Video: Zydrunas Savickas Talks Diet, Partial Reps, and Why He Loves the Smith Machine

Strongman fans, rejoice! Zydrunas Savickas has appeared in a lengthy interview in which he discusses a tremendous variety of aspects related to his training, and luckily for us, it’s been translated into English. Take a look at the video below, which was filmed in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius.

Hailing from Lithuania, Big Z is one of the biggest names in strongman, with his main rivals being Brian Shaw and frenemy Hafthor Bjornsson. Bjornsson may be better known outside of the world of strongman and Brian Shaw is rapidly accumulating titles, but Big Z has a serious resume: he has won the World’s Strongest Man four times and Lithuania’s Strongest Man eleven times, and he’s a two-time IFSA Strongman World Champion, eight-time Arnold Strongman Classic winner, three-time Europe’s Strongest Man, and four-time World Log Lift Champion.

Some highlights from the clip: he condones partial reps for extra muscle, when training for a competition his regime revolves around two-rep sets, and he’s a surprisingly big fan of the Smith machine.

“It’s much safer,” he says, “because during the competitions, you can’t risk… there were some bad accidents, so I don’t want that to happen to me.”

That said, he wasn’t using the Smith machine when he was squatting 340kg (749.5lb) for 5×5 last month, so it’s clear he like some variety in his training.

Sadly, Big Z announced earlier this week that he won’t be participating in this year’s Arnold Classic. While performing a 710kg (1565.3lb) yoke walk, the yoke squeezed his nerves and disconnected his deltoid muscle. We’ll have to wait a little longer for a face-off between Big Z and Brian Shaw.

For now, we wish all the best to Savickas and hope for a speedy recovery.

Featured image via Zizas on YouTube.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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