With a few words of encouragement from his uncle, a 13-year-old Žydrūnas Savickas started hoisting weight in the dingy and sparse gyms scattered throughout his native Lithuania. Just nine years later, in 1998, “Big Z” won Lithuania’s Strongest Man competition - a show he would conquer 11 more times.
Eventually he graduated to a grander stage, capturing eight Arnold Strongman Classic titles before peaking in 2009 when he won his first World’s Strongest Man Contest. He’d go on to win three more (2010, 2012, 2014), becoming known as the best presser ever. in the process, with a world log press record of 502 pounds.
Now, at 43 years old, Savickas has slowed down, passing the torch to younger competitors, such as the 30-year-old 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic winner, Hafthór Björnsson and the 2019 World’s Strongest Man winner, Martins Licis, 28.
The thing is, “slowing down,” is a relative term for Savickas. “I want to continue to compete, and I’m looking to break my all-time log press record,” he says. Savickas explains how he has shifted his training as the birthdays continue to add up.
People assume that I completely changed how I do things now that I’m in my 40's. But actually my training routine is very similar. I find that I may need a little more rest and recovery and I am in tune enough with my body to determine how much work I need for each training session.