Meet Garrett Stepsis
- how long have you been armwrestling?
I have been arm wrestling on and off (far more off than on) for almost 14 years.
I am 30 years old, 6' and 265 pounds, have an MBA and work as an Account
Executive for Telecom solutions provider, Network Plus (http://www.networkplus.com/).
did you get started?
My first arm wrestling competition was in Feb. of 1988 at
the age of 16. I saw an ad at the local gym for the New England Armwrestling
Championships. I had always been very strong in the arms (cheat bar
curling 185 at age 14) and desired to compete. I lost both my matches but kept
In November of 1988 and at the age of 17, I entered the novice division of the
Cape Cod Arm Wrestling Championships. I won all seven matches taking the
first place for the novice division and won the overall novice. It was
there that I met Connecticut State Director Al Virelli. Al Virelli taught me
that arm wrestling was far more than simply being strong and that it was a
coordination of a number of variables including speed,
strength, technique and getting a good, quick start. From March of 1989 to
August of 1991 (when I moved from MA to DE), I trained with Al Virelli. After
initially meeting Al Virelli, I won first or second place in a number of other
competitions -- New
York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and so forth. My pro debut was in
November 1989 at the age of 18 where I won first place in the Northeastern
United States Championship in the 200-221 weight class.
have you done since then?
Since then, I was a four time runner-up in the New England
Championships in the SHW class, 1991, 1995, 1996 and 1997, placing second only
to Bob Caron, Jerry Cadorette, Reggie Ward and Jason Vale respectively. In July
of 1999, I met New Jersey State Director Mike Mignogna who I train with today.
Mike has been indispensable so far as improving my speed, technique and table
coordination. From this point on, any significant strides I make in
armwrestling will be attributable in no small part to being able to train with
Mike and his team.
In October of 1999, I tore my left pec after a 16-week cycle of Creatine.
I have since not trained chest heavy but have done some very heavy arm work
including one-armed preacher curls with a 240-pound dumbbell and closing the
number #3 gripper.
What about your
personal feats of strength?
Although there's not a terribly strong correlation
between what one lifts in the gym and how he performs on the table, I thought
some might be interested in hearing a few past feats of strength:
Closed grip bench press: 225 x 154, 315 x 65 and 405 x
* Hammer Strength bench press: 745 x 1, 495 x 30
* One-armed row: 275 x 30, 385 x 2.
* Standing behind the neck press: 405 x 5.
* Side lateral raise: 120 x 4
* Standing one armed dumbbell curl: 145 x 9
* E-Z bar curl: 255 x 16
* Dumbbell wrist curl: 210 x 10, 120 x 100.
* Fly Machine: 100 reps with full stack of 200
* One-armed dumbbell preacher curl (half reps): 240 x 6
* One armed dumbbell preacher curl (partials): 210 x 80
* Hammer Strength shoulder press negatives: six 100 pound plates plus 260-pound
spotter pulling down with all his weight.
* Pull-up negatives: (broke dipping belt and got kicked out of the university
weight room after attempting 400 pounds).
Since my injury, I no longer train in that sort of way and specialize in mostly
hand, wrist, and arm training now -- often a mix including lighter weight and
improved form and a wider variety of exercises.
Some of your toughest matches?
Dana Gaines at the 1992 Nationals (lost).
Duke Sarkasian at the 1996 New Englands
(won). Travis Bagent and Frank Travisano at the 2001 Strong Arm Challenge
(won). Marcio Barboza at the 2001 Mid Atlantic Championships (lost).
Jason Vale at
the 1997 New Englands (lost in straps).
What would you consider your career
Winning first place this past August 24th in the
Maryland Strong Arm Challenge over nationally ranked pullers Travis Bagent, Dave
Kevin Sneider and Frank Travisano.
And your career goal?
To be the SWH National and World Champion in the
Tell us about your armwrestling
I train with Team New Jersey a few times a month. We do thick bar dumbbell
wrist curls with heavy weight (110 to 240 pounds), the plate gripper, hammer
raises, thick-bar cable curls on arm wrestling table and –most importantly-
arm wrestling. http://www.teamnewjersey.com/
When we do not meet, on my own I do heavy one-armed dumbbell preacher curls and
work out with the #1, #2 and #3 grippers. As of lately, I've been doing
very heavy negatives in the one-armed cable curl – holding back a 220-pounder
standing on a 150-pound stack for one-arm negatives. However, I do not do
that that often as it obviously increases the chance of future injuries.
What do you recommend to new
* Find someone in your area who knows about arm wrestling and would have the
patience and willingness to train new arm wrestlers. Train with that
person and his group of pullers regularly.
* Be patient. Accept the fact that will not win every match. Like
anything else, it takes time to get good at it.
* Always warm up adequately.
* Stay away from Creatine as I am convinced that Creatine causes muscle tears.
* Understand that to become a great arm wrestler, the most important thing
is getting "table time." While I may have built up a lot of
power in the weight room, in retrospect, much of that time would have been much
better spent on an arm wrestling table.
Thanks Garrett for the great information.