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 series.
Ask John Brzenk
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.
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?
2. How old are you?
3. How many 1st places have you taken?
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)
1. Hey John's very strong, did he fight against
Gary Goodridge? (John's answer)
From Cosar in Turkey
2. Why did you lose the match to Gary
Goodridge in yukon jack 94?
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 helped?
From Bill Morrison in Canada
1. I've been plagued by pain in my inner
elbow which bothers me when
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
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 perform?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
Could you please tell us a little about your
three best matches. Thank You.
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?
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
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 difference.
Krono from Italy
Strong biceps or strong wrists..what's
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 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?
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?
Mark from New York
SiRiuS from Malta
Question for John: Could you please give me a
technical explanation on how to execute the top roll?
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??
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.
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
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 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
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!!!!!
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.
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?
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?
If you beat one of these
armwrestlers you have something to be proud of because it doesn't happen very often.
From Tom in
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.
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.
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..
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (http://www.armwrestling.com/video.html) 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?
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.
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.
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 top-rolling 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.
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.
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
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.
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 meters.
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 about.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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