Rules of Arm Wrestling | How it is Played?

Arm Wrestling is popular across the world because of its uniqueness. The winner is decided in a couple of minutes and there’s no chance of injury to any player. The simplicity of the sport makes it playable anywhere. Actually it is a test of strength of one person’s arm against another.

Rules of Arm Wrestling

Strength is not the only thing required to win arm wrestling matches but technique is another factor which makes a key role in one’s success because there are some rules to follow – which we shall discuss below. There are numerous arm wrestling federations all around the world and the game is played with little modifications in rules in different tournaments.

Object of Playing Arm Wrestling

You have to beat your opponent by pinning his hand onto the table. It can also be played as a team sport in which individual players arm wrestle against one of the opponents and the team that wins the most games is declared winner.

How to Play?

Arm Wrestling is a physical sport in which players have to pin the hand of their opponent on the table. Before the start of the play players grab each other’s hand tightly with their elbows resting on the table and their non-playing hand not holding anything for extra support.

Once the game starts, both players try to pin each other’s hand by only using legal techniques. A foul can disqualify you from the match. All these details can be read in the rules discussed below.

General Rules of Arm Wrestling

  • The grip of the hands should be palm to palm with thumb knuckles visible.
  • When the referee thinks both the opponents are ready he signals both players to start the game.
  • You can’t drag the opponent’s hand, you can only exert force to pin it.
  • Your non-wrestling arm must not grip anything for support.
  • Your elbow must not leave the table while wrestling.
  • You can’t abuse or use foul language towards your opponent during the match – whether you really meant it you were trying to distract him, it is considered as a foul.
  • Referee warns the player if he finds him violating rules. Two warnings make one foul and after two fouls the referee disqualifies the player and the opponent is declared winner in such instances.

Time Duration

There is no time duration, the game goes on until one of the players pins the other one.

Arm Wrestling Equipment & Playing Area

The arm wrestling takes place on a table and the table must have following features.

Table size: In competitive and high level tournaments, the tabletop is approximately 28” from the floor. For stand up tournaments, the table top can be up to 40” from the floor. The leg size of the table stays between 18” to 28”.

Elbow pads: They are for the players’ comfort and to prevent any injury to them during the game.

Hand pegs: Hand pegs are for competitors to grip during the wrestling, it gives them a bit of leverage in grip.

The important thing to note here these are not mandatory for an arm-wrestling game and you may not find these equipment in some tournaments. The size of the table may be quite different from the ones mentioned above because the sport of arm-wrestling is still considered a casual sport and how it is played in one region could differ significantly from the other region.

Referee in Arm Wrestling

Referee’s role is to make sure both players are complying with the rules of the game during the match.

Famous Arm Wrestling Tournaments

Arm wrestling is yet to become part of the Olympics but it is played at different levels throughout the year. Most of these tournaments are not international level except the World Arm Wrestling Championship.

Governing Body

There are multiple arm-wrestling federations active throughout the globe and they have respective members who participate in the tournaments catered by their respective federations. Multiple governing bodies is the reason why arm-wrestling rules vary, depending on the rules set by their federation.