this is something I wasn't able to accomplish. The experience with Alan isn't the
only thing that will help my performance the next time we meet. Its also the experience I
obtained from pulling the other very capable armwrestlers in that class on Sunday. I look
forward to pulling him again along with the other extremely strong armwrestlers that competed
Friday Saturday and Sunday.
Krono from Italy
I have 3 little questions for John Brzenk : 1) First Congratulations John (I hope you liked the
picture)! (Editors note: Krono is the artist who created the picture of John armwrestling the
Bear on the Index page) John Champion in Russia 1990 and John Champion 1998 who's
better? (strength, skill, experience, ability)? 2) Watching you win against Zaur in 1990
( I saw you dominate him since the start of the match,
you easily "Played" with his wrist, He seemed a beginner compared to you, but I think you
preferred to make a "defensive match", I think you could beat him down in a few seconds if
you wanted. Am I right ? 3) The Super-match is a suicide!!! Isn't it dangerous to make a very
hard match after a big tournament? Thanks John and Thanks always to Dave. I thought the
drawing was great, thanks. As for your first question which John is better 1990 or 1998. Ive
evolved into a different armwrestler stronger in some areas weaker in others. For example I
think my strength and endurance has improved over the years. I have more experience and Im
a little more diversified. The younger John was fearless ready to take on anyone, feeling
indestructible and never worrying about injury, the 1990 John was a more aggressive
armwrestler with a stronger hit. I think the current John would beat the younger one as long I
could stop him for that split second after the go. Your 2nd question. Lets just say Zaur has
improved much since are first meeting in 1990. Zaur has great hand strength but still needs to
work on his inside strength. You are right. 3rd question. I am traveling 14 hrs to Moscow. To
pull only one day, in a match that I was told is going to be a single elimination tournament,
against armwrestlers Ive never pulled before? Or pull Friday, Saturday, and Sunday . With no
idea who was going to pull and when, I decided it would be best to pull all three days. Suicide?
No. A little tougher on the arm? Yes, a little. If I had it to do over again I would still pull all three
days. If Sundays ultimate match becomes a big event with a prize that heavily outweighs
pulling for the Gold Bear title then I will concentrate on this one day. Although Ive been told by
teammates and sponsors that next year I will be attending the Gold Bear tournament pulling
only the Sunday ultimate. That sounds good to me.
From Bill in Canada
Dear John, Do you think that pulling with cables or rubber tubes is effective in training if a
person doesn't always have someone to train with? Or could it help in a persons weak areas
by using different angles? Congrats on the Gold Bear tournament. Any chance of you coming
to the 98 Worlds in Canada? Would be nice to see you here!Yes I do. Cables and tubes work
the arm in a direction that is difficult to simulate with weights. The extra negative pressure that
armwrestling provides still works the best. I would love to go to the Worlds in Canada. But
these are some of the reasons I wont. Requires time off work to qualify, I think East cost
somewhere. I would want to pull the super heavyweight class which I cant make the weight
for. The actual tournament takes another full week off work to complete. Weighins, then having

to wait 3 or 4 days for the class to actually run. The format for the Worlds makes it very
difficult to compete unless you are retired.
Have you made any workout changes since your loss at the Russian tournament? Any
changes to your actual arm wrestling workouts? I am looking forward to meeting both you and
Bill here in Vegas at the AWI tourney. Also looking forward to learning much from both of you
at the table. Just hope the arm can stand it! (Editors note: John did not lose at the Gold Bear
Tournament - He won the Gold Bear. He did lose in the Super Match which was after the two
day tournament. His opponent did not compete in the Gold Bear Tournament and was
fresh.) John's answer to the question: To be honest I havent worked out since the Gold Bear
tournament. Im taking a small rest from armwrestling. But when I start back up I dont plan to
do anything different. I dont plan on attending the Las Vegas tournament. Its one week after
Reno Tahoe which I do plan on attending. I work on the weekends so its hard to take off work
two weeks in a row.
