Fitness: Arm wrestling; Nike 13-14 FA Cup Mango Incyte Ball; cycling's 'rule of three'


Join the club: Arm wrestling

My arms are pretty weedy. I struggle to lift shopping bags; have to stop intermittently to flex my fingers before struggling on. I get other people to twist open stiff jar lids for me. I can do four to five pull-ups, just.

So why is my hand gripped, vice-like – arm poised at a sharp 90 degree angle – by World Champion arm wrestler Neil Pickup, and do I have a hope in hell?

Well yes, says Pickup, but not against him. "Arm wrestling is a bit like physical chess. Does technique come into it? Absolutely. In a match between novices, the person with the technique is probably at a 70:30 advantage. Because what you can do with that is literally neutralise your opponent's strength."

He's right. With the three tips he gave me, I have gone on to win every arm wrestle I've had. I tried it at the pub, against co-workers, and with my housemates. My mum crumbled in seconds. And now, dear reader, I will reveal the secrets to you and scupper that advantage.

First, set your body: keep your upper arm close to your chest and lean in, feeling the pressure on your bicep. On the count of three, don't push but pull up towards your nose, thus disengaging your opponent's wrist. Now you have them, dead fish-like, roll over and down, with all the force you can muster. "Like a tyre lever," explains Pickup.

But is this fitness? As with any sport, to be good you have to put the hours in. Pickup climbs a four-inch-thick shipping rope wearing a weighted belt and walks himself up and down a vertical I-beam (the steel girders normally used for holding up buildings), clinging on with crimped fingers.

All of which make for gargantuan forearms, drainpipe-thick wrists and trouble-free trips back from Tesco.

Cheapskate's version: In suitably grotty drinking establishments, this could be a real money-spinner

Oscar Quine

Modern gym rules: Towels

As Douglas Adams suggested, always know where yours is. Also, never share it


Gear: Nike 13-14 FA Cup Mango Incyte Ball, £100

Competing with Adidas's Brazuca as the ballon de nos jours, the Mango is the official ball of 2014's FA Cup. Goes well with Sheffield United legend Tony Currie...

The cyclist: Three and out

I have bought a new bicycle, which is of no interest to anyone bar me, but notably, perhaps, it brings the total number of bikes I own to three. And, according to The Rules, an indulgently snobbish guide to cycling, this is the minimum number a rider should have blocking his or her hall (where the carpet may already have been ruined by the greasy rain-drips of two bikes).

The correct number of bikes to own, above that minimum, the book adds, is "n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned." The equation may be re-written according to circumstances, The Rules goes on, as "s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner".

I will now cap my ownership, not because my girlfriend would dump me otherwise (she might) but because she would find it difficult to enter her own flat, where I'm her tenant. I may have also risked losing my deposit on account of that blackened carpet – if she'd been mercenary enough to take one.

Yet three is a modest number for many cycling types I know. For others, the real risk of a domestic incident keeps the number down. Charlie warns: "My brother-in-law once owned a beautiful steel bike (his pride and joy) until his first wife took a hacksaw to it after an argument, she carefully cut it into 10cms-long sections and left it in a pile in the front room."

Simon Usborne

Takin' it easy: 'Hide and clean'

A recent conversation with my friend Naomi brought back fond memories of working together in a Dublin restaurant a number of years ago. We recalled our joint motto formulated on the job; one that is particularly pertinent during the set-up and break-down portions of restaurant life: "Hide the things you can't clean; clean the things you can't hide". A catchphrase I feel (but I'm not going to get too worked up about it) that should be held dear by catering staff and anyone else in search of the easy life.

Larry Ryan

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk