When it comes to training planning, whether it is about disclosing or discussing with coaches, athletes or enthusiasts, it is first of all necessary to define a common vocabulary through which to be able to speak the same language.
Arm wrestling is a particular sport with all its own characteristics in which specific programming merges with general physical preparation and strengthening exercises find their logical place during all programming phases.
Then the use of specific equipment such as handles are the icing on the cake in an extremely varied preparation framework, which, if not known how to use and contextualize correctly, can even prove to be counterproductive.
The objective of this introductory article is to initially define the 3 types of strength present in armwrestling and subsequently dissect and contextualize them within a broader vision of training in order to create a consequentiality of coherent stimuli which has end result, of course, the greatest possible improvement in strength on the table.
As mentioned above, there are mainly 3 types of strength, different but integrated with each other, each with its own characteristics:
– General Strength
– Direct Strength
– Specific Strength
All these components must therefore be managed in a coordinated way with each other in order to allow the Specific Strength (the effective one at the table) to find fertile ground to express itself at the highest level.
The development of General Strength involves training large muscle groups in order to maximize the strength of the body system in the execution of compounds exercises.
Barbells, dumbbells and complex bodyweight exercises are therefore the masters.
We strongly believe in this basis of strength, in these foundations that will support the other two components listed above.
General Strength training has many benefits, including:
– Improvement of intra and intermuscular coordination
– Improved muscle recruitment ability
– Reduction of the risk of injury
– More balanced overall muscle development
By improving intramuscular coordination we mean the ability of the muscle fibers that make up the muscle to contract efficiently.
By intermuscular coordination, on the other hand, we mean the ability of the nervous system to coordinate multiple muscles with each other in order to perform a certain movement.
This, for armwrestling, translates into a better mastery of the specific techniques thanks to the improvement of the recruitment of both the single muscle district and of all those support muscles which allow a better setting at the table, a better compactness and consequently a less exposure to injuries.
Strength does not come only from the transverse dimension of the muscle, but also and above all from the ability and speed of recruitment that our nervous system has to activate every single fiber.
This leads us to an increase in both strength and explosiveness, two fundamental characteristics in order to be competitive at the table.
Injuries are often caused by two main factors: poor technical mastery and unbalanced muscle development.
This second factor therefore increases the gap between the muscles directly involved in the movement, and those of support.
This translates into a greater propensity for injuries precisely because the weak links in the chain are unable to take on the extreme effort generated by small muscle groups limited in the area of the arms.
In fact, armwrestling is a discipline that involves our whole body, much more than one might think and a complete development of all the components involved can only translate into a better expression of specific strength.
Let us remember that health and therefore sporting longevity are the main factors to take into consideration when trying to reach one’s maximum potential, especially in armwrestling, in which time is needed to be able to see the fruit of one’s sacrifices as the response of joints , ligaments and connective tissues, takes much longer than the muscle.
Last but not least, it concerns balanced muscle development.
This factor is closely linked to the resistance to injuries and above all to the ability to count on a strong and well-trained structure, with a greater ability to manage important workloads and therefore more intense workouts and consequently with better recovery capabilities.
To take an extreme example, an untrained person who practices arm wrestling, certainly will be less efficient at recovering between sessions at the table without supplementing the latter with workouts supportive or without leading an active life.
As the name suggests, this type of strength is aimed at developing everyone’s strength those muscles and muscle districts directly involved in the specific gesture.
Specific equipment such as handles will therefore be the indispensable tools for training muscles, movements and portions of movement responsible for the strength and technique of our pull. Here we will be able to train our pull in its various phases and enhance specific angles of movement according to the feedback we will have obtained from training at the table.
Below we will list some of the benefits of direct strength training:
– Specificity of the stimulus
– Monitoring of strength levels in specific angles of movement
– More efficient recovery
At this juncture the specificity of the stimulus begins to be more marked.
Here the specific equipment (handles and supports) is the master as the main focus will be to enhance our pull (in case we already have a predominant strength) or enhance the main techniques that can be used at the table by intervening on individual muscles or portions of movement, significantly improving our weak points.
The muscles involved will therefore be the same as for practice at the table but with the possibility of monitoring specific strength levels and being able to organize precise programming for a specific purpose and being able to track our strength levels over time.
This area is closely related to table practice; in fact, it will be from this that we will derive the feedback that will allow us to understand the direction to give to our Direct Strength training.
One of the main factors that allow us to train optimally and profitably is management recovery between sessions at the table.
Practice at the table is notoriously taxing for our nervous system, muscules, tendon and ligament. Being able to speed up and optimize recovery allows us to have that advantage that allows us to train more and more often, limiting pain and negative feedback from table sessions.
The specific handles and equipment, going to train muscles and movements directly involved in arm wrestling techniques, but with the advantage of being able to modulate them with precise volumes and intensity, prove to be excellent allies in order to significantly improve recovery speed between sessions or, in the event of an injury, act as rehabilitation tools if used according to specific training protocols.
Specific Strength is nothing more than the specific training of our discipline. Practice at the table then!
This is generally the most exciting part of the whole preparation but which, precisely for this reason, is not always managed with the necessary care but is increasingly made up of comp style simulations where you simply focus on beating your opponent.
To draw a parallel, it is as if a boxer entered the ring with the simple intention of knocking out the opponent without analyzing and technically studying all those qualities necessary to do so.
It is therefore evident that managed in this way, the practice at the table would be counterproductive more than a moment of study and technical analysis, management of strategies, etc…
In any discipline, the greatest performance gains come from the technical mastery of gestures specifics, including armwrestling (unless you are absolute genetic talents, but let’s take for granted that we are all more or less with the same starting physical bases).
The study of the technique with calibrated volumes and intensities allows us to master the movements necessary to carry out our pull efficiently and effectively.
The repetition of gestures allows us to fix in our nervous system the optimal gesture to perform, which over time will become more and more automated and more and more predisposed to give strength and speed.
These qualities must be managed very carefully precisely because, as mentioned above, the risk is that (especially for beginners) the damage outweighs the benefit.
After this brief introduction, in future publications we will better analyze each look, with some examples of how to integrate everything into your training schedule.