Arm Wrestling Rules

There are several arm wrestling rules we will address in the following article. Chief of these is that of respect: every sportsman, whether in arm wrestling or not, respects one another. Arm wrestling is a competition of strength, not cheating. Now, once you get that idea down pat, read on for some of the more concrete arm wrestling rules.

  1. Keep distance. According to the USWA/USAA set of basic rules, the hand and shoulder must be at least a fist away from each other. This is to ensure one player does not get too much maneuverability.
  2. No false starts. That means, obviously, wait for the "Go!" before proceeding to wrestle your opponent. An early start will most likely end in you being awarded a foul. Referees will always start a match with "Ready … Go!".
  3. Your hand is free. In other words, your hand may not touch any part of your body (or anyone else's) during a USWA/USAA-sanctioned match. If such an event occurs, a foul will be awarded.
  4. Do not harm. Any sort of intention to hurt your opponent's arm by breaking, spraining, or pulling it in unnatural ways will result in a foul being awarded to you (and vice versa). Arm wrestling is a sport, not a death match.
  5. The referee will end the game. The way he/she will do this is by grabbing the competitor's arms in the center to signify that the match is over. Until that time, keep competing with all your arm strength! If your opponent's hand does not touch the pad/ground, he/she has not lost yet.
  6. Shoulders should stay close. While they don't need to be completely stationary, albeit a fist's distance away from the hand, the shoulder should not cross the center line. If such an event occurs in arm wrestling, a foul is awarded.
  7. At first, shoulders square. For the purposes of the beginning of a match, shoulders should always be square with the table. As the match begins, movement is liberalized (so long as the "fist-distance rule" and "center-line" rule are adhered to).
  8. No accessories. Especially on the hand, but this rule applies to other parts of the body in some areas. Take off any watches, wristbands, bracelets, gloves, rings, and anything that can otherwise alter the arm wrestling competition unfairly.
  9. Wrists stay straight. From the start of the match onward, wrists must be straight and not flexible. Not only will this result in an arm wrestling injury, it can also give some competitors an unfair advantage.
  10. Three strikes, you're out. After an individual is awarded three fouls by a legitimately-appointed official, the game is over and his/her opponent wins the match. Fouls are up to the referee's discretion, but must be based on actual USAA/USWA rules.

Arm wrestling can be a dangerous sport, causing broken bones, torn skin, and pulled muscles from time to time. It is because of these dangers that arm wrestling rules are enforced, and should be respected.

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