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


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

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

    IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

    Telecoms Engineer - Telecoms Administrator - London - £26,000

    £26000 per annum + 25 days holiday & further benefits: Ashdown Group: Telecomm...

    Year 3 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are seeking a confident...

    Senior Data Analyst - London - £38,000

    £30000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Data Analyst - Lon...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London