How many reps do you do for a warmup? Usually I don’t count them but typically it’s 10-15 reps and I use more of a pyramid principle My warmup is usually pretty long Is that only the first exercise that you do such a warmup or do you use a pyramid principle with every exercise? Yes, I always use a pyramid principle except those exercises that do not demand a lot of effort The barbell always touches my chest Full range of motion Because in strongman competition we also do lift a barbell or a log from our chests There are strongmen that don’t have flexible shoulder joints so they can’t put a log on their chest and they have to hold all the weight with their hands and that is much much harder. But when you put it down on your chest you don’t have to give that much effort I like full range of motions But if you want to put some muscle you can also work with partial reps I’ve seen you doing squats. You squat pretty wide and deep Yes, I can squat even deeper but my knee doesn’t like it But you squat that wide so you could squat with more weight? Not necessarily I like squatting with wider stance because it’s more convenient for me. More stable Do you stretch before, after or during workout? Usually between sets Do you do stretching on a rest day? I don’t have that many rest days so I incorporate stretching into my workout How many times a week do you workout? 6 days a week It means that you train some body part twice a week Yes. But this time around I train every body part once a week. I just do strongman workout too During those workouts every muscle is working But before that I was training every body part twice a week Do you always hold a bar with a “lock”? Yeah, always, it’s much safer Because during the competitions you can’t risk There were some bad accidents so I don’t want that to happen to me Do you workout with a partner or only by yourself? I use some help training my chest Because my one side is weaker than the other so I prefer so extra help Do you prefer dumbbells or barbells? Both There’s always a barbell in our sport There’s no strongman workout without a barbell At the moment I am in a muscle recovery mode so I do more exercises to get my muscles back But before that I didn’t use any dumbbells Where do you do your strongman lifts? There’s a pretty cold place here in Vilnius Savage-like Did you plan to do only 2 reps? Yes How often do you do that little reps? Well, preparing for a competition it’s the main training style 2-3 reps not more Do you try to do one-rep max or no? Not intentionally. Sometimes I wanna do two reps but do only one For example you have a competition on Saturday. When will your last workout be? On Tuesday, I will have 3 days off Even my last workout will not be as hard as usual All the hard lifts I do 2-3 weeks before a competition To get the most out of competition you have to plan your last workouts because delts recover quicker than legs. Back recovers the longest period of time When you started more like of a bodybuilding does your muscles sore more or less? Something similar. If you do a good workout it’s almost the same There’s almost no difference I suppose doing 2-3 reps is more exhausting to a central nervous system, right? Right. But I got used to that kind of training so I recover pretty good For my CNS to get exhausted I need a very hard workout Will you do some kind of a video clip? Yeah, I believe a bit longer video like 40-50 minutes. You know, we have quite a big community Sport right now is on a trend and people are hungry for the info but not everyone wants to be a bodybuilder. Some prefer fitness or powerlifting or strongman. I try to give people as much info as I can That’s the biggest weight I’ve been lifting since my injury What’s the biggest injury at the moment? I wouldn’t even say it’s an injury There’s just longtime problems that were not solved at the right time I got a small neck injury during the Arnold Classic Then I suffered some chest and back pain. The nerve got stuck My left side muscles got damaged So right now I need to recover my nerves and muscles But can you workout? I have to. That’s the only way to recover Maybe not participate in a competition like I do I even placed second at the Arnold Classic Asia Do your doctors get angry because of that? No. That’s my business But because of that recovery phase you’ve changed your workouts, right? Everyone wants to know how did you manage to lose that much weight and transform? Well I don’t participate in any competitions so why not to get in a better shape? I don’t set new recors so I decided to get in a better shape Because of that my injury so I was ought to change my workouts to recover my muscles I can’t build muscle doing strongman lifts so I need to do less weight more reps and that was the consequence for a better shape and I also changed my diet to get even better results What is your competition weight? At this moment I weight 160kg (350lbs) but my best weight is around 180kg (400lbs) During my recovery I weighted 165kg (364lbs) I lost 15kg (33lbs) that was the biggest transformation of mine at the moment I am putting on lean muscle tissue and I got pretty good results of course that was after that strict diet Right now I put on 10kg (66lbs) of lean muscle and I am very happy about it I am planning to be at the next year’s Arnold Classic weighing in 170-175kg (375-385lbs) and be much leaner that I was before I did that last year actually I was 180kg (400lbs) in 2015 and 2016 but my lean muscle mass difference was quite signifficant This year I’ll try to get even more lean muscle and less fat Let’s hope injuries won’t stop me Doing lateral raises you’re doing partial reps, right? Yes, I am doing in a fashion to grow more muscles so at this kind of range of motion the muscle is fully under tension You don’t have to lift much higher becuase delts don’t work there anymore and a chance of getting injured is much higher than usual DB latteral raises I usually do 10-12 reps But I’m increasing weight with every set Just slightly flex your elbows and that’s not like a raising motion. It’s