Here's a nasty little exercise we picked up from a couple of competitive arm wrestlers. Although professional arm wrestlers will be the first to tell you that technique and speed are vital to winning matches, once you get to the top ranks, strength training takes on an increasingly important role. The Texas arm wrestler's curl, as we've dubbed it, seems to be one of the favorite exercises among the pros we've spoken to. Here's how it's done:
Straddle a flat bench with your feet on the floor. Place your forearms and hands along your quads while holding a loaded barbell. The back of your hands should be near your knees. Sit up straight and concentrate on keeping the whole body tight and rigid by contracting your abs. Take a deep breath and hold it, then explode the heavy weight off your thighs into the finished curl position. Lower the bar back to your legs under control and repeat.
• Don't bounce the weight off your thighs. Between each rep, rest the bar across your legs for a full four seconds. This is to insure that you start from a dead stop each rep and that you don't take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle (the plyometric effect). It also gives you a chance to breathe, which always comes in handy.
• Go heavy on this bad boy. Shoot for four to six maximal reps. Since this is a partial curl, you should be able to lift significantly more weight than with a full curl. If you lean back too much or feel pain in your front delts, lower the weight. Just go as heavy as you can while keeping the form very strict (back straight, elbows pinned to the sides, etc.)
• You can also perform this exercise unilaterally (one arm at a time) using a dumbbell. Just get on your knees and let your forearm rest on the bench. Arm wrestlers often do this standing while resting their arms on their tournament tables.
• Since this is only a partial movement, you'll need to do some other biceps exercises to round out your arm training. We like to use the arm wrestler's curl as a "finisher" to our regular biceps work.
Whether you enjoy slamming your opponents to the table or just want a new and unusual way to hit the biceps, give the Texas arm wrestler's curl a shot!