The question of training frequency has always been a topic of contention in arm wrestling. Is it better to train every day so your muscles, joints, and connective tissue get used to taking a beating? Or is it better to train less frequently while allowing more time for your body to recover?
Some elite arm wrestlers will train 7 days a week but the typical training frequency is 3-6 days a week with varying training focuses and intensity.
The verdict is still out on this one as there isn’t any research to say what is definitively more effective.
In this article we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of training every day vs a few times a week. We’ll also take a look at the training frequencies used and recommended by some of the most accomplished arm wrestlers in the world.
Arm Wrestling Training Frequency Will Vary Throughout The Year
Professional arm wrestlers go through different training periods throughout the year where the training focus will dictate how much time they spend working out. Think of it like a preseason, season, and off season, although it’s often not so black and white in arm wrestling.
Before A Tournament Or Supermatch (Train Everyday?)
The training focus leading up to a particular arm wrestling event will often be on developing size, strength, and explosiveness – with a primary focus on the latter.
Training for speed and quickness off the ready-go is very taxing on the body and puts a lot of strain on your joints and connective tissue and isn’t always trained year-round.
We’ve also seen athletes like Devon Larratt make huge size gains in recent years leading up to big supermatches with the likes of Michael Todd and Levan Saghinashvili. With size comes strength, so it makes sense to bulk up before a big event.
Having said that, it’s clearly not sustainable to be eating pancakes all day everyday for an extended period of time – at some point your size gains will just make you fat and unhealthy and won’t bring with them much additional strength.
Devon often talks about going through ‘seasons’ and how it’s rejuvenating to take time off after events to give yourself a chance to reset and start building towards the next objective.
It’s not uncommon for an athlete to be training 7 days a week leading up to a big tournament or supermatch (prior to the peaking/deload period immediately preceding the event).
Devon Larratt has stated that he’ll sometimes train up to 3 times a day, 7 days a week during an intense preparation phase.
After A Tournament Or Supermatch (Rehab Focus, Train Sometimes)
The focus for this training period is going to be on recovery which means training significantly less frequently to give your body a chance to heal.
After a tournament, your muscles, tendons, and connective tissue will often be pretty shot. Medical literature indicates it can take several months for tendons to heal completely.
During this post-tournament period it’s typically a good idea to greatly reduce training frequency and intensity and to do more exercises that promote blood flow (which will aid with recovery).
Many top athletes recommend taking a week or two off completely to give everything including your neurological system a complete reset. It’s advisable to continue doing some very light blood flow work to help transport nutrients into the muscles and connective tissue.
Many Top Tier Arm Wrestlers Train Every Day
In today’s day and age, it’s fairly common for elite arm wrestlers to train every day. The idea being that the constant stimulation is a good way to force your body to get stronger.
As mentioned above, Devon Larratt famously trains multiple times per day, 7 days a week. Australia’s Ryan Bowen has also stated that he does some form of arm wrestling training every single day.
One can’t argue with the success both of these athletes have had. But is this super high frequency training worth it or even close to optimal?
Is It Better To Train Less Often?
The undisputed greatest arm wrestler of all time, John Brzenk, said he only used to arm wrestle once a week for 1-2 hours and that rest and recovery was really important. John also didn’t suffer much from injuries throughout his career.
Devon, on the other hand, has had multiple surgeries over the years which we could attribute to some sort of ‘overuse injury’. Live by the sword, die by the sword!
Whether it’s better to train really often or more infrequently is still up for debate.
Should I Train Arm Wrestling Every Day?
For beginners I’d recommend starting out at 2-3 times a week. If you feel as though you’re making decent gains and are able to recover quickly without too much pain, consider gradually increasing that to 4-5 times a week.
If you want to try training for arm wrestling every day like the pros, make sure you’ve got your diet and sleep optimized and do plenty of rehab/blood flow/low intensity exercises to promote efficient recovery.
Table Time Is Superior To Weight Training
One thing all top professional arm wrestlers agree on is the necessity for table time, which refers to getting reps in on an arm wrestling table vs other arm wrestlers, i.e. actually arm wrestling.
You can do all the weights or supplementary exercises you like in the gym, but there’s simply nothing as effective as arm wrestling for getting better at arm wrestling.
For this reason, it’s recommended you look to get table time in at least once per week if you have access to it. Joining a local arm wrestling club is probably your best bet here.
Listen To Your Body To Avoid Injury
Training frequency is all about striking the balance between efficient growth as an arm wrestler and avoiding getting injured.
If you ask any of the top arm wrestlers what the best way to get better at arm wrestling is, I’ve found a very common response is, “don’t get injured”.
This is easier said than done because as athletes we always want to work harder than our competition and this mentality often leads to overuse injuries and setbacks.
Whether you’re training 7 days a week or just once or twice a week, listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
When it comes to arm wrestling progression, slow and steady is always the way!
At the end of the day, there’s no universally agreed upon optimal amount of times to train for arm wrestling each week. It’s entirely possible to have good amounts of success working out 2-3 times a week or even training every day.
Without much research on the subject, the best thing you can do is to start slow and try a few different approaches out to see what works best for you.