This is a page for the general armwrestling rules. Specific competitions may have differing rules, like weight classes and time limits, but overall most will follow some form of these general rules.
Competitors face each other on opposite sides of the armwrestling table and grip hands. The competitors can place their grip as high or low on their opponents hand as they wish as long as the knuckle of the thumb is visible. The shoulders of the competitors must be square to the table before the match begins. The hands will be placed over the center marker in the table by the referee. The non-wrestling hand must be placed on the side pegs on the table. The referee will ensure that the competitors wrists are straight, say "readygo" and the round will start.
Match lengths can very between tournaments and leagues. The most common matches consist of either one, three or six rounds per match.
A pin occurs when any part of the wrestlers hand from the wrist up (i.e. if the competitors wrist is bent backward so the fingers are below the wrist and the fingers are the lowest point) drops below the line of the pad/rope-marker of the table. A wrestlers hand does not have to touch the pad/rope-marker to be pinned, it merely needs to be brought below the level of the marker. When a pin is awarded without the wrestlers hand touching the pad/rope-marker, this is known as a parallel pin.
There are several ways for a foul to occur, and two types of fouls.
A foul can occur several ways. The most common is when the elbow of the wrestler slips off the pad (sometimes intentionally) or is lifted off the pad by a significant margin. If this occurs the wrestler is given a foul. The wrestler on the foul must then win the restart pin in order to get a restart of the round. If the wrestler commits a second foul he loses the round.
Fouls can also occur when a wrestlers shoulder touches his opponents hand during the match. This typically occurs when the wrestler is in a dominant position and is attempting to press his opponent to the pad, bringing his shoulder over his hand and in contact with the opponent.
A third way to receive a foul is to jump-start before the referee says "readygo".
A "running foul" is when the wrestlers own elbow slips off the pad but comes back on instantly. When this occurs the match will continue, but if the wrestler on the running foul pins his opponent, he does not get the win but instead the round will restart and the wrestler will have one foul. If the wrestler with the foul loses the round, it is a loss and no restart is needed.
When the wrestlers hands slip from each others grasps before a pin is recorded, they will restart the round with the straps to ensure that they don't slip again. The strap is wrapped around each opponents wrist and around the hands.