Ten years after the first arm wrestling match in 1952 in a Petaluma, CA, saloon, journalist Bill Soberanes and Dave Devoto formed the World’s Wristwrestling Championship. It aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports for 16 years starting in 1969, then Sly Stallone’s ’87 cult classic Over the Top boosted the sport’s popularity. Arm wrestling returned to the limelight in 2014 with the show Game of Arms on AMC.


This year will Mark The 20th anniversary of the Arnold Classic Armwrestling Challenge. With 10 qualifiers worldwide, only the best 100 men and women on the planet compete at the Arnold. The Arnold Challenge is held on the Expo Main Stage in front of 20,000 fans. In each of four divisions for men and two for women, prize money will be awarded: 1st, $500; 2nd, $400; 3rd, $300; 4th, $200.


Men and women compete separately in this double-elimination tournament. Due to time constraints, only right-arm wrestling takes place. Competitors stand at the table with shoulders square, gripping their opponent palm to palm, holding the hand peg on the table, bracing their legs. The goal is to pin the opponent’s wrist/hand to the touch pad. There is no time limit, but most bouts take less than 10 seconds.

SEE ALSO: Arnold Sports Festival Showcases Powerlifting

Why It’s Cool:

There are few better examples of mano a mano competition than arm wrestling. You may not see guys and gals with right arms twice as big as their left, but you will hear the common phrase “Bring it to the table!” to get you excited. And while 35 to 45 is the best age range for competitors, the 155- to 176- pound defending 2016 Arnold champ, “Crazy” George Iszakouits from Canada, is 67 years old!

Don’t Miss It: See the Arnold Classic Armwrestling Challenge at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH, from March 2–5. More info: arnoldsportsfestival.com