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Meet the 75-Year-Old Former Teacher Who Arm Wrestles Guys Half His Age—and Wins

Norm Devio has long been a legend of the strength sport. Now he's introducing himself to a new generation of pullers—by defeating them.

Norm Devio is the definition of "old-man strength."

Devio, a former gym teacher from from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is 5'7", 155 lbs., and 75 years old. And yet, despite his relatively compact build and the fact that he's qualified for Social Security for a decade, he is a longtime champion of competitive arm-wrestling who still still dominates tournaments, even though his opponents are often bigger—and far younger—than he is.

In a feature article published in the New York Times on Tuesday, Boston-based photographer Adam Glanzman shows and tells Devio's story, which is an inspiration to any guy who's ever wondered just how strong he could get if he had enough time in the weight room.


Just how good is Devio?

“Norm is a legend,” International Armwrestling Federation director Bill Cox told the Times.

“He’s an idol, an icon, an inspiration and a true gentleman with an incredible legacy,” Michael Shalhoub, a national champion puller, said. "All the guys knew they were only shooting for second place, at best.”

Here's a video of Devio crushing some hotshot competitors at the 2015 Connecticut State Championships. His style is unmistakable: While the young guns try to wrench Devio's arm over by throwing their bodies around, the wizened puller stays rock-solid, shifting his position only slightly—until his oppenent makes a mistake. That's when he strikes with brutal efficiency, and pulls them to the table:


Inspired by his example? Make sure you read up on our three tips for mastering the art of arm wrestling, and why bicep curls alone won't really help you all that much—even if Devio can do three sets of 10 reps with a 110-lb barbell.

Be sure to read Devio's story at the New York Times. As for an explanation of his sheer physical prowess, aka "old-man strength?" We've delved into that topic here.


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