Martins Licis Adds Zombie Squats to His World’s Strongest Man Plan

This unique movement may help you, too.

The 2019 World’s Strongest Man winner Martins Licis is now in full prep mode to defend his title. He also has been going through rehabilitation to recover from a variety of injuries. Those injuries have been a result of competitions as well as a recent bike accident involving a vehicle.

The “King Dragon” has been working with Squat University as well as doing exercises on his own to get himself back into training shape. In a recent YouTube video, Licis shared one of those exercises – the “Zombie Squat”.

This movement is a modified version of the front squat. Instead of the arms being bent to hold the bar with the hands, Licis is doing them with his arms straight out in front of him. The position is similar to how zombies are portrayed to be walking in different horror movies. The bar is resting on the front of the shoulders independently, which means he has to focus on stabilization and balance while performing the exercise. Front squat variations also place more emphasis on the quadriceps.

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A few weeks ago I got hit by a car while riding my bike. Got stitches in my left elbow, hurt my left shoulder and bruised my tailbone. Luckily, no fractures or broken bones! – Oddly enough, light-ish, paused, zombie squats are the only squats that don’t hurt excruciatingly right now. So here’s the heaviest weight I’ve lifted in a few weeks! 407lb (185kg) smooth, briefly paused, zombie squats. Followed by the first set of farmers I’ve been able to do in a month. 😎 – Always great to workout with my great buddy and brother for life @jacobfinerty to fire me up! @reignbodyfuel @roguefitness @sbd.usa @sbdapparel @barbellapparel @romarkweiss @oddhaugen @probodycoach @henrypenzi #SBDApparel #SBDUSA #ROGUE #RogueFitness #BarbellApparel #NathanPayton #Reign #Strongman #Weightlifting #Powerlifting #BeALegend #MARTINS

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Licis explains how he is using this unique movement as a part of his training in the video.

“I’m doing high frequency. Not heavy, not even too much volume, but a higher frequency to make up for pulling back on volume and intensity. It’s simply because my tailbone hurts, but frequency is very good and max range of motion.”

When Licis performs the exercise, he keeps his arms slightly above parallel to the floor. Once he feels stable, his hands are around shoulder-width apart while he’s in motion. He eventually works up to a top weight of 160 kg (352 pounds) and performs three reps with that weight. Licis was proud of that set but said it wasn’t his heaviest.

“I’ve done 405 for a triple, but keeping it light because today is not a dominant leg day. (I) Just want to focus on my back and pulling motions, but I just want to keep those squats fresh.”

The reigning WSM champion went on to do deadlifts and bent-over rows in the video after completing the squats.
Licis is training in hopes of repeating as World’s Strongest Man later this year.

Thanks to the recent retirement of Hafthor Bjornsson, Licis is now considered a favorite going into the event. His toughest competition will likely be from four-time WSM winner Brian Shaw and 2019 World’s Ultimate Strongman Champion Mateusz Kieliszkowski. Kieliszkowski finished ahead of Licis in their last matchup. Kieliszkowski finished in second place at the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic to Bjornsson. Licis finished in third place. A number of other competitors — including the Stoltman brothers of Scotland — could make legitimate runs at the title. 

Featured Image: Instagram/martinslicis