The strongman world has long awaited the return of 2019 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Martins Licis to competition. Since sustaining injuries from getting hit by a car while riding his bike in September 2020, Licis has not participated in any sanctioned contests. However, he has documented his training, which has been consistent, since recovering from those injuries through the use of stem cells.
Licis is slated to return at the 2021 Rogue Invitational‘s inaugural strongman contest on Oct. 29-31, 2021, in Austin, TX. Not only has Licis shown that he has the strength and technique to compete against the best in the sport, but he is also preparing strategically. On Sept. 29, 2021, Licis shared a video on his YouTube channel wherein he one-motioned a 154.2-kilogram (340-pound) Atlas Stone over a 56-inch bar for five reps in less than a minute. Check it out below, filmed at Licis’ Wreck-It Gym in El Segundo, CA:
[Related: Dylan Miraglia Lifts 37,470.8 Pounds of Atlas Stone in One Hour]
Although the above video is only 56 seconds long and shows Licis lifting the same stone with what appears to be no tacky, it is more suggestive of where his head is at strategically a month out from the 2021 Rogue Invitational. A 154.2-kilogram (340-pound) stone is certainly heavy but, by competition standards, isn’t anything to write home about.
The 10 stones used in the 2021 World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) contest ranged from 110 kilograms (242.5 pounds) to 200 kilograms (440.1 pounds). During the Stone Off at the end of the Qualifying stage of the 2021 WSM contest, the six stones used ranged from 140.6 kilograms (310 pounds) to 210.9 kilograms (465 pounds). So Licis’ 154.2-kilogram (340-pound) reps were on the lighter end of weights used in recent elite contests.
One Motioning and Atlas Stone
What matters in Licis’s Atlas Stone training session is less so the weight lifted and more so the technique used. Licis one-motioned the stone from the floor over the bar. One-motion meaning he skipped the portion of the lift where strongmen usually lap the stone to regrip before extending their hips to hoist the stone.
One-motioning is difficult to near-impossible at a certain weight, but for the first few stones of an event, one-motioning could be the difference between winning and losing a heat. Take for example the final Atlas Stone heat at the 2021 WSM contest between the competition’s champion Tom Stoltman and four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw.
Heading into their face-off in the Atlas Stones, Stoltman and Shaw both knew that whoever beat the other in their heat would walk away as the 2021 WSM. Stoltman’s well-known forte is the Atlas Stones — he holds the current world record of 286 kilograms (630.5 pounds). However, it was not his ability to lift heavy that enabled him to best Shaw — it was his choice to one-motion the first three of five stones. He won the event with a time of 20.21 seconds versus Shaw’s third-place 31.45 seconds.
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Licis’ working on his one-motion in training might suggest he thinks the deciding factor for who wins the 2021 Rogue Invitational is who is fastest in the Atlas Stone event. Considering how stacked the roster is, not to mention how competitive the top of the field has been at recent events like the 2021 Strongman Classic, the Giant’s Live World Open, the Giant’s Live World Tour Finals, and the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) contest, all the non-Atlas-Stone events at the 2021 Rogue Invitational could simply be the buy-in for Atlas Stones.
The strongman event list for the 2021 Rogue Invitational has not yet been announced at the time of this article’s publication.
2021 Rogue Invitational — Strongman
If the suspicion of Licis’ potential strategic hunch is correct, what a called shot it would be. The 2021 Rogue Invitational is on pace to have the largest prize purse of any strongman contest ever as Rogue is paying out in cash, Bitcoin, and a percentage of ticket sales. The current prize purse is:
Strongman Prize Purse
Note: these prizes are subject to change as more tickets to the event are sold. The numbers below are the prize money and its percentage of the total prize pool.
- $119,086 | 8.97 percent
- $59,477 | 4.48 percent
- $35,713 | 2.69 percent
- $11,948 | 0.9 percent
- $9,559 | 0.72 percent
- $8,364 | 0.63 percent
- $7,169 | 0.54 percent
- $5,974 | 0.45 percent
- $4,779 | 0.36 percent
- $3,585 | 0.27 percent
Licis will be one of 10 strongmen competing at the 2021 Rogue Invitational. Notably, the 2021 Rogue Invitational marks the second contest back for Mateusz Kieliszkowski after recovering from a triceps injury. He recently placed second at the 2021 WUS. Additionally, former American log lift record holder Rob Kearney will return after hiatus due to a ruptured triceps tendon.
- Brian Shaw
- Tom Stoltman
- Luke Stoltman
- Martins Licis
- Mateusz Kieliszkowski
- Robert Kearney
- JF Caron
- Mikhail Shivlyakov
- Jerry Pritchett
- Oleksii Novikov
Come Halloween 2021, we’ll see if Licis’ training with 2020 WSM champion Oleskii Novikov, 2018 WSM champion Hafthor Björnsson, rapper Action Bronson combined with refining his one-motion in the stones will bank him yet another gold-medal finish.
Featured image: @martinslicis on Instagram