Martins Licis Talks 2021 Competition Plans and His Strongman Future (Podcast)

Today we’re talking to an athlete who probably needs little introduction: Martins Licis, the 2019 World’s Strongest Man and one of the strength world’s most charismatic athletes. We don’t want to say too much more, but a quick preview: we discuss coming back from injury, when Martins plans to compete again, how long he thinks his strongman career will last, what it was like filming a GEICO commercial, setting Steinborn squat world records, and much, much more. We even came up with a new strongman event during this recording, so you don’t want to miss out.

Martins Licis BarBend Podcast

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Martins Licis about:

  • Martins as he recovers from injury and stem cell procedures (01:55)
  • His future as a media personality? (04:05)
  • Martins’ process of training squats and breaking Steinborn world records (07:30)
  • “Strongman is mostly work capacity” (10:38)
  • Martins’ recent weight loss after a stem cell procedure (13:00)
  • The strangest strongman events through history (FYI, Martins has hung off a pull-up bar for 50 seconds with ONE hand) (16:00)
  • Bringing the kettlebell clean & press to strongman? (18:30)
  • His strongman nemesis (and great friend) (27:10)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I feel like a strongman can push that kettlebell clean and press to another level. I got that inspiration when I was training with Action Bronson in New York City this last week. He was destroying me, frankly, because I don’t train kettlebells. He’s a cardio monster. We just went 20 minutes straight just doing kettlebell cleans and push-ups. I almost puked. It was horrendous.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to “The BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao. This podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today I’m talking to an athlete who probably needs little introduction, Martins Licis, the 2019 World’s Strongest Man and one of the strength world’s most charismatic athletes. I don’t want to say too much more, but a quick preview of today’s episode.

 

We discussed coming back from injury, when Martins plans to compete again, how long he thinks his strongman career will last. What it was like filming a GEICO commercial, setting Steinborn Squat world records, and much, much more. We even came up with a new strongman event during this recording, so you don’t want to miss out.

 

I do want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice. Now let’s get to it.

 

Thanks so much for joining us today. This is the first time we’ve ever recorded with you, and it’s a real pleasure. I got to ask, how are you feeling? I know you were down in Colombia recently getting a little bit of recovery work done. How’s the body?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I am feeling pretty darn good. It’s so difficult to determine how well the stem cells are working. Usually what I gauge my pain level at is how my body feels after the [inaudible 2:08] , but certain things have gotten noticeably smoother. My pistol squats used to be excruciating, and they are significantly less painful.

David TaoDavid Tao

How often are you training pistol squats? I don’t talk to a lot of 300-plus pound athletes who are regularly training pistol squats. Where does that fall in your routine?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

In one form or another, I don’t always do full pistol squats. If I do full pistol squats, I suppose to once a week. I do other stability exercises that very much to help promote my pistol squat abilities such as, touchdown squats, hip airplanes, hip mobilizations.

 

A lot of stuff that I’ve gotten from Aaron Horschig from Squat University. He’s helped me out significantly with just building up the stability and mobility of my hips and ankles and developing a deeper understanding on how to create strong functional hips and legs in general.

David TaoDavid Tao

Aaron is a friend of the podcast we’ve had him on. He’s written for the site. He is just about the best person you can go to if you’re trying to…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I love him. He’s the man.

David TaoDavid Tao

 I asked how the body’s feeling, how is the mind? What’s your mental state right now heading into a new competition season? How are you feeling there?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I feel excited. I’m just so excited to get back in the game. I’m nervous because once I start lifting heavy I hope I continue feeling as great as I feel now.

 

There is this conundrum where I’m like, “I feel so good. What if I didn’t compete again? I could just go on feeling great.” Of course, that call to take on gravity and be one of the best, it’s overwhelming, and I need to go back and compete.

David TaoDavid Tao

You were at World’s Strongest Man in November last year. We were working with World’s Strongest Man some media coverage, and you were a media personality. You were doing commentary, interviews, stealing people’s protein shakes, just messing up the whole thing. No, I’m absolutely kidding.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

You’re giving me ideas. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m giving you ideas for prankstimple. I wouldn’t want to pull a prank on any of these competitors, but you are more than welcome and you’re probably faster than a lot of the guys, so you could just go away.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I don’t know.

