World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis Says “Pressure” Almost Made Him Drop Out of the Arnold

Winning the title of World’s Strongest Man is a dream come true for any powerlifter, but it isn’t without its downsides.

In an exclusive interview with BarBend News, World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis opens up about what he’s faced since winning the title and reveals that the stress and pressure of winning have almost caused him to drop out of numerous competitions. Although he hasn’t actually quit competing, he was candid with the interviewer about how the pressure that comes with the job has impacted his physical performance both positively and negatively.

“There are more eyes on me than ever before, more pressure for me to perform, and more pressure for me to maintain the title. Right now with how my body’s feeling to go along with that pressure, it’s been tough to face that,” Licis shared with the interviewer.

“I feel like everything so far [about being World’s Strongest Man] has been pretty expected. There’s been a greater following, more opportunities, more sponsorships, recognition. I guess one thing that I didn’t expect is that I’m pretty burned out. I really have this deep desire to give my body a rest.”

Licis also shared with the interviewer that he contemplated dropping out ahead of the Arnold 2020 due to the stress of the competition and feeling like he wanted to give his body “a rest” from all the expectations he and other people were placing on it. Ultimately he did not, but expressed a desire to allow himself a full reset before competing in World’s, and said that after World’s he would be “taking a long break” from the sport.

When asked by the interviewer why he continues to train in the face of so much stress and exhaustion, Martins Licis expressed a desire “to be one of the greats.”

“My ultimate goal is to win the World’s, Arnold, and World Ultimate Strongman in Dubai. I think having all three of those titles would make me one of the greats. So that’s actually the ultimate goal. I want all three of those titles,” he said.

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320lb (145kg) stone press for two! FINALLY! – If feels like I’m waking up after a one-month nap. Since competing at Santa Monica, every day’s felt like dragging my legs through quick sand. @probodycoach your methods are madness, but they work. Purposefully pulling me back on carbs and caffeine to reawaken me when the time is right. Just in time, my strength is coming back, but it’s still going to be ONE HELL OF A FIGHT. Through attempting to rehab hamstring and hip pain, and rehabbing damaged nerves in my neck, this has been the most difficult prep leading up to a show I’ve ever had. – @roguefitness @sbd.usa @sbdapparel @kindafitkindafat_apparel @reignbodyfuel @romarkweiss @oddhaugen @probodycoach #SBDApparel #SBDUSA #ROGUE #RogueFitness #KindaFitKindaFat (apparel code: MARTINS!) #NathanPayton #Reign #Strongman #Weightlifting #Powerlifting #BeALegend #MARTINS

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He also opened up about his past experiences as a wrestler and how they’ve contributed to his success as a powerlifter.

“One thing I think that it gives me is more focus. A lot of these guys that are pure power, they rely on that brute strength and they might miss a second here or there in transition. I might not be the strongest but I can transition, let’s say in the stone medley, from one stone to the next very quickly by shuffling my feet and repositioning myself and moving to the next one. That valuable time that I shave off can make a difference. I think MAS wrestling, wrestling in general, and football has helped me with footwork, hand/eye coordination and being able to reposition myself.”

Martins Licis, one of the world’s greatest powerlifters currently competing, clearly has a lot on his mind. It’s always worth hearing from the pros about what their experience at the top is actually like. We wish him luck with his burnout and hope to see him retire with three of the greatest titles soon!


*All images and media courtesy of Instagram.