Wes from Nevada
Does the different hand positioning that the AWI uses alter your strategy at all? Do you find it
easier to exert back pressure in that position? Is there less strain on your arm in that position?
The AWI tournaments in Las Vegas start in the power lock, or wrists bowed and rotated
slightly.This does alter strategy. Can you still top roll? Yes. Is it easier? Depends who you are
armwrestling? If its someone who has a good posting top roll. Then maybe yes. Is it someone
who has a good hook? Then maybe No. One of the things to be concerned with at the AWI
tournament is the size of the table as it is much wider than most and the distance from your
body to the back of the pad is a greater distance than most tables. This makes it difficult to get
close to your arm especially for a shoulder roll move. The distance between the pads is also a
little wider so a posting type top roll is also very difficult. The pinning pads are also a little
higher than most so a good strong hit to the side usually gives you a win. I personally am
more comfortable with my hand being protected by the bow they let you start with. I also like
the extra distance this table provides but it takes some time to get used to it. This table is built
for someone with a good hooking drag or a powerful rolling top roll.
Alper from Turkey
John, I watched your matches on Sunday night in the super heavyweight class in Moscow.
1) What do you think of the guys from Georgia who you matched in the second and fourth
round? Which one was better? I remember your Brother Bill won one of them in the worlds 96.
2) What would have happened if Ron Bath, Jerry Cadorette and Gary Goodridge were there on
Sunday night?
3) Do you think you can beat Alan inside?
4) Before going to the casino I saw you in the lobby of the hotel and you were drinking some
kind of energy stuff. What was it and do you think it helps?
1. Its hard to say who is better I pulled Erekle fresh. Our match virtually killed either one of our
chances of winning the tournament. He is extremely strong with a fantastic lock. If the draw for
the second round was Alan and myself I believe Erekle could have won Sundays tournament. I
would love to see the outcome of Erekle and Alan both fresh.. Erekle is also the one Bill finally
beat in 96 after 3 hard pulls. Vakhtang was an easier match for me at the time but I dont know

how much was taken out of him by the time we pulled. Its very difficult to gauge how good
someone is once the group has had some hard fought matches.
2. They are all in the same league as the wrestlers on Sundays Ultimate. And they all would
have had good chances on winning Sundays tournament.
3. I honestly have no idea how strong he is inside. Do I think I can beat him period? Most
definitely .Yes.
4. Its a tropical lime drink made by EAS called NeuroGain. I've never been sold on the
effectiveness of nutrition. Its been just this last year that I have experimented with
supplements and the only one that I can honestly say has made a noticeable difference for me
is creatine. Within a months time I gained 20lbs. One of these days I will get a hold of someone
that knows nutrition and quit living on junk food.
From CN
John, When your trying to diet down you take a slow approach instead of trying to cut all the
weight in one day, I was just wondering how you cut the weight and then workout or do you
cut the workouts out of your routine, do you count the calories or start running more. All your
help would be great because I have about ten pounds to loose by the time Lake Tahoe rolls
around. I would use a combination of both methods unless you are over weight to begin with.
Weight translates to strength. So you want to hit it just right. Diet down slowly and give your
body a chance to get used to the new weight to within about 5 lbs of the desired class. This
may differ depending on how much water weight you can comfortably drop. Then dehydration
before the weigh ins should allow you to hit the desired weight, allowing you to gain a lot of it
back before the tournament starts. I personally do not like to run. If I want to make a weight
class I will continue to work out but watch the calories. I would never sacrifice muscle weight
to make a lower class, your better off pulling your natural weight.
From Lonnie
Many years ago I wrestled you and Bill in Kansas City, Mo. You were just starting out but even
back then you were awesome. By reading some of your fans questions about hooking and toprolling I can tell them that even when you were a teenager you top-rolled and hooked. I can still
remember the coat sleeve that you used on your arm between matches. You were young,
gracious, and very talented beating me easily. But I did beat your brother Bill that day as I
recall. It is well known that Bill has improved tremendously. John Sr. must be very proud of his
boys! Best wishes always!Thank you.
Joe from Indiana..