David TaoDavid Tao

What was it like being at the competition and not being a competitor? I mean, as the reigning champion you took some time off for injury and to recover, but be more on the media side. Is that something we might see you do after your competition career is over?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I would love to be more on the media side than the strongman because my ultimate goal in strongman is to help grow the sport. I love being the best. Of course, I want to be on the top of the game, but nothing would bring me more joy than knowing that I played a big role in helping the sport grow.

David TaoDavid Tao

Where do you think the sport has the most potential to grow as far as demographics, locations, things like that?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

UK does the shows really well, like the Giants Live series there with those enormous crowds and the arenas. I think that’s the way we need to go. We need to do that in the rest of the world.

 

United States needs to get over doing these competitions in parking lots and actually put some money into advertising and putting this in arenas and making this like a real show, like the way they do it in the UK.

David TaoDavid Tao

The UK is…I mean, I’ve never been to one of the arena shows there, but always — obviously, in a pre-COVID time — seeing the videos from it. It’s super, super exciting. Obviously, the best way to get a crowd is to advertise a record attempt.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Yeah. Oh, I love that. Yeah, that’s true. That’s tough because…I’ve seen a lot of shows keep trying to do this. They keep seeing between Arnold’s and World’s and Dubai. Everyone is trying to push these records. That’s tough for us.

 

We, athletes, need a break from that because if every single three or four months, we’re trying to push our bodies to a world record, it definitely shortens our careers. We’ve got to find a balance here.

David TaoDavid Tao

OK. I’ve got to talk about…I made a note to talk about this. My favorite record in all of strength sports — it’s one you hold — it’s the Steinborn squat.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Oh, thank you.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s probably the only legitimate lift. It’s the only legitimate test of strength, let’s be honest. Everything else is just poppycock.

 

I’m only half-joking. Tell us a little bit about how you started training in that lift.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Well, the thing is, I was already training in such a way that to take on the Steinborn was very easy. A lot of my training for my squats has never been to push the maximum amount of weight. Frankly, I’ve never done a one-rep max squat in my training nor in competition. I never see it in competition.

 

I train squats to supplement my strongman abilities. I usually train squats to a point where I do a lot of pauses and as deep of a hole as I can. Then I try to explode out of that pause, or I do high repetitions to work my work capacity. I do a lot of pistol squats and stability work.

 

When I was offered the opportunity to bring the Steinborn back, the event was explained to me. Immediately, I put it together in my head. I’m like, “Oh, that should be no problem.” I could see the biomechanics of it. I looked it up online, saw how it was done. There were no real videos of it, good videos of it at the time.

David TaoDavid Tao

They didn’t have iPhones back in 1917.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Exactly. I just saw some pictures, and I immediately just thought, “OK, this is basically just like getting into the deepest hole of a squat, having my thigh support me so my back is supported, and then just rocking your weight over and then just exploding out of essentially what’s a pause squat.”

 

I also trained raw with no equipment frequently in off-season. Of course, when it comes down to competition, I’d throw on my SBD gear, SBD sleeves. That helps me get the heaviest lifts. Off-season, I train with no gear so I could get the most range on my motion.

 

I challenge myself as much as I can to see what my body can do on its own. The Steinborn is best done with very limited equipment. The more equipment you have, the stiffer you are, the harder it is to get in those positions. With Steinborn, I had no belts and maybe knee sleeves at most.

David TaoDavid Tao

Here’s the question. Does the Steinborn squat if you don’t yell, “Steinborn” at the end of it?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Personally, I think you should be able to hold up that barbell long enough to yell that out for it to count because that shows control of the bar. It shows dominance.

David TaoDavid Tao

If I were the ref, I wouldn’t give you the down signal until I heard a loud and exuberant…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

The full Steinborn. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

You have to just scream it at the top of your lungs.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

That’s right.

