At some point in every dude’s life, a disagreement has to settled the old-fashioned way: a feat of strength. And since jousting has fallen out style since the Middle Ages, and trial by combat has been unpopular since Season 5 of Game of Thrones, the modern man must turn to the age-old art of arm wrestling.
So even though you’re probably pretty strong, it never hurts to pick up a few bits of advanced arm-wrestling strategy. These three tips from 22-time national arm wrestling champion Mike Selearis won’t automatically turn you into champion puller like Selearis or Norm Devio, who routinely beats guys twice his size even though he’s well into his 70s—but they’ll at least help you survive a bet at your local bar.
1. Grip ’em Good
“Most of the match is in the grip,” Selearis says. “Set yourself so you can attack his fingers.” Grip as high up on his hand as you can, preferably at the base of his fingers. This will help you to loosen his grip and extend his arm away from his body, weakening his arm position.
2. Use Leverage
“If you’re wrestling right-handed, step your right leg forward—almost under the table,” and plant it there. “Keep your hips close to the table, and all the muscles in your upper back tight.” This position preps you to pull your opponent toward you and take him down.
3. If You’re Going Down…
Should you find yourself nearly pinned, drive your shoulder toward your fist. “Try to push your shoulder behind it so your whole body is driving your shoulder forward.” Your arm will follow.