John Brzenk Bio: Family, Wife, Record & Net Worth

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John Brzenk is a professional arm wrestler hailing from the United States. He is one of the most decorated wrestlers and was named the ‘Most Successful Arm Wrestler’ in the 2000th edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. 

If you love arm wrestling, you might have heard of the legendary John Brzenk.

He has been an inspiration to various other arm wrestlers around the world. The arm wrestler has a commendable grip strength that has proved lethal for his opponents. 

John Brzenk
John Brzenk At His Home (Source: Instagram)

John has competed in numerous leagues across the country. Some of his most famous appearances are during the Arm Wars and Arm-wrestling league. 

He is a former Arm Wars Light-Heavyweight Champion (left-right) and UAL Right-Handed Champion (Heavyweight Division). 

In the history of the sport, he was praised highly at the World Wristwrestling Championship in 1998 as ‘the greatest arm wrestler.’ 

Coming back from retirement after six years, John Brzenk beat Khadzimurat Zoloev at the age of 57 on February 10, 2022.

In this article, you will find more information about the player. So, let’s dig deeper into John’s early life, career, height, and other information.

Also, here are some quick facts about John before we move further into the details.

John Brzenk | Quick Facts

Name John Brzenk
Nickname Giant Crusher, The Perfect Storm, Superman
Birthdate July 15, 1964
Age 59 Years Old
Birthplace McHenry, Illinois, United States
Ethnicity White
Nationality American
Zodiac Sign Cancer
Parents John Brzenk Sr (Father)
Body Type Athletic
Height 1.85 m / 6 ft / 185 cm
Weight 102 kg / 225 lb
Hand Size 20 cm Approximately
Eye Color Light Grey
Hair Color Light Brown
Skin Fair
Profession Arm Wrestler
Ranking #2 (Heavyweight division)
Career Span 35 years
Undefeated Streak 25 years
First World Title ABC’s 1982 Wide World Of Sports
Streak Break Against Alexey Voyevoda (2004, Warsaw)
Movie Cameo Over The Top
Professional Status Retired
Rivalries Travis Bagent
Denis Cyplenkov
Devon Larratt
Tartas Ivakin
Technique Top Roll
Bicep Size 44 cm
Forearm Size 15.5 inches / 39.5 cm
Relationship Status Married
Wife Renne Brzenk
Children Kelli And Megan
Social Media Instagram
Net Worth $5 Million
Merch  Pulling John
Last Update May 2024

John Brzenk Early Life, Family, & Childhood

John, the Giant Crusher, was born on July 15, 1964, in McHenry, Illinois. Like John, his dad John Brzenk Sr. was also an arm wrestler.

The former athlete states that he gained his forearm size through genetics from his father, Brzenk Sr. So, it is fair to say that John got into sports because of his father’s influence. 

Sadly, nothing much information is available regarding his mother, other family members, early life, and education because of his secretive lifestyle. However, what’s known is that John has a little brother named Bill Brzenk. 

John Brzenk illustration
John Brzenk, Armwrestler (Source:sportsindiashow)

But it is known that John Brzenk started to arm wrestlers in grade 8. He had a broken arm when he arm-wrestled his father’s friend as an eighth-grader.

Nonetheless, it did not stop him from pursuing his career as a arm-wrestler, as he participated in his first tournament at 16. 

John earned the nickname the “Giant Crusher” for his exceptional ability to overpower an opponent twice his size.

John Brzenk | Body Stats

The giant athlete is a legend in the world of arm wrestling. He stands at a stunning height of 1.85 meters and weighs around 225 pounds

John maintains his physical fitness through an intense workout routine, exercises, and a strict diet. 

Also, it is one of the reasons behind his tremendous strength and durability. 

John Brzenk | Arm Wrestling Career 

It was unusual to see a boy of a small frame defeat someone bigger than himself. However, the audience did not know that John would secure his name in the history of arm wrestling.

After competing in smaller events, John Brzenk won ABC’s 1982 Wide World of Sports, his first world title.

He was just 18 years of age at the time. His 16 inches right forearm and 13.5 inches left forearm were doing wonders in arm-wrestling.

The heaviest opponent he faced weighed around 660 lbs. But there are no opponents his arms couldn’t pin.

John has only lost a single super-match in his entire career.

Besides arm wrestling, John Brzenk works as a mechanic at Delta Air Lines. John states that the job does not require brute strength, so he gets plenty of rest. 

The Iron Fist

John Brzenk is also known as the man with the iron fist after his impressive wins against formidable opponents. He progressed continuously and won the Middleweight World Championship in 1995. 

Because of his legendary reputation, John earned a cameo in Sylvester Stallone’s movie ‘Over the Top.’ However, he was not credited for his appearance in the film. 

John Vrzenk and Rocky
John Brzenk On The Set of “Over the Top” With Sylvester Stallone (Source:

John Brzenk was already a household name by the early 2000s. On the other hand, the giant athlete was also contemplating retirement because of his old age. 

His endurance and strength in the arms were getting weak each year. Thus, numerous competitors worldwide began to catch up to him. 

The “Pulling John”

John’s legacy and achievements have been immortalized by a documentary made in 2009. The documentary ‘Pulling John’ was directed by Sevan Matossian and Vassiliki Khonsar. 

‘Pulling John’ gives an insight into the Zloty Tur Cup in 2009, which took place in Warsaw. The documentary is not only about brute strength but also mental battles.

It educates viewers with details about the happenings inside John Brzenk’s mind and perfectly showcases John’s personality and characteristics. 

Arm wrestlers were commonly arrogant and cocky as they had pride over their brute strength. You will find John as one of the most humble beings, despite being at the top of the game for 25 years.

