Foster Carer Ben from Hinckley took first place on both arms at the British Arm Wrestling Championships!
Tell us about your journey into arm wrestling
Well I was always into Armwrestling my friends at school and was always quite strong for my size thankfully. After being able to beat most of my bigger friends at school and in the pub I decided to pursue it more professionally. I got in touch with the British Armwrestling Federation and they suggested popping down to a local club.
I originally joined the Milton Keynes Armwrestling Federation back in 2008. This was real eye opener for me. I met with Stephen Kirlew (Multiple British Champion) and quickly realised there was much to learn in terms of training and avoiding injury. Stephen set the path for me personally and since 2008 I’ve been entering both Novice and Professional competitions in the 65kg (Bantam weight category) gaining both knowledge and trophies along the way.
I now run my own club and train people in different weight categories, all to British Armwrestling Federation standard. We, as a team, enjoy helping each other out and really enjoy the social side of the sport.
What type of commitment have you needed to make?
Arm wrestling is one of those sports that takes a very long time to get good at so it does take a big commitment. I train with Mutliple champs who have been training for upwards of 30 years. Due to the unconventional movements and angles involved in the sport it takes the tendons and muscles used a long time to heal. Once healed though it’s a really positive feeling being able to lift your own body weight on one arm LOL!
In terms of time I’ve been training solidly nearly every day for the last 3 years with both my team mates and on my own. Unfortunately conventional weight lifting isn’t a productive way to train for Armwrestling so you sort of have to improvise with resistance bands and pulleys etc if you want train on your own. My shed is full of all sorts of strange devices and the children regularly catch me doing one armed pull-ups everywhere.
Do you think this type of activity helps to de-stress, why is de-stressing for a foster carer important?
After contracting Tinittus back in 2015 I’ve found the Armwrestling to be a great way of focussing on something to distract myself from the noise in my head. The sport is also a great way to exercise and can be a great de-stressing activity for foster carers. As a foster carer myself it enables me to re-focus and helps with my own self esteem. On the plus side some of the foster children we’ve looked after have been interested and taken part in some of the training enjoying getting stronger in the process. If you want to blow off some steam come and have a go at Hinckley Hammers Armwrestling Club it’s a great way to get strong and learn about yourself.
Would you recommend other foster carers do it / another type of sport?
If you’re wanting to improve your hand a wrist strength or overall strength in general then Armwrestling is a great sport to do so. I always say to new people looking into the sport that with a little training and techinique lesson I can make them around 10% better in a pub Armwrestle (Not that I’m an advocate of pub armwrestling as it can be dangerous if not refereed properly). But in terms of strength training there’s not much out there that beats it. I’ve seen Men and Women my weight conquer people twice their bodyweight on the Armwrestling table. I’d also always recommend sport to Foster Carers as a way to relieve stress and create positive energy.
Has your journey had any impact on your fostering experience/ attitude?
I’d say the armwrestling training has certainly given me something to share with the children. Most of them seem interested and like to get involved as they see it as something that makes them stronger. The teenage lads we have looked after have loved it. When they see the trophy cabinet I feel it gives them all a bit of inspiration to better themselves.
How proud are the kids?!
My Son Rain is always super happy when I manage to do well. He also loves being involved in the training. My daughter though isn’t that bothered haha! She just says “lets see the trophy” to see how big it is!