10 Unbelievable Facts You Didn’t Know About Arm Wrestling

Your brain is about to get slammed. By facts. Brought to you by Game of Arms, Tuesdays at 10|9c on AMC.

1. Organized “wrist wrestling” began in a saloon in 1952.

Nomadic Lass / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Via Flickr: nomadic_lass

Gilardi’s Bar in Petaluma, California, to be exact.

2. But the sport itself dates back to ancient Egypt.

Dale Gillard / CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr: dalegillard

Hieroglyphs depict arm-wrestling-style bouts. This one says “Montuemsaf totally owned Senusret, 2038 B.C.”

3. Magnus Samuelsson is a champion arm wrestler and 14-time World’s Strongest Man finals contender.

Jerzy Dabrowski / ZUMAPRESS / Newscom

Magnus has been given the nickname “The King of the Stones” because he has the world’s strongest arms.

4. There are men’s and women’s leagues all over the world.

With right- and left-handed competitions.

5. Arm wrestling puts immense stress on the humerus bone of the arm, more so than any other sporting activity. This results in frequent fractures.

Chrisnorlin / http://CC-BY-SA-3.0-MIGRATED / Via commons.wikimedia.org

And there’s nothing humerus about that.

6. There is recorded proof of this:


7. In 1972, Ronald Reagan “wrist wrestled” league founder Bill Soberanes and cheated.

REX USA / Clive Limpkin / Daily Mail / Rex

The Gipper put Soberanes’ arm down before he was ready, breaking one of his ribs. It was reportedly an accident.

8. Pro arm wrestler Matthias Schlitte has one super-sized arm.

Manni999 / CC BY-SA http://3.0 / commons.wikimedia.org


The arm is the result of both a genetic defect and training. His slight frame allows him to compete in a lower weight class, where his larger arm is a huge advantage.

9. Arm wrestling gained major traction as an American sport in the 1960s when Charles Schulz featured it in Peanuts.

In the comics, Snoopy travels to Petaluma to compete for the championship, but is disqualified for lack of thumbs.

10. The hands of Denis “The Hulk” Cyplenkov are insanely big.

Bartlomiej Zborowski / EPA / Newscom

The Ukrainian arm wrestler has the biggest wrists and hands in Russia. His fingers are so strong, he can crush walnuts by flicking them.

You don’t need meat to be mean. Rob Bigwood is a world champion arm wrestler and a vegan.

hyunlab / CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr: 42164301@N00

You can watch Rob compete on Game of Arms, premiering Tuesday, February 25 at 10|9c on AMC.

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