He is a mild-mannered athlete, one of the many reasons why fans around the globe love and adore him. 

A Legacy Left Behind

John’s legacy has been written in history despite his loss against Alexey Voyevoda. The World champion lost to the Russian arm wrestler in the 2004 event in Warsaw. 

Brzenk’s first loss was against Alexey, which ended his 25-year winning streak. But John avenged his defeat in a rematch the following year. 

John has won the middleweight titles in 2015, 2016, and 2017 as per

He became Wal’s 196-225lb Champion (Right Hand) in 2015. However, John could not defend the respective title in 2016 because of his injuries.

John Brzenk’s career record shows that he had won over 500 titles by the time he retired. 

Giant Crusher’s best matches were against Larratt, Voyevoda, Michael Todd, etc. The legendary John Brzenk still participates in arm wrestling events even at 59.

Work After Retirement

John Brzenk unofficially retired because of his old age and his injury. Later, he was announced as one of the co-hosts for the “Pound for Pound Arm wrestling” YouTube podcast and was joined by the founder, Ryan Bowen. 

John was involved in predicting, giving reviews during the podcast, and providing the fans with general information about the sports.

He beat Khadzimurat Zoloev on February 10, 2022, to reclaim the world’s top ranking in the 225-pound division.

During the fourth installment of the international arm wrestling tournament East vs. West on August 6, 2022, John lost to Kazakhstan arm wrestler Kydrgali Ongarbaev in a right-handed supermatch.

In the same year, on 19 November, Giant Crusher demolished Oleg Petrenko in a right-handed supermatch in a dominant fashion, 3-0.

Becoming Superstar

John Brzenk was a global superstar when he was in his prime. At the time, arm wrestling sports did not have any audience in the United States.

The sport athlete gained worldwide recognition after the movie “Over the Top,” starring Sylvester Stallone. 

John Brzenk
John Brzenk Mountain Biking (Source: Instagram)

It attracted support from the governments of India and Russia. Besides, most of John’s competitions took place in different parts of the Soviet countries.

He became a significant icon in Russia and even had action movies dedicated to him. 

“What’s The Right Strategy For Arm Wrestling? Is It Just All Biceps, Or What?”

According to the arm wrestling champion, grip handle and pulldown cable machine are most productive for results.

In addition, he shares his technique for arm wrestling. John quotes,

“Put your dominant foot forward to lean on; try to bend your opponent’s wrist away from yours. Then, as you push down, pull his hand toward you as if you were curling weight.” 

John Brzenk | Training & Strength Facts

  • In 2006, John stated that he could bench press 315 lb for five reps with a flat bench. 
  • John advised that his secret to exceptional strength was pull-ups. 
  • John was close to closing the Captain of Crush Grippers #3 gripper in his prime. He trained with a gripper between 200 to 240 reps.
  • He trained his bicep with 50 lbs of dumbbells and did wrist curls with the same dumbbells. 

John Brzenk | Marriage, Children, & Grandchildren

Brzenk is known to love his private lifestyle. Thus, he has kept his personal and family life away from the spotlight. 

It is known that the fantastic athlete is married to Renne Brzenk. The couple parent two daughters named Kelli and Megan. 

He is already a proud grandfather to a granddaughter and a grandson.

John’s eldest daughter Megan shared wedding vows with Stephen and gave birth to her son Lincon. 

His younger daughter Kelli also got married to Jade Gray and now has a daughter. 

John Brzenk | Career Records & Highlights

John is one of the most successful arm wrestlers of all time and has won numerous achievements and set records during his career.

Some of the significant titles include:

  • AAA Stand-Up National Titles
  • AWI World Titles
  • Carling O’Keefe International Titles
  • Forsa Tropical International Titles
  • GNC Pro Performance Title
  • GOLDEN BEAR Titles
  • Harley Pull Titles
  • Mike Gould Classic Titles
  • Mohegan Sun PAC World Titles
  • 1986 – Winner of Truckers Division in Heavyweight class
  • Reno Reunion Titles
  • Sands International Wrist Wrestling/Arm-wrestling Titles
  • Sherkston Beaches International Titles
  • SuperStar Showdown Titles
  • Ultimate Arm-wrestling (Las Vegas, UAL) Titles
  • USAA National Pro-Am Titles
  • USAF Unified National Title
  • WAF World Championship Titles
  • World Wristwrestling Championship (Petaluma) Titles
  • Zloty Tur/Nemiroff World Cup Titles

John Brzenk | Net Worth & Earnings

John earned a fortune during his career as a professional arm wrestler. His primary source of income was from arm-wrestling events, which were hosted in different parts of the world. 

Brzenk’s current estimated net worth sits at $5 million.

During his career, John often competed for the highest fee of $80,000.  

Social Media Presence

The arm-wrestling legend has a vast fan following on social media platforms such as Instagram.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by John R Brzenk (@johnbrzenk_)

On the respective platform, he has over 54.4k followers under the username @Johnbrzenk_. 

He posts about his lifestyle, career, and matches.

Popularity Graph 

John Brzenk is a professional arm wrestler from America.

John Brzenk
John Brzenk Popularity Graph (Source: Google)

The above graph shows Brzenk’s popularity over the past twelve months.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Was John arrested for doping?

No, he was not arrested for doping. In fact, he has never been involved in drug abuse or doping. 

Has John Brzenk had surgery?

Yes, the athlete had arthroscopic surgery in 2011. Even after the surgery, he returned stronger than ever. 

Is John Brzenk an animal lover?

Yes, John is known for his emphatic nature and as an animal lover. In many updates from his Instagram, he is seen as friendly with animals.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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