Arm Wrestling and Nail Bending

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Although this question may be specific, it applies to many other areas and types of training too. The same principles apply…

Wow thanks man. I took a new attitude to arm wrestling practice after reading your strongman manifesto. Best practice ever. I also focused on activating more muscle fibers and the result was unbelievable. Good stuff. I have a question that seems difficult to answer and I have never seen addressed. Personally, I am on an armwrestling team and also enjoy steel bending. I am close to certifying on the red nail if I can shave a couple of minutes off my time. However, armwrestling practice really stresses the ligaments which makes me miss training time with the red nail. How does one recuperate and stay healthy enough to do both on a weekly basis? I have another team member with the exact same issue. I am guessing it will just take time for the tendons to thicken enough to handle all the stress but wanted to get your take on it. Thanks, Bo.

Mac Batchelor in arm wrestling match (right)

Mac Batchelor in arm wrestling match (right)

I know that feeling. Sometimes there are two things you’re training on, but they seem to get in the way of each other.

When I was working on breaking the 300 mark on the kettlebell snatch, I noticed my gymnastics practice was interfering. For that, I temporarily laid off the gymnastics in order to pursue that one goal. And sometimes, you’ll have to decide that one thing is really a priority over another. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is one way to and sometimes necessary. But now, let’s talk about what you need to do in order to do both. It is going to differ from person to person to some degree, but overtraining in this situation is something you’ll want to avoid. The last thing that will help either is an injury!

Here’s a few options…

First of all, watch the amount of volume you do in each. Maybe you can only bend successfully once per week while you still engage in arm wrestling. And maybe it’s only every other week that you can go hard at it, the other week being an “easier” session. It might even be less than once a week though.

The bending can be particularly brutal. Find what works and allows for progress without causing pain. Nails for Bending Secondly, do a few things to accelerate recovery. High repetition easy movements help bring blood flow to the area which can add in recovery.

Contrast bathing can do the same. And as you saw in your training, the activation starting with your mind is important. It’s the same with recovery. More details on recovery, including advanced tips on the mental component behind it, are in the Ultimate Recovery Formula.

And this goes to the recovery of the area as well, you’ll want to provide the building blocks. Tendons and ligaments are connective tissue made up in large of collagen. So making sure you have a good amount of this in your diet is critical.

Bone broth is my favorite option, though some people choose to supplement with it too.

Dennis Rogers, my main mentor in the strongman arts, was first and foremost a champion armwrestler so you know that it’s possible. I don’t think he ever officially certified on the Red Nail, but he’s definitely one of the top benders in the world.

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