Strongman Eddie Hall is challenging himself to master arm wrestling with the guidance of Neil Pickup, a three-time world arm wrestling champion. Hall is planning a match against Rob Vigeant Jr., the current middleweight World Armwrestling League champion.
“You talk about strength and you talk about size, but in arm wrestling, size is not necessarily governed by the same parameters. What you’re bothered about in arm wrestling is length of arm, size of hand, leverage,” says Pickup. “[Vigeant’s] got a natural 20-inch arm. His forearms are around 16 to 17 inches, a very big individual in the right place,” says Pickup.
Hall explains one disadvantage he has going into his arm wrestling training: a detached bicep on is right arm.
“I did detach my bicep. I detached the long head, so basically the long head is the outer bicep that attaches on the shoulder. That completely detached and is rolled down. I’ve got a gap where the long head bicep was. It’s more of a mono-cep,” he says.
Pickup begins his training of Hall with his top 10 tips for him to follow.
Tip #1: Optimal stance/foot positioning.
“On the right arm, your right leg is your attacking leg. When you come to the table, put your right leg forward and your heel just under the center. It’s all linear,” Pickup says.
He tells Hall to pivot off his heel using his hip to stabilize himself.
Tip #2: Always keep your eyes on your hand.
“Always look at what you’re doing,” says Pickup. “This is where the action is taking place.”
Tip #3: Dominate the hand and wrist setup as much as possible.
‘Rob’s hand is going to be bigger… and his forearm is pretty long as well. So what I need you to do is get your position in the center very comfortable,” says Pickup.
Tip #4: Supinate the arm — Push forward and engage on the set up.
“When you come in I want you to do two things: supinate your arm, push it forward. The fatty part of the hand is an area of control,” he says. “I want your index finger to go as high behind my index finger knuckle as it can. The reason for that is I’m blocked in terms of height, and I’m blocked in terms of pronation.”
Tip #5: Elbow positioning — Give yourself maximum mobility on the pad.
“Access as many areas of the pad so you can utilize that for defense or attack,” says Pickup.
Tip #6: Find weakness in your opponent’s setup.
Don’t fight the hardest place to fight, find weaknesses. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, if you can access a situation where you’re targeting your opponent’s weakness, while engaging your strength, you are going to be in a better position,” says Pickup.
Tip #7: Target the finger tips, and focus on pronation and supination.
“Arm wrestling is won by hand and wrist control, and angle control. In other words, controlling the place that the match takes place,” says Pickup.
Tip #8: Get height over your opponent.
“Height wins matches,” says Pickup. “Fingertips lead everything.”
Tip #9: Relax and breathe as much as possible, and lean back.
Tip #10: Control your wrist movement with cupping and rising movements.
“You’re gaining your control in the match with what we call cupping and rising,” says Pickup. “Keep that contact control pronation, and roll through my arm.”
After his lesson, Hall is humbled. “It just goes to show arm wrestling isn’t just brute strength. It’s 80 percent technique, 20 percent strength, which has been proved here today.”
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