Pull My Finger: Scenes from the German Finger-Wrestling Championships

Macho men in lederhosen only need apply.

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The video says it all: Finger wrestling is not for the faint of heart. But that didn’t stop about 150 lederhosen-clad men—no women are allowed, as per sport rules—to battle it out, one finger at a time, in the annual Alpine finger wrestling championship in the southern German town of Lenggries.

According to legend, finger-wrestling emerged as a way to settle disputes. But now it’s a sport whose annual championship tournament  men and boys spend months training for, strengthening fingers, hands and arms with weights and exercise bands.

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During competition, each man sits across a table from each other—the sport’s rules specify the specific table size—and puts their strongest finger (most choose their middle finger) in a leather ring. Then they pull. You win by yanking your opponent across the designated line twice, akin to tug-of-war, reports Germany’s The Local.

Don’t think the sport is as simple as twiddling thumbs; bloody fingers and stretched ligaments and tendons are par for the course. In the end, the team from Ammergau, in the Bavarian Alps, out-fingered the competition and took home the title.

MORE: Finger Exercise