At a loose end during last year’s Covid-19 lockdown, Dean Willis, of Milton, spent his time on YouTube learning about the fast-growing sport of arm wrestling.
However, quickly running out of people to practise with, he decided to start his own club.
“I had a go with my brother, with mates,” Willis said.
“But I spent most of the year just doing weights, which gets pretty boring.”
Thus was born the Otago Unleashed Arm Wrestling Club — to date, the only known group of its kind in the South Island.
“As far as I know all the other clubs are in the North Island. I heard there was once a club in Christchurch, but I couldn’t get any answer out of them.”
The new club will be open to anyone, and split sessions between Milton and Mosgiel, where Willis will soon be moving.
He said that while a lot of brute force was involved, the finer nuances of the sport also included an array of techniques and small movements to put you “over the top” of your opponent.
These included back pressure, side pressure, cupping and hooking.
The techniques could all be developed with the help of specific workout routines, to train the appropriate hand, arm and shoulder muscles.
Front and back wrist curls, rotating dumbbells, and weight machines adapted to mimic arm wrestling motions would strengthen the biceps, triceps, hands and wrists.
These workouts would form part of future training for members of Otago Unleashed, Willis said.
He said the sport was appropriate for many different types of people, especially those less mobile.
“I can’t run much anymore, I can’t jump, but I can definitiely stand in one place and do stuff.”
On the world stage, New Zealand holds its own in the strength-based sport, with 160kg behemoth Maateiwarangi “The Beast” Heta-Morris ranked 8th in the world at present.
In a testament to how high the stakes can be in the sport, Heta-Morris has broken the arms of seven opponents during his encounters.