David TaoDavid Tao

You talked a little bit about your training and some of the emphasis you’re working on now. How do you think your training differs? Look, everyone is different, right? This isn’t to say, “You train this way,” and literally everyone else trains the same but different. How might your training differ from what we see from a lot of other top open-category Strongman competitors?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I’d say about 70 percent of my training is focused on heavy work capacity and control. I like to be able to maximize my technique, and ability to control my body to keep my spine neutral regardless of how exhausted I am.

 

That way, when push comes to shove in a competition…when I’m really just running low on steam…I know that I trained, exhausted…I was trained with good technique…exhausted, so I could still squeeze out those extra repetitions when necessary because truth be told, Strongman is mostly work capacity. A lot of events will have a one rep max, but 80 percent of the competition is still work capacity.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you were not in Strongman, what might be a different strength sport you’d want to take up? It could be everything from CrossFit, weightlifting, powerlifting, arm wrestling…Whatever it is.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Frankly, this might not answer your question, but I would love to do fighting, jiu jitsu or MMA. If it had to be lifting, it’d be Olympic lifting, weightlifting…because there’s a beauty to that sport, but it’s no Strongman. To me, weightlifting is accessories at most.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk about that. For fighting, MMA, jiu jitsu…Is that something…I know it’s something…you do grappling…I know it’s something you’ve explored. Is that something that you think you’d like to…Do you have any plans to explore that in a competitive sense?

 

Martins LicisMartins Licis

My plan is after Strongman to start training it. Seeing how far I could push it. If I get competitive, that’d be amazing. Is it my absolute goal and center focus? No.

David TaoDavid Tao

 Let’s talk about the length of a Strongman career. We’ve seen people have very short careers, we’ve seen people have very, very, very long careers. Obviously in strength sports, we all deal with injury. What do you think is a reasonable goal for you as far as the length of your…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

That is so difficult to say now. If these stem cells work, I want to compete until I’m 33 or 35. Otherwise, I might just do one to two more years and call it.

David TaoDavid Tao

To give folks a reference point, how old are you as of the day of this recording?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

 I’m 30. I’m going to go three to five more years. If I’m hurting, it might be one to two more years.

David TaoDavid Tao

How does this…What are you excited about this season? Obviously, there are the big name competitions, but can you tell us anything about your plans for how many times you plan to compete in 2021? What you’re hoping to peek for? Anything like that?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

In 2021…Well, because I just got the stem cell therapy done, I’m not allowed to train heavy for three months after I eat a very minimal diet for three months. I’ve lost already like 40 something pounds…

David TaoDavid Tao

Oh, wow.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Because of my dietary restrictions to allow my stem cell’s maximum effect…

David TaoDavid Tao

Your beard looks very strong though, looking at this virtual recording. I couldn’t tell. You’re very imposing.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

[laughs] It’s finally coming together. I’m 308 pounds when I was competing at the world of 355. I’m not going to compete World’s because it’s too soon. That’ll be in June. I won’t be able to prepare for it. My plan is to return to World’s next year, but this year I’m putting all my focus in on the Arnold Classic and the Rogue Invitational.

 

The Rogue Invitational I’m very excited about…I think Rogue could really make the sport grow. I have a lot of hope for them. They tend to do things right. I love the owners. I love what their [inaudible 14:06] is, what they stand for. I’m going to be…I would love to be the first winner of the Rogue Invitational.

David TaoDavid Tao

What kind of body weight do you think you’ll be aiming for at Arnold’s and Rogue?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I might be a little bit lighter because… [inaudible 14:26] more efficient. I’m going to be aiming for 330 to 350 pounds. We’ll see. I’m going to try to eat clean, and train hard of course and see what weight I’ll end up at. I don’t want to puff up too much because I remember being a heavier weight. My pressing was better. However, my deadlifts actually got more difficult at a heavier weight.