more of a side retraction Like that Traps shouldn’t work here. At the upper point traps are doing significant part of work And we should work more on a side delt not traps And did you always do this exercise? Yeah, but I was doing it more in a traditional way Full range of motion. Pretty high But building muscle you don’t have to do that There are athletes who do even 1/3 of movement and get much much bigger weight than usual I do it from time to time too Do you count calories or macros only? Well when I was cutting weight I counted carbohydrates but I count carbs when I’m gaining muscle too Talking about protein, I eat it 6-7 times a day with vegetables so I don’t really count my protein. I consume around 600-700g of protein per day Are they plant protein too or meat only? It’s only meat and etc And what about carbs? Right now I eat around 300-400g of carbs a day but when I was cutting weight I was getting 100-150g of carbs per day wow! There were even days when I ate only 50g of carbs What about fats I don’t count them either I eat around 400g (±1lbs) of salmon 1 avocado and around 50g of nuts What I thought was strongmen eat a lot. I thought you eat dumplings like walnuts No. Though there are some strongmen that do eat that much But I don’t need that much. I need around 300g of carbs a day By body works on an energy saving mode I even had more energy when I was cutting weight and that’s pretty strange Does athlete’s own bodyweight have anything to do with the ultimate results during competition? It does but only in some ways There must be only one exercise – it’s truck pull That’s where athlete’s bigger own bodyweight helps him But with better technique and having strong muscles you can get good results too But if you’re 50kg lighter than your opponent – it’s going to be hard to win I believe I am pretty heavy anyway so I think being leaner will do no damage to my upcoming results The last time I was competing on Faroe islands I noticed that I had more stamina being leaner while my competitors got pretty exhausted And what about picking those stones? Does having a bigger belly helps? I wouldn’t say so. Maybe lifting a log it helps but lifting those stones you can probably even get worse results by having a bigger belly But it’s almost always all about the technique Right now I’ve changed my technique lifting those stones It happened naturally because of my body transformation What about the water? Do you drink as much as you want or you have to drink the right amount of water per day? Well athletes always drink less that they actually need As for me I try drinking more When you training to get stronger you have less exercises Because of that pyramid principle so a workout is pretty long but you do only a few exercises and when you build muscle you do more exercises and reps because your rest periods are shorter because you don’t have to lift that much weight That first exercise was for strength so I got pretty tired You’re now 41, right? So how many years do you workout? Yeah. It’s 28 years now that I’ve been working out Did you know you want to be a strongman being 13 y/o or you got it after some time? At the beginning I only wanted to get stronger then I saw Arnie’s poster and I decided that I want to gain some muscle but then you understand that it’s a long process and after some time strongmen competition got to Lithuania so I tried and I liked it. That’s how I became a strongman I did some powerlifting and arm sports too I even stood on a bodybuilding stage once But strongmen became my top priority At the beginning I’ve competed in strongmen and powerlifting I liked the variety of training for both of these types of sport That was pretty interesting But then I became the strongest in the world and there appeared more competitions I had to choose only strongmen Looking at your gym I can suggest that you’re building a gym for yourself at first, am I right? You got here Life Fitness, Hammer Strength We were the first one in Lithuania to get Life Fitness inventory in our gym ir Hammer Strength taip pat You know I always wondered why do people by not the best but inventory to their gyms But after we had the best equipment other gyms followed our initiative but this time around some new gyms buy one of the cheapest equipment again so they can reduce membership price but what’s really interesting is that even professional athletes go to that kind of gyms That cheap equipment has totally inappropriate biomechanics. It does damage to your joints and etc So it’s strange that not only amateurs chose those kind of gyms but professional athletes too I just can’t get it Quality equipment is my No 1 priority for my gyms I personally workout here and I want people to get the best too We even have Life Fitness’ brand new line which is far more superior than the older one Of course there are dumbbells and barbells but the machines are necessary too Speaking of Hammer Strength it’s pretty expensive, right? Yes, it’s very expensive Life Fitness has now been merged with Hammer Strength so they have similar technologies right now but we have a lot of Hammer Strength in our other gym in Vilnius Life Fitness biomechanics are very advanced too so by doing slow reps with right technique your muscles are loaded with appropriate load It’s really a big difference comparing to cheap equipment Let’s do some exercises for posterior delt I use big weight for that exercise Strongmen have to have strong posterior delt for that log lift We need big weight That’s a small range of motion, right? We gotta feel the muscle Yes, we have to feel the muscle here We don’t have to use full range of motion here What about cardio? For a warmup I usually do 10 mins on a bike + I do 30min of cardio 3 times a week Do you have a variety of cardio? Usually it’s bike It’s good for my joints But when I was cutting weight I did 1 hour AM cardio 7 times a week on an empty stomach Was that cardio just for health or other purposes? Yes, definitely for health Heart Being more fit helps during the competitions Do you train biceps and triceps on one day? Yeah, I