Indian Armwrestling Federation

2/D, S.P.A,
Sector-5, Bhilai Nagar,
Distt- Durg (C.G.) India 490 006.
Cell: +91 94255 64165, 74895 19569
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Arm Wrestling Techniques

Arm Wrestling Moves

There are many different moves in arm wrestling. The three most common are:

  • Hook
  • Top roll
  • Press
  • Foot Position
  • Wrapping the Thumb
  • Backpressure
  • Locking your Arm


  • Hook

  • The hook is the most common move in arm wrestling. You are probably familiar with the hook, because it is the move that is used when arm wrestling is portrayed in bars and elsewhere on TV. It is considered an "inside" move, meaning you are trying to beat your opponent's arm instead of his hand (as you do in a top roll). To be successful in a hook, you should be stronger than or at least equal to the strength level of your opponent. You need not have as good a bench press or squat as your opponent, because this strength counts very little in arm wrestling. Instead, try to gauge your forearm and bicep strength against that of your opponent. If you believe that you are not as strong as him or her, try top rolling instead. If, on the other hand, you compare favorably to your opponent, you can really blast him in an impressive manner with the hook.

  • Top roll

  • The top roll is a great move to beat your less experienced friends with. If you win with a top roll, you are winning with leverage instead of brute strength. This is because the top roll is what is referred to as an "outside" move. You are trying to put tremendous pressure on your opponent's fingers, causing his hand to open up and allowing you to gain leverage. When the opponent's hand opens up, it allows you to get further out on his hand (toward his finger tips) and makes it very difficult for him to "outmuscle" you until he regains his hand position. You, of course, should fight to maintain and improve your hand position, thereby taking his (possibly) more powerful arm out of the match! If you do it quickly enough, he will have no idea what happened!

    The matches began In Gilardi's saloon In Petaluma, CA. in 1952. Bill Soberanes, a young journalist was the founder of the organized sport. He was the Inspiration for the annual Petaluma, then Northern California and then the California arm wrestling championship. In 1962 Bill and Dave Devoto got together to form the World's Wrist wrestling Championship, Inc. and take it to one of Petaluma's largest auditoriums. The event was tremendously successful and exciting things began to happen.

  • Press

  • The press is one of the purest power moves in arm wrestling. Having a bulky upper body certainly helps with this one. If you are confident that you have superior upper body power (especially chest and triceps) to your opponent and are at least equal in bicep and forearm strength, this is a good move to perform. If, however, your opponent is much stronger than you are in the chest and triceps, using the press might be a bad idea. This move can be beaten by a quick top roll, as it is vulnerable to strong, quick backpressure. This is because your arm must be close to your body to perform this move, so if your opponent can pull your arm across the table you will not be able to win with a press.
    The press is also a good move to use in a long tournament. Unlike the hook and top roll, which rely most heavily upon the biceps and forearms, the primary muscles used in the hook are the triceps, shoulders, and chest. Thus, a good way to give your bi's and forearms a rest during a long tournament is to throw in a press when you can. Be careful, however, to use it only in situations where your chest and triceps strength is superior to that of your opponent!

  • Foot Position

  • When you walk up to the table, always remember to stagger your feet, with one foot more forward than the other. The foot that should be more forward should ALWAYS be the one on the same side as the arm you are wrestling with. For instance, if you are arm wrestling right-handed, you should position your right foot more forward than your left. Equivalently, if you are arm wrestling left-handed, you should position your left foot more forward than your right.
    So how far forward you should put your front foot? This question has many answers. Some people prefer to put it only a few inches under the table, while others put their foot as far under the table on their opponent's side as they can. Still others choose to wrap their entire leg around the table support, and others do things even more unorthodox! A good rule of thumb for a beginner is to position your forward foot under the table so that the middle of your foot is against the support post on your right (assuming you are right-handed).

  • Wrapping the Thumb

  • The position of the thumb relative to the rest of the fingers is also important in arm wrestling. "Wrapping" your thumb is advantageous. It allows you to perform a more effective top roll, and it keeps your opponent guessing as to what move you will do (if you wrap your thumb every time). Additionally, sometimes it allows you to get higher on your opponent's thumb than would otherwise be possible.

  • Backpressure

  • Backpressure is simply pulling your opponent's arm toward your body and, therefore, away from his body. By pulling your arm closer to your body, you are able to exert more side pressure on your opponent's arm. Conversely, if your opponent exerts more backpressure on your arm than you do on his, your arm will be pulled away from your body and you will lose a great deal of your potential side pressure.
    Side pressure is the sideways force you exert on your opponent's arm when you take him down to the pin pad. You can exert much more side pressure on your opponent by using both your arm and your body than you can use just your arm. The reason backpressure is so crucial is because the closer your arm is to your body, the more powerfully you are able to use both your arm and body to exert side pressure on your opponent and win! If your opponent can pull your arm toward him, he has just taken your body out of the match and greatly increased his odds of winning!

  • Locking your Arm

  • Moving the Arm and Body as a Unit
    So how do you move your arm and body as one? First, make sure that your arm and fist stay inside your shoulders at ALL times. Imagine that you are holding your arms straight out in front of your body so that they are perpendicular to your shoulders and parallel to the floor. This is the area in which your hand and arm should never leave when arm wrestling! If your arm leaves this area, you lose your body's power and can even risk injury.
    Second, make sure that when you place your arm onto the pad that your upper arm is against your body (or as close to it as possible). This will help to limit the ability of your arm to move alone, which is actually good. By limiting your arm's mobility, you are forced to use your entire body to pin your opponent and will be a much better arm wrestler for it! Your body and arm together are much stronger than your arm can ever be alone.