Pro arm wrestler calls himself real-life ‘Hellboy’
German arm-wrestler Matthias Schlitte, famed for his ginormous right arm (the result of a rare genetic condition), tells Metro about his unique physicality helps him in everyday life but swears he’s not a fighter.
How was your last tournament?
It was an international event in the Netherlands. I was lucky and managed to win in the 80kg category, took second place in the “up to 90 kg category, and in the overall competition regardless of weight class, I came in fourth. Now I am preparing for the world championships again.
How do you prepare yourself?
Normally I go to the gym five to six times a week, for one to two hours at a time. My training is a combination of working on my chest muscles, shoulders, legs and back, and special exercises like on a table for arm wrestling – and sparring, of course.
Any special diet?
I try to drink more water, sometimes I have to lose some weight. And I drink special vitamin supplements.
Do you only wrestle with your gigantic right arm?
I can’t say that my left hand is as strong as the right. But I do fight with my left one in national championships and at small tournaments.
So how big a difference is there between your arms, strength wise?
I can explain this by their size: My right bicep has 12 more inches around than the left one. But make no mistake, my left hand is not weak – it’s normal – but my right hand is very strong.
You have a few nicknames: Popeye, Hellboy … What’s your favorite?
Listen, almost all arm wrestlers are called Popeye. But call me Hellboy – I really like this name. It reflects the reality. [Editor's note: The comic book hero Hellboy has a large rock-like right arm.]
I heard you were shy about your abnormally large arm in your childhood. How did you feel growing up?
I don’t think I was shyer than the next guy. I was just a kid and did not face any big problems, though my right hand has always been larger than the left.
How did you get into arm wrestling?
In 2004, I played handball at school, but it was not so serious. And then I went to the arm wrestling tournament, and there were a lot of big heavyweight guys. I took part and I won. After this I was invited to train with the team.
Hellboy’s superpowers are for good deeds. And yours?
In ordinary life I am very good at opening bottles. If my mother, for example, can’t deal with a bottle, she always says, “Hey, Matthias, I need your help (smiling).” But you should know “stronger” does not mean “better”. I had to train for at least 4 years to get my first title in the German championships. I always tried to avoid fights. The first thing that parents have told me before school: “ Don’t go into a fight. If you hit a person, then you can hurt him very seriously. “
Are you recognized on the streets?
In the U.S., yes. In Australia, too. But I’m not Leonardo DiCaprio.
Do you have a girlfriend?
And how does she feel about your hand?
Never had a problem. We’ve never discussed it somehow.
You never told about why does your right arm is bigger …
The reason is a very rare genetic condition, so my right arm bone is 33% thicker.