John Im sure after all of the years of competing you have taped a lot of tournaments that you
have been in and what I was wondering is if you have ever thought of copying these tapes. It
would seem to be a good income source and of great interest. And some of your beginning
tournaments would also be real sought after. And to see some of the other legends of the sport
would be great, the guys that you only hear about from older armwrestlers, it would be a great
history lesson. Anyway, I was just curious if you have ever thought of doing anything like this
or maybe even a book on the sport.Yes I have competed in a lot of tournaments but have done
very little taping. I also would love to see some old footage of tournaments from the past 15
years I'm sure there are plenty scattered around the country. I have some tournaments taped
but mainly just the recent 8 years or so. People have given me some tournament footage but a

lot are copies of copies and the quality isn't very good. Maybe we should try to get all the
armwrestlers out there to send there best footage of some of the Best matches they have in
there possession and we could develop such a tape. THE BEST MATCHES IN ARMWRESTLING
Adam from Louisiana
I have watched you armwrestle various times such as other people, and I am quite impressed. I
have been pulling for 9 months, 6 of them have been with Robert Redden. I have noticed the
difference since I have been training with him . I dropped 40lbs of body fat and am now pulling
176,s.but my question is, do you prefer walking on the beam or on bars, and how much weight
do you do. We took a monkey bar set and cut the bars out of the middle. and we do pull-ups
then we strap a weight belt on with 90 to 120 lbs then we pull our selves up and walk across on
our hands then backwards with chin up. we like the bars better because you get more of a
spread on the bars than on the beam like arm wrestling you know the beam works more of the
finger tips but basically the same concept. Thanks for showing interest.I'm sorry I needed an
explanation about walking the bars. I have never heard of that before. So I guess you can
guess what my answer is on how much weight I use. Along with armwrestling once a week, my
work outs are simple, mainly with machines you find in the gym. ,Although the way you
explain this technique it seems like it would be one hell of a workout. Keep pulling with Robert.
I believe this is were most of your armwrestling strength will come from.
From Steve
I was wondering if there is an advantage point when you try to hook someone if there is a
difference when pulling down low on the wrist or if its better just forcing them into a hook from
the normal hand to hand grip if possible. What is a stronger hook point low on the wrist or
high. Thanks for helping.Yes there is an advantage to pulling someone a little lower on the
wrist if you want to force a hook. The problem gripping someone with a larger, wider, stronger
hand is they may be able to put your hand and wrist out of position from any point on the
table. Gripping a little lower on the wrist helps eliminate a good top roller from positioning
there hand to a position that will attack yours. Gripping someone lower on the wrist straight up
requires a lot of hand strength and side pressure but once turned into the hook the leverage
advantage is about equal. This will also help keep your hand protected once you achieve the
hook position. This move requires a lot of work. Conditioning your arm to be strong with your
hand and wrist straight is unnatural even for most seasoned armwrestlers. This move works
for the strong top roller that hits hard to the side rolling with the thumb. It does not work well
for someone that is top rolling with a hard posting movement. Build and arm length of your
opponent is also a consideration for the effectiveness of this move. There is also a downside
to gripping low if the match goes the distance and you want to change directions the ability to
roll your opponents wrist becomes difficult.
Steve again
Well my question this time refers to the sweep. I believe when I first started I was doing this
move naturally but I was wondering if you can tell me how to execute it properly wrist position,
hand position, where the tricep lies as opposed to the pad and if you bend the wrist at all or do
you try to keep it stiff as a board. Are you trying to pin with a lot of side pressure or do you try
to pull to your corner. Thanks again for all your help Im not sure which direction your pulling
when you refer to a sweep move? Do you mean forcing your opponents hand and arm flat
while moving hard to the side? This move works great against people that dont practice this
and are only strong when their wrists are curled into a hooked position. Yes, you always want

to bow your wrist slightly to protect your hand and wrist even with this flat handed move. I
also like to use this side pressure move with the hand slightly lower on the wrist this helps to
keep your opponents arm in a straight position. This requires a lot of hand strength and
strength in the small triceps on the outside of the arm. If your referring to sweeping with wrists
turned in. Armwrestlers pull differently in a hooked position some with there biceps some with
hand strength, triceps, shoulder, and lats. Most of the time I prefer the second method. A
dragging hook is more like tug of war. Your shoulder and lat need to be flexed to keep the arm
close to the body and the triceps flex to drag your opponents arm low to the table hand
strength and wrist rotation needs to be superior to keep your wrist on top of your opponents.
