Martins Licis Assesses His New Training Approach in Interview With Laurence Shahlaei

The 2019 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Martin Licis last competed as an Individual at the 2022 Rogue Strongman Invitational, where he placed fourth. Following the contest, Licis took time off from competitive strongman to allow his body recovery time. 

During the hiatus, Licis started a YouTube series called Strength Unknown, where he traveled to different parts of the world to explore and document strength’s influence on cultures.

On Feb. 19, 2024, former Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) Laurence Shahlaei published a video on his YouTube channel wherein he interviewed Licis about Licis’ return to the competitive scene at the 2024 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC), scheduled for March 1-2, in Columbus, OH, after taking a year off. The conversation delved into Licis’ new training strategies and goals for the 2024 season. Check it out below:

“After the 2022 Rogue Strongman Invitational, my body was hurting,” said Licis. The Latvian-American strongman was in excruciating pain after each event, particularly in the hips and shoulders, prompting him to consider retirement from the sport. 

During the break, Licis took up jiu-jitsu, which helped improve his mobility and overall fitness. He lowered his training intensity and volume in prep for the 2024 ASC to prioritize conditioning and work capacity through jiu-jitsu and running

Licis’ new training approach involves lifting heavy once a month and concentrating on skill-oriented training in the other sessions. This strategy has propelled Licis to a strength comparable to his 2018 peak.

I can’t recover like I used to,” Licis told Shahlaei, believing new strength levels can be achieved via this new training split.

In many ways, I feel stronger than I used to be. But I’ve also developed weaknesses I didn’t use to have.

Licis’ shoulders aren’t as mobile as they once were, restricting his ability to use split jerks for locking out implements overhead. “My shoulders are much stronger than they used to be, but I’m moving differently,” Licis said.

Licis refined his stone lifting technique while filming his Strength Unknown series. He intends to leverage his new skills during the stone medley event at the 2024 ASC. 

The 33-year-old deadlifted 425 kilograms (937 pounds) in prep for the 2024 ASC, his heaviest in training. Licis aims to hoist over 1,000 pounds on the Elephant bar in Columbus, OH. Licis’ personal best on the Elephant bar is 970 pounds.

Licis believes an athlete must exceed reps with the Apollon Wheels to win the event. He is nervous about this event since he can no longer split-jerk the axle. Licis will use the push press technique to lock out the bar overhead. 

Licis’ dedication to evolving his training reflects a broader trend among elite strongman competitors, who increasingly recognize the importance of adaptability, recovery, and strategic planning in achieving longevity in the sport. 

Anticipation for the 2024 ASC is sky-high as two former WSM and ASC champs, Licis and Hafþór Björnsson, return to competitive strongman. Former WSM champs Oleksii Novikov and Tom Stoltman will also compete in Columbus to dethrone reigning ASC champion Mitchell Hooper for the coveted Louis Cyr trophy.

After the 2024 ASC, Licis intends to compete at the 2024 WSM and 2024 Rogue Strongman Invitational contests.

Featured image: @martinslicis on Instagram

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