David TaoDavid Tao

Do you think that’s just because of your center of your mass mobility maybe?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

It simply was because my gut made it more difficult to keep my back neutral. [laughs] All the way down grabbing the bar.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

 We see that in powerlifting. We see a lot of the biggest pools in powerlifting coming from…not the super heavyweights, but a weight class or even below because that biomechanically…that they’re able to navigate their midsection with the bar. Also, their hands are leaner, and they’re actually able to get a better grip on the barbell. Obviously in Strongman, it’s not as much of an issue because you use straps.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

We should grip because it’s so important to that. That is one thing I felt was difficult when I was heavier. I have always had a very strong grip. Even when I was super heavy, but I did feel that when I was at my heaviest, my grip did go a bit.

David TaoDavid Tao

Interesting. It reminds me of the old…we’re talking decades back…The World’s Strongest Man event where they had competitors literally just hang from a bar over a pool of water. I don’t know if you’ve ever…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

That’s epic. Wow.

David TaoDavid Tao

I don’t know. I think it was late ’90s or early 2000s. I forget what year they literally had the competitors. Phil Pfister, and all these guys literally just hanging from a bar.

 

It was two competitors will start at the same time and whoever fell of off the bar, lost the head…Whoever came off the bar first lost the head-to-head. If they reintroduce that event…and I’m not saying I endorse that. If they reintroduce that event, who do you think is the open category Strongman to beat?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I think it wouldn’t be me because I incorporate hangs in my training constantly. One of my best hangs with one hand, weighing 340 pounds was over 50 seconds.

David TaoDavid Tao

Holy cow.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Just hanging off one hand.

David TaoDavid Tao

Wait, did you do the…you didn’t try the Rogue cliffhanger challenge where they just had everyone…see how long we can hang off a bar. Did you try that one?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

 I never did. No.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think the guy who won was a British climber. He hung on for 21 minutes. I mean, it was something that…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I did see that video. That’s incredible. I couldn’t do that. There’s no chance.

David TaoDavid Tao

 He had fingers the size of bananas. The guy just like…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

It was just unreal. I saw that video. Holy crap. Incredible.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s one kind of esoteric Strongman event we haven’t seen in a while. I kind of get why…

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I think that one would be unfair because…then it’s not about who was the strongest…it’s about who has the strongest hands relative to their body weight.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

That would probably be…What you’re saying is that probably be you.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I still put my money on me.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] What are some other Strongman events that maybe we haven’t seen in a while or we see less frequently? Obviously, the sport varies a lot. You could be loading stones one day, loading car parts the next, pressing a log one day, Viking press the next…What are some other esoteric or less often seen events you would like to see tested at some competition soon?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

One I would love to see would be the heavy kettlebell clean and press.

David TaoDavid Tao

Oh, that’d be great.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I don’t know what’s possible with that. I feel like a strongman can push that kettlebell clean and press to another level. I got that inspiration when I was training with Action Bronson in New York City this last week. He was destroying me, frankly, because I don’t train kettlebells. He’s a cardio monster.

 

We just went 20 minutes straight just doing kettlebell cleans and push-ups. I almost puked. It was horrendous. It did make me think. What’s possible? How heavy of a kettlebell can be cleaned with one hand and pressed with one hand?

David TaoDavid Tao

I dig that. I train in kettlebell sport. I dig anything when someone from another sport’s like, “Oh, maybe we could play around with kettlebells.”

 

The bent press used to be an old-timey strongman event that you would see. That’s probably one of the first uses of heavy kettlebells a lot of people will look at in looking through history. What do you think we could see? They make kettlebells up to at least 110 kilos, I’ve seen.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I would imagine we could probably get close to 140, maybe even 150 kg kettlebell. That would require some specialization, a lot of training, and some special kettlebells being made to be trained with.

David TaoDavid Tao

You know a few equipment companies who can help you out.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

For sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

 I’d like to see the heaviest kettlebell swing, where there’s a predetermined height relative to your torso you have to get it to. Or you have to get it to nipple height or something, and they have some way to measure that.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

That would be interesting. They could measure it by setting up, let’s say, a stick. If you hit that stick, it gets pushed off. That stick is set to a certain height relative to your body.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’d be like a vertical jump test but with the kettlebell. Where could you hit that kettlebell?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

That’s a great idea. I’m going to start pitching it, and I’m going to let them know it was your idea.