The front of your wrist should be perpendicular to the table while your defeated opponents
hand faces the ceiling. Triceps not biceps should be the muscles that ache after some hard
fought matches.
A.W. from Ohio
What would you recommend for a beginner to do to get ready for his first competition, three
months from now? How long have you been pulling? This tournament should be used as a
learning experience or do you have a goal to place? Dont expect a whole lot unless you have
been pulling for at least three years. Three months is about enough time to hurt yourself. If
you have been pulling longer. I would armwrestle once a week maybe twice depending on how
young or new you are in your training, while weight training at least once a week for healing.
Depending on the way your tendons feel give yourself at least 1 week preferably 2 weeks of
complete rest before the tournament that means no pulling and light weights if any. The
hardest thing to do, is to do nothing as tournament time approaches. Most importantly pull
with anyone and everyone you can after the tournament this will build confidence for the next
From Phantoms0
Well I am sure everyone that reads this knows that you are ONE of the best that has ever been
in the sport! But, If there was a meet, that was just a free for all! And all the armwrestlers came
to compete, who in your opinion would the finals come down to! Just a straight free for all!
And then who do you think would be the winner?? I have an idea of who it would be, and I
want to see if we are close in our guess! I have mentioned in the past some of the people I
think are the best heavyweights of the past and maybe present. I have no idea what kind of
shape they are currently in or if they are even still actively pulling. But lets say for fun
everyone is in the best shape of their lives for this tournament. Some of the favorites would be
Cleve Dean, Gary Goodridge, Alan Karaev, Erekle Gurcheane, Jerry Caddorette, and Richar
Lupkus. In my mind they are currently half a dozen guys that would be capable of winning a
super heavyweight free for all tournament. The one who would win would largely depend on
the draw and his ability to stay fresh through to the final matches. Would I bet all my money on
any one of these armwrestlers winning the BIG ONE? Not a chance. None of these
armwreslers would win without some help from the others.
From SCN
This time my question has to do with trying to defend against someone that has a strong
posting top roll. I was wondering what I can do to try and take away some of the power that
comes from him. I use a sweep to try and beat him but this seems to almost feed him my
fingers. because they get pried away from me. I use the ironman grippers and can close the
number 2 gripper five or six times so I don't think that my grip is weak or maybe it is, please
give me as much help as possible. Defending isnt the proper technique when pulling

someone with a good posting top roll attack is more appropriate. Speed at the start getting his
arm at a slight angle is key to winning. People that have great arm strength and that are able to
keep their knuckles high pulling straight back are very difficult to pull against the key is the
start and in not letting them get that straight up and down posting position. Make sure the
index finger knuckles are even at the start and both arms are at the same angle. Dont allow
his posting move to lift your arm out of the cup before the start. keep your elbow back in the
rear of the pad this will help put both of you at a little bit more of an angle. This sometimes is
difficult because of different builds. If you can achieve that slight angle on their arm before the
start it becomes more difficult for them to have that much arm strength to curl your hand and
wrist to the straight up and down position. These type pullers are especially difficult
personally for me to deal with. What I found works for me is coming across the table slightly to
set a hook or to allow a slipped grip, go into the straps and maintain as good of a post as
possible with hopes of having superior side pressure for the win. Dont forget to practice
using the straps also practice side movement with knuckles high and wrist straight. Most
people that use this type of move do so because their hand size and strength is not as strong
as their opponents this becomes an excellent way for someone without a powerful hand and
wrist to protect their own hand from being top rolled. It sounds like your hand and fingers are
strong, work on your post and side pressure.
