How To Top Roll in Arm Wrestling

Arm wrestling has been known to be a sport held only in bars for both men and women, but mostly men, whose bets are placed on the table, trying to determine who has stronger arm muscles. Years later, it has become a recognized sport by the International Arm Wrestling Federation and the tournaments are being held around the world.

The winning of the game does not entirely rely on the biceps alone. The largeness of the grip, the length of the wrestler’s arm, quick reaction time, flexibility of the wrist, endurance and technique are some of the factors that affect winning.

There are different moves in arm wrestling namely top roll, hook, press, foot position, wrapping the thumb, backpressure and locking the arm. John Brzenk, number one in North America in Summer 2008, is well-known for his display of different kinds of techniques during a competition. Ron Bath on the other hand is popular for his use of the Top Roll technique wherein he lets his wrist “roll over” to pin down his opponent.

To understand what a top roll is, let’s compare top roll and the hook move. Top roll is considered an “outside move” while hook is an “inside move”. In hook technique, the player uses brute strength to pin down his opponent. Literally using his body to add weight to his arm, he applies pressure to the arm of the opponent so he can pin him down. But this happens over the table or “inside”. Top Roll on the other hand, uses leverage to win the game. The higher you get on your opponent’s hand, the more leverage you get and the easier for him to be pinned down. The top roller’s body hangs at the end of the table in doing this. This is why it is called an “outside” move.

To do a top roll in arm wrestling, do the following:

  1. Upon grasping your opponent’s hand, pull yourself  back. This will make him lengthen his arm making his leverage weak, and yours strong.
  2. Concentrate on pulling the bottom knuckle of your forefinger towards your face.
  3. Try walking your fingers out of his grip so he will have difficulty grasping your hand.
  4. As you do this, keep applying backpressure by leaning your body to the end of the table. Backpressure means to pull your opponent’s hand towards your body, needless to say, away from him.
  5. If you succeed in walking out of his hand, adjust your grip over his hand. This will increase your leverage.
  6. If your leverage is great, then your opponent’s wrist will bend backwards because he will not be able to keep his wrist curled.

You are at an advantage during a match if instead of the palm of your hand, the back of your hand is facing you. Remember, keep applying backpressure the whole time. It will be hard for your opponent to use brute strength against you and recover if his grip is not good. The faster you can get high with your opponent’s hand, the better.


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