David TaoDavid Tao

You got to train it for a few months and then pitch it, so you know you’re very good at it.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I think I’ll be good. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

You’ll be good to go. First off, next time you’re in New York City, give us a shout because we’d love to host you, take you out for a meal, and swing some kettlebells with you. Tell us about training with Action Bronson. He’s a huge Strongman fan. How did you all link up?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

He put out this, what was it called, “Latin Grammys” music video, where he basically implants almost like a Snapchat photo, but then, of course, with a lot more editing. They took his face and put it on Magnus Ver Magnusson’s body, for the most part, competing at World’s Strongest Man.

 

He was rapping as he was competing in the World’s Strongest Man, and Romark and I loved it. We messaged him on Instagram, told him that we want to train together, go out to New York and try out some food, do some surfing videos, lift together. He said, “Hell yeah, brother.”

 

The next thing we know, we’re out in New York hanging out with Action Bronson, eating delicious food. I got to surf for the first time in my life in the world’s only indoor wave pool.

 

I got to stand up on a surfboard on my first day. It was cool. I saw Action surf, and he was a monster at that, too. Goodness, that was a trip of a lifetime, best experience in New York.

David TaoDavid Tao

 First off, I’m surprised. I have this image of you as this West Coast guy. I’m surprised you’ve never been on a surfboard before. That’s the most shocking thing I’m going to take away from this conversation.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

[laughs] I want to now. Now that I got to try it and see how fun it is, I’m going to look for some surfboards right away because I’m going to make that part of my life.

David TaoDavid Tao

Which is more challenging, slacklining or surfboarding for you right now?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

It depends. I would say surfing. The thing is with slacklining, it took me three to five hours to be able to get some decent steps in on the slackline. With a surfboard, on my third try getting pushed in the wave, I was able to stand on it.

 

In that sense, surfing was easier, but I also used an enormous board, which made it easier. I had someone help push me onto the wave. I’m pretty sure if I was out on the ocean and had to time everything, try to catch the wave, that would be brutally difficult.

David TaoDavid Tao

Have you seen the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I have not.

David TaoDavid Tao

There’s a scene where Paul Rudd plays a surfing instructor.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Great.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s great. If anyone’s listening to this podcast that’s seen it, you know what I’m talking about.

 

One thing that we wrote about recently that I know a lot of strength sports fans were really excited to see was you in a GEICO commercial.

 

Obviously, GEICO is famous for their commercials. They have been for years. Seeing your face in a GEICO commercial on television definitely stuck out to me. I remember emailing the BarBend editorial team, like, “Guys, we got to write on this. Wow, this is right up our alley.” How did that happen?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Romark, he’s my right-hand man. He’s been helping with everything. Let me ask him. Romark, could I ask you, how did we get the GEICO? How’d that happen?

 

It was the agency. They hit me up.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

The agency just hit you up?

My friend at the agency hit me up, and I went from there.

David TaoDavid Tao

When did you film that?

I can’t hear you.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

 When was it filmed? That was in December.

 December, yeah.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

We filmed the GEICO commercial in December. That was such a fun filming experience, too. It was a 10-minute drive from us.

We could have ridden our bikes there.

We could have ridden our bikes there. The place we filmed, it was a place I regularly ride my bike to.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Did they ask for your input in blocking it or how you might move and implement, or did they just tell you what to do?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Several days before, I got together with the guys that were in charge of putting all that together, the events, took the recycling canisters and they were smashing the boxes.

 

I was working with the guys directly in trying to figure out how to make that as realistic as possible, practicing because then we had a pulley system. They wanted me to do this for real. I said, “Look, I could do that, but you get one shot.”