Tom from South Carolina
I'm primarily a wristwrestler. I'm just starting to compete in armwrestling tournaments. Is there
a particular armwrestling style / technique that is more suited for a person switching from
wristwrestling to arm wrestling? Im sure you will do fine armwrestling if you are a
wristwrestler. The grip and pressures exerted on the arm are virtually the same. The
positioning of the left arm makes body movement difficult on the wrist wrestling table. I think
the main thing you will notice is it will be easier to pin your opponent armwrestling. Although
along with that it also becomes easier for your opponent to pin your arm. Wristwrestling in my
opinion, because of the lack of body movement, requires a lot more endurance. The styles
used wristwrestling can all be used on the armwrestling table. The style used should be based
on your strengths and your opponents weaknesses. Practice practice practice on the
armwrestling table, it will definitely feel a lot different than the bound up wristwrestling table
does. Dont be surprised or discouraged if someone that you can hold or maybe even beat
wristwrestling is able to beat you on the armwrestling table. They are two different races.
Where wristwrestling would be like running the 400 meters in track. Armwrestling is the 100
From Cindy
I was wondering in your option ,who you think pound for pound who the top three women
armwrestlers are? Also who is the top three best women that you know of? Im sorry Cindy but
it would be hard for me to begin to guess who the best 3 women armwrestlers are as I very
seldom compete against any of them to gauge their abilities. I can only guess like anyone else
based on what I have seen in past tournaments. And being a spectator most are from
tournaments here in the United States so I may be wrong in my assumption that Dot Jones is
currently the best women armwrestler? Pound for pound Im not sure? But Im sure Barb
Zalepa from Canada would be in the running. My experience watching women armwrestlers
from other countries is very limited and Im not sure if Dot has much experience herself in
competing internationally so this is just a guess.
Kurt from Alaska

John, how can I attach my opponents hand or fingers when he is taking a lower grip,
preventing me from executing the top roll? Where do you plan to compete next? Is the World's
Wristwrestling Championships on your calendar? Any help you can provide will be greatly
appreciated. It becomes a lot more difficult to top roll someone that grips low on the wrist and
if this persons hand strength is good enough to curl you into a hook you may have to pull
there. The person who is grabbing low is giving away a little in leverage, you have to take
advantage of this and develop a straight wristed posting hit to the side. This may not brake the
wrist back but should keep your opponent in a most uncomfortable position and hopefully
result in a victory. Practice this, you cant always rely on your superior hand strength,
someone will surely figure out how to counter it. Be versatile, this style might work better for
this type of set up. Yes I do plan on attending the World Wristwrestling tournament in
Petaluma this year. Im planning on pulling three right and two left.
Doug from Idaho
John, I saw you compete at the Main Event II and was more than impressed with both your
skill and sportsmanship. I am just getting into the sport (I have been to five contests now). I
bought the video of the tournament to study; and noticed two things which I have questions
1. I noticed that, while some competitors put their elbow hard into the pad, some competitors
seemed to hardly touch the pad with their elbow at all. Is their a reason, and when do you do
one or the other?
2. On several of the matches the competitors seem to be pulling before the referee has even let
go of the hands or said go.
Why is this? I never really gave it much thought about the elbow into the pad, but I would
assume it has to do with the style being used. If you are pulling across the table with your tri
and lat and holding your opponent down with hand strength the elbow would be hard into the
pad. Verses posting up using biceps and knuckles high to gain finger advantage then your
elbow would float and sometimes is purposely lifted to gain a higher finger advantage. Some
people feel more comfortable with a little or a lot of load on there arm before they actually hit
to the pad or before the go. Some people do not care to load at all and would rather hope to
catch there opponent off guard after the go, different style and strategy. My preference is to be
ready with only a very slight load. You need something to be able to react to your opponents
movement/direction but you dont want to be loading to hard before the go for to long,
because obviously this require a lot of energy and can take a lot of the edge off your arm for
latter matches.
If you are pulling someone that is not loading at all my advise would be to tighten up the best
you can and be very alert for the go these are much more, dangerous starts than the people
who like to load before the g
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