Fingerhakeln is an old athletic sports in countries of the Alps, predominantly practiced in Bavaria and Austria. The origins of the sport, ‘fingerhakeln’ in German are shrouded in mystery. It has been said it was once used to settle disputes in the Alpine region of southern Germany and neighboring Austria.
The wrestlers undertake a gruelling training regimen. Many crush tennis balls with their hands, others do one-fingered pull-ups and it has been reported that some hardcore competitors can lift 50 kilograms with a single digit. Injuries are not uncommon and the gladiators have been known to draw blood and break or dislocate their fingers. The sport even has different weight classes – light, middle, semi-heavy and, for those over 14 stone, heavy weight.