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] Then we’re done after that.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

I’m not doing it again. If you want to do that for real, if you want me to pick these up, we’re doing that once. The guys looked at each other like, “Oh, OK, well, then we got to figure something out.” Then they came up with this pulley system, and we practiced our timing, my smashes, to make them look as real as possible with the pulleys.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s the only fake lifting or smashing you’ll ever do. Everything else is 100 percent real.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

They also wanted me to lift a rock originally. I was like, “One shot, you get one shot, [laughs] maybe three, at most.” They came up with a rock also that was just under 100 pounds, but it was big, that I could lift over and over.

David TaoDavid Tao

Like a Hollywood boulder, it’s made up of plaster or something.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Exactly. It was a 13-hour day of reshooting these, to give you an idea of why it had to be fake.

 

I originally did another commercial a while ago with Hefty, where I was pulling an airplane. There, what they did was they used computer graphics to implant over a SUV. There, I legitimately did pull this SUV over and over again. I thought it would be easy, no problem. Because of how many times we had to reshoot that, I didn’t train my legs for two weeks after that.

David TaoDavid Tao

Wow, that’s a big session.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

 

[laughs] It was a great leg workout. It taught me, even if the things are light, if you’re there 13 hours doing a very light motion over and over again, you’re going to feel it.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s back to that work capacity. It’s important in Strongman competition, important in filming.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

 

It’s important in commercials.

David TaoDavid Tao

I got to ask. Do you have any predictions for this year’s World’s Strongest Man competition? I know your predictions for the Rogue Invitational. Are you at the top of the podium? Otherwise, why would you be competing? You’re a competitor. World’s Strongest Man, you won’t be competing, who do you think is looking really good?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Novikov is looking really good. He’s young. He’s at the top of his game right now. He’s going to be the guy to beat. Mateusz, if he’s healing well from his tricep tear, I think Mateusz will win.

 

I’m cheering for Mateusz because he’s been working so hard for so long and wants it so bad. He deserves it. He’s one of the strongest guys I ever competed against, one of the most talented strongmen.

 

He is my nemesis. I freaking hate him, and I love him. I’m cheering for him, or JF Caron. JF Caron’s also been in the game for so long. He’s always up at the top level but hasn’t quite made it over that hump to take first. If JF fixes some of his deficiencies, he could easily win, but he needs that drive.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you’re familiar with the sport of Strongman, he’s been around for a long time. He spent years and years busting his ass to get that podium finish. It’s not like he showed up out of nowhere.

 

A lot of folks, they assume, just looking at the podium finishes on Wikipedia, that you have overnight success in this sport. A lot of these folks have been grinding for absolute years. You’re an example of that.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

JF, exactly what you said, he’s been working for so long. He’s always been in the top tier. He keeps getting stronger. Even though he’s in his late 30s now, he keeps getting stronger, and he’s consistent. I’ve never seen such a strongman be so consistently strong.

David TaoDavid Tao

Excellent. Who do you think is the most underrated strongman currently?

Martins LicisMartins Licis

That’s tough to say.

David TaoDavid Tao

Or, I guess, uncelebrated.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

Trey Mitchell, berserkerlifter, he’s one of the strongest guys I know. He lacks a little bit of focus, in my opinion. He could be easily on the podium, but he makes silly choices sometimes to show off.

 

Like the last World’s, he did squat for reps, 700 pound squat. He didn’t wear a suit. He had minimal equipment, and he won it. I told him, “Why didn’t you put on equipment?” He said, “I didn’t need it. I still won it.” I’m like, “How much effort did you cost you in the next event and the next event after that.”

 

Lo and behold, he didn’t do that great in the rest of the competition. Some of these guys are so talented, but they don’t have the mind.

David TaoDavid Tao

You can win the battle but still lose the war. Over the course of a multi-day competition, it’s very much the case.

Martins LicisMartins Licis

 

Exactly. It’s the same thing with Tom. Tom is physically one of the most capable specimens. I personally think he lacks the focus and the mind to truly win. He might win. Once he really learns what it takes to win, he will win, I think. If he keeps making dumb choices, not so much.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Where is the best place for folks to follow along with you, your training, and everything else as the competition season ramps up for you a little later this year?