do delts with arms Getting ready for competitions I train delts and triceps more than any other group Now I train chest and back together I have to recover now I’ve got muscle disbalance now because of the injury That’s why my training routines have changed But in strongmen we can’t say there’s a certain muscle that is not involved in competition. The whole body works, right? Yes. But for example strongmen almost do not train biceps because it is involved in many other exercises Lifting logs, stones and etc But at this period of time I train biceps because of my recovery I even got bigger guns One workout it’s wide and another I prefer narrow grip. I vary What about those elbow pads? Injury prevention? Joints are warmer It’s about that extra warmth + it snugs a little The same is with your knees, right? During the competition I do use knee pads But in the gym squatting I use knee wraps Why do you prefer a rope in this exercise? For the grip purposes? It’s more natural grip with a rope than with a barbell Barbell curls are not that good for our joints We can do dumbbell curls too A rope is not the best option for strength but as I mentioned before at this moment I am recovering my muscles For strength purposes I lift 200kg logs so my biceps hurt days after A rope helps your muscles get that tension Biceps is constantly under the load While barbell or dumbbell can’t offer you that kind of constant load Zydrunas, what feelings did you experienced when you became a World Champion for the first time? Was it happiness, satisfaction or maybe you were even scared? Well I was definitely not scared cause I won so I was happy There’s a scary feeling right before the competition When you’re ambitious and you want to win and you know that if you loose – it means all that training was for nothing And when you do win you realise all that really pays off But that happiness lasts very short. A few moments Then you immediately start think about next year How to get even stronger to win next year’s competition So right after getting that trophy you start thinking about your workouts What about that extra pressure? Do you feel that you kind of have to win? That you just can’t loose That extra pressure is on my shoulders for 15 years I have won Arnold Classic in 2003 for the first time So everyone hopes I win it every year. I managed to do that 8 times now But 2 times I managed to be second and 2 times third So I know what it’s like to loose but I also know what it is like to become a champion You’ve won Arnold 8 times so I suppose Arnold Schwarzenegger is “your guy”, right? He shook my hand many times. I’ve won Arnold Classic Brasil and Europe Those are not my major competitions but still No one has ever won Arnold Classic more than 2 years in a row Only Derek Poundstone and Brian Shaw managed to win Arnold two times At Arnold’s there are always 2-3 guys that compete for the prize But at the World Championship it’s a bit different situation Over there it’s four athletes that are competing for the prize inch by inch We’ll see what’s going to happen at Arnold’s 2017. There a strong new guy from Georgia There are some other new guys and the “old wolves” come back after injuries too I’m going to be back. Vytautas Lalas is almost 100% ready too This movement has to be more like this: Even with dumbbells I do curls a bit differently To maximally feel that muscle When I got muscle atrophy the main problem was with my triceps I lost around 90% of my triceps strength. I managed to lift only 2kg (5lbs) behind my head Meanwhile the right hand was able to lift 30kg (66lbs) Step by step I recover my triceps Triceps is involved in almost every exercise there is Recently I lifted my biggest weight in 6 months period Of course that wasn’t my personal record but still it’s a good result My right hand is still much stronger but I’m getting better This time around is not the best period of your life. But what were the most mentally difficult times for you during your career? Yeah, about 15 years ago I suffered a severe knee injury I was just laying and couldn’t move my legs that time I had no thoughts about sport I just wanted to get well and move like the old times But that wasn’t that hard mentally. I just thought I will never compete But during the rehab I started walking again then I thought I should try competing again The firs competitions were pretty good. Step by step I managed to come back I’ve lost some precious time and wins but I came back. This time my injury is not that bad. I can walk. I workout. The only thing is that I don’t know when and how good I will recover But the whole situation differs from what I experienced 15 years ago Right before that injury I almost had a World title in my hands and after the injury I didn’t even know if I manage to come back at all This time if I don’t fully recover I’ll just call it a career. But I want to finish my career not being injured so those two my major injuries are very different I don’t really know when I’ll recover but I hope that a year after I got injured I will fully recover and I’ll try to become a World Champion once again And that’s it? You want to call it a career with a win, right? No. I don’t talk about my career end now for almost 10 years I just have a plan to come back fully recovered I don’t remember when I started training on my own because I workout for 28 years now I believe after I moved to Vilnius I started training on my own. Without a specific coach But to do you workout with a partner? 90% of my time I workout alone I do strongman on my own It’s very rare when I workout with other strongmen There are no that strong athletes in Vilnius I like working out alone. I can concentrate better Zydrunas, I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity to workout with you I can definitely say that everyone think you’re a Legend. I believe your record won’t be beaten for a long long time As a person as an athlete you are Lithuania’s Legend You’re very calm person. I had no idea what kind of workout we’ll have. I got nothing to say just “thank you” Good luck.