Programming for Beginners

The period of being new to Armwrestling is a truly fundamental part of the own path, which if managed correctly right from the start, can allow not only to speed up progress, but also to lay excellent foundations to ensure continuity
in progress. It is necessary to make an important introduction first, namely that what will be said in this article refers only to the methodology to be used after at least 6 months since we started practicing this discipline. Until then the best approach useful and effective is to manage your training in two ways: learning ‘perfectly’ the table techniques, starting to condition tendons and ligaments, and then I will dedicate it appropriately to the training of the General Strength. It is necessary this step due to the fact that it is indispensable precisely in that period of time, best consolidate the specific coordination of the required motor patterns, and place of the strength bases useful for avoiding debilitating injuries and excessive performance
stalls during the path.


Having said this, a necessary distinction must be made between two types of subjects: the ABSOLUTE NOVICE and the RELATIVE NOVICE.

ABSOLUTE NOVICE: is someone who has never practiced a sport in general strength throughout his life or he has not practiced it for many years.
RELATIVE NOVICE: it is that individual who begins arm wrestling already having a certain sporting/competitive background in other disciplines.

The approach to training between these two subjects in the initial phase of their path is similar, but at the same time it has important differences to take into account in preparation. In fact, the absolute novice will have to give more priority to General
Strength
and hypertrophy, not only for the first 6 months but also for the first years. While the relative novice will have to stabilize the work done up to then with the General Strength and give more priority to specificity, both at the table and with Direct Strength training.


Having made these theoretical premises, we now delve into the concrete.


APPROACH TO TRAINING
We will divide this topic into 3 fundamental parts:

1.When and how to start Direct Strength armwrestling programming.

2. What type of progressions to use, why and in which exercises.

3. How to manage sparring to increase Specific Strength.

1. As mentioned in the initial premises, I recommend starting a real worksheet forArmwrestling only after at least six months of starting the practice discipline (possibly in a regular and constant way), otherwise the body will not have the right proprioception to transfer the work done in the gym directly to your movements expressed at the table. Doing the opposite is certainly not counterproductive, but the practice suggests it is almost completely useless.
After this period of time we can start training directly with of overloads.

Since the timing is still young, it would be a bad choice for a long time term directing Direct Strength training with weights only and exclusively towards a technique. It is good to do it on all of them, especially Top Roll and Hook.
As regards the choice of exercises, a mistake to avoid is that of changing exercises every week. To test and figure out what works best for you, I recommend carrying on those same exercises for at least 5/6 weeks and then experiment with something else later, once conscious evaluations have been made. Another piece of advice is to establish at least 3 “default” fundamental exercises (two from ground against gravity and one to the pulley) which simulate each of the two main ones techniques at the table. Warning: I am talking specifically about classical techniques and not about really subjective pull, since that will be a work for intermediates and advanced! The rest of the movements will mostly include direccomplementary excercises and General Strength, on which you can afford the luxury of making changes even during themesocycle itself!

2. When many people first start an Armwrestling program, they are enthusiastic to the idea of having to lift as much external load as possible or in executing as many repetitions with a certain weigth in a given exercise, setting it as a real objective own. The truth is that these kinds of increases in the novice phase will never translate in a relevant improvement at the table, however specific and direct the exercise! That doesn’t mean that training parameters aren’t important and progressions aren’t a good choice, but in this phase of one’s journey the really fundamental thing to be pursued is that of qualitative progress, and that is to focus on making every repetition equal to the other in form, gradually increase the technical volume (the ‘cheating’ must to be avoided) and not get injured trying to lift to which we are not yet conditioned. As far as progressions to use, what I recommend is to opt for small increments of repetitions almost always maintaining a fixed number of sets during the mesocycle and enter equally small load increments once reached a repetition target that was set with the previous load. The reason is that since Direct Strength lifts involve relatively small muscle groupsl, there will not be much room for improvement over the weeks and muscles themselves will not respond best to linear load progressions.
EXAMPLE:
Back Pressure with a vector almost perpendicular to the hand;
Progression to avoid: 4s x 6r 20 kg – 4s x 6r 22.5 kg – 4s x 6r 25 kg – 4s x 6r 27.5 kg
Useful progression: 4s x 6r 20 kg – 4s x 7-8r 20 kg – 4s x 9-10r 20 kg – 4s x 6r 22.5 kg
Recommended progression: (4sx6r) – (1sx7r + 3sx6r) – (2sx7r + 2sx6r) – (3sx7r + 1sx6r) –
(4sx7r)
In this case every week we added a rep to a series, so as to allow an even more gradual increase regardless of the genetics of subject, making it suitable for anyone and in any circumstance.

Does the type of progression to apply changes are based on the movement/district that do we want to train? Certainly! In fact, it has been seen in practice that everything relating to Back Pressure and Side Pressure movements responds very well to Pyramidal, Ramping and Wave Progressions with repetition ranges ranging from 3 to 10. While Pronation, Wrist, Rising and Down Pressure respond better to total failure (both concentric and isometric) and linear progressions of volume with range of repetitions between 10 and 20.
And all this applies to both beginners and advanced users.

3. The management of Specific Strength training at the table plays an important role as much as Direct Strength training with weights. By its very nature it is extremely difficult to set objective parameters during a sparring, and this criticality often leads to making it fallacious, or because it becomes excessive or because it is not sufficient to create the desired stimulus. But of course there are some precautions that, if followed, can make it happen
extremely useful. Among these we find the fact of asking ourselves a simple but very important question before sparring: “What do I plan to train today?” It may seem trivial, but setting the goal from the start helps to reduce the basics many limitations of the activity itself which would not lead to benefits. Once the objective has been established, the novce will have to focus on two aspects fundamentals: STATICS and TECHNIQUE.
STATIC:
It allows you to increase the force that a tendon is able to generate in the muscle. I recommend applying this by working at an intensity between 70% and 90% and imprinting it on every hypothetically useful angle based on your pull, for a period of time 10 to 25 seconds. It is necessary to do it in the central position, losing phase and winning
phase, maintaining compactness and ‘simultaneity’. Your own sparring partner also plays an important role in this, which if he is superior in terms of strength he will always have to allow the opponent to respect what has been said above.
TECHNIQUE:
It allows you to improve the performance of your pull. It is an established fact that the intermuscular coordination improves the performance expressed by the specific movement. This is as true for a deadlift as it is for a Top Roll or Hook. The way to do this is to repeat both slowly and in a controlled way plicometrically your pull, both with a sparring partner and with some rubber bands placed as vectors in ‘strategic’ points.
What is the optimal frequency to practice at the table?
There cannot be a universal answer to this for everyone.
For a novice, I always recommend starting with both Static and Technique once a week.
Then move on to a day of Statics and Technique and a day of Static only weekly.
This is already enough to create stimuli with an impact on performance.
Frequencies higher than these require more contextualization for obvious reasons
specific based on the person, experience and objectives.

Christian Nobile
Author

Christian Nobile

Atleta senior SBFI Allenatore di braccio di ferro Personal trainer Invictus

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