Strong arms and strong hands: these are the two overlapping components that make an individual skilled at both rock climbing and arm wrestling, respectively.
So, are rock climbers good arm wrestlers? It is a reasonable assumption that a good rock climber would have attributes that would translate well into arm wrestling.
Though rock climbing and arm wrestling are too vastly different disciplines when you truly break them down, they do have some foundational similarities that fuel the fact that they are more alike than they are dissimilar. If you are proficient at one or the other, there’s a high likelihood that you can expect to be adept at the other sport with some coaching and training.
The Demands of Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a demanding activity in which the musculature of your body is challenged from head to toe. From the last knuckle of your fingers to the very tip of your toes, each body part plays a vital role in helping ascend up a wall or other vertical surface. To keep your body close to the wall, your hips and core are working. Then, as you reach for the next hand hold, your quadriceps and calves are burning as they stabilize your connection to the wall. When each point of your body’s contact to the wall is lifted, the targeted muscles shift and continue to flux as you make your way up the wall.
One of the most vital aspects of climbing (be it rock climbing indoors, bouldering, or exploring the vertical outdoor landscape) is your grip strength. One attempt at holding yourself up using exclusively the strength of your hand grip will give you a good idea about the grip implications that the sport places on you. This is an ability that many avid or professional climbers train extensively.
If you think about navigating an uneven wall with variable crack and crevices, you can imagine the need to adjust your hand position and grip to keep you secure and prevent you from falling. Besides your feet contacting the wall, your hand grip to the wall is what’s keeping you up there.
Thus, it’s an ability that’s highly revered in this sport. Many take years to cultivate this strength, while others are born with a good amount of natural-born, innate grip strength. In whichever category, an individual may fall, the fact that you need it to perform this activity is a reality. Due to the physical nature of this sport, you will find that many top climbers are excellent athletes that are in exquisite shape. Having a high level of fitness is not required by the sport, but it is a common element that many of the top climbers in the world possess.
Good Rock Climbing Form
Depending on the application of climbing you are doing, be it outdoor rock climbing or bouldering in an indoor gym, there will be some modifications you will need to make with your body to accommodate the terrain. But, there are a few things that are commonplace for climbing:
- Your goal is to keep the majority of your weight on your feet.
- Keep your body as close to the wall as possible. This will help give your stabilizing muscles a break and provide you with more climbing longevity on your outing.
- Move deliberately, intentionally, efficiently, and with balance. Making drastic movements is not something that will help you in rock climbing.
- Using chalk will help save your grip to some extent. In other words, it will help you grip easier without your hands sliding, which would require you to grip harder to hang on.
When you climb with good form, your legs should be doing the majority of the work. Your arms and grip assist you with holding on and pulling up to the next position. However, utilizing the legs heavily is ideal. Having a strong grip will allow you to be safe if you enter precarious holds and allow you to climb for a longer duration of time to keep up with your leg stamina. It’s important to note that grip is a vital factor, but you shouldn’t always have to utilize it, as you will have to in regards to arm wrestling.
Attributes of Good Arm Wrestlers
Not many take the sport of arm wrestling seriously, and it’s viewed by most as something they did with their friends growing up. However, to an elite few, it’s actually a competitive sport in which two individuals compete against one another to out work the other in an arm duel. Major factors that come into the picture are technique and arm strength.
An added consideration for arm wrestling is that this sport uses weight classes to differentiate its competitors. This prevents larger athletes from dominating the smaller athletes by sheer force. Overall body strength is a factor as a leverage point, even though It’s true that you are only contacting your opponent through hand grip. Tensing up your body and create stability and power behind your grip is significant, though. This is how smaller arm wrestlers can generate the most power for their size.
How does that contrast with rock climbers? In competitive rock climbing, everyone is competing on the same wall, regardless of body weight. This means that climbers ideally don’t want to have a lot of extra weight on their body. Or, if they are a heavier competitor, they need to have a strong grip to compensate for the added weight.
Good Arm Wrestling Form
Arm wrestling has its own set of rules and parameters that must be followed, just like in any sport. In regards to musculature used, form, and objectives to think about as an athlete, here are a few key pointers to keep in mind when you engage in an arm-wrestling duel:
- Since your elbow must stay in contact with the pad, concentrate on tightening the rest of your body to create power that can translate into your grip.
- Keep your focus on your hand and each individual finger. Think about each finger has being able to contribute a good amount of power to your grip.
- Tighten your forearms, grip, and aim to compromise the powerful position that your oppositions grip is in. This will make it easier to overpower them.
Similarities + Dissimilarities
Success in both of these activities requires a multitude of smaller components and capabilities. Even though each one has its idiosyncrasies and differs in the general application and structure of the sport, there are many demands that are nearly identical. The ability to grab ahold of something and sustain that strength is at the core of both rock climbing and arm wrestling.
Rock climbing requires almost the entire body, making it a bit different than arm wrestling in that way. When climbing, you actually rely heavily on the stamina of your legs and feet, even though it would seem like the upper body pulling would require the most effort. This does largely depends on the personal fitness of the individual and their strengths. For example, the body parts that are the most adept & trained for climbing on one person may be the legs and glutes. Whereas, on another person, they may have a stronger grip and better pull from their upper back.
With arm wrestling, you get away with having some weaknesses in the rest of your body, as it doesn’t require so much from the lower body as climbing does. The rest of the body is used as leverage (recruits more power) in arm wrestling, but it’s not as pertinent of a physical requirement. It’s more of a tool in your toolbox that is used when needed. All in all, when you hone in on what’s at the core of both sports, it’s the hand strength and arm strength than can truly give you a leg up on your competitors. If you have a strong grip in rock climbing, that is likely to translate seamlessly into arm wrestling.