Popularly called “Big Z” during his profession, Žydrūnas Savickas is a powerlifter and competitive strongman. He is a Lithuanian and the exclusive to won all the latest strongman competitions. The man has conquered the World’s Strongest Man competition four years viz; 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. Žydrūnas Savickas also declared triumph eight times at the Arnold Strongman Classic in 2003–08, 2014, and 2016, and again won consecutive trophies in 2005 and 2006 at the IFSA Strongman Championships. Žydrūnas Savickas made history in the lifting of the log which is the typical move by the famous strongman. This motility was just like a snatch when there is no big iron block.
His uncle supported him in weight lifting, so Žydrūnas Savickas began practicing weight at the age of 13. He keeps on practicing it in the shabby gyms which are hardly available all over his place in Lithuania. At the age of 21, in 1998, Žydrūnas Savickas acquired the position in Lithuania’s Strongest Man competition. This is a show he would surmount more than 11 times.
Ultimately, he calibrated to a higher stage. Savickas achieved eight Arnold Strongman Classic rights before climaxing in 2009 when he succeeded in his first World’s Strongest Man contest. He had got the victory in three more in the years 2010, 2012, and 2014, and become the best presser regularly in the manner, with a credential of world log press record of 502 pounds.
Presently at the age of 43, Savickas decided to reduce his pace and slowing down to give chances to the younger and upcoming contestants like Hafthór Björnsson, a 30-year-old Arnold Strongman Classic winner in 2019, and Martins Licis, aged 28, the 2019 World’s Strongest Man champion.
The idea is, “slowing down,” is a relevant phrase for Savickas. “I want to continue to compete, and I’m looking to break my all-time log press record,” he declares. As the age is moving on every year, Savickas reveals how he has changed his training schedule.
Žydrūnas Savickas Statistics
- Height: 191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
- Weight: 170 kg (375 lb) – 182 kg (401 lb)
Žydrūnas Savickas Awards and Achievements
- World’s Strongest Man – 1st place four times: 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014
- World’s Strongest Man – 2nd place six times: 2002–2004, 2011, 2013, 2015
- IFSA Strongman World Championships – 1st place two times: 2005, 2006
- Arnold Strongman Classic – 1st place eight times: 2003–2008, 2014, 2016
- Arnold Strongman Classic-Europe – 1st place: 2012
- Europe’s Strongest Man – 1st place three times: 2010, 2012, 2013
- Strongman Super Series – 1st place 2004
- Strongman Super Series – 2nd place 2003
- Strongman Champions League – 1st place two times: 2012, 2008
- Lithuania’s Strongest Man – 1st place sixteen times: 1998–2000, 2002, 2004–2009, 2012–2015, 2017, 2020
- Log lift for Max Weight – 228 kg (503 lb) (World record, 2015 Arnold Classic Brazil Strongman Pro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- Giant Barbell Squat for Reps – 329 kg (725 lb) × 15 Raw with knee wraps (World record, 2014 World’s Strongest Man, Los Angeles, California)
- Strongman Deadlift (with straps) – 442 kg (974 lb) with straps (World Strongman Record, 2011)
- Apollon’s Axle Press for Max Weight – 215 kg (474 lb) (2010 Giants Live, Istanbul, Turkey)
- Apollon’s Axle Press for Reps – 166 kg (366 lb) × 8 clean and press each rep (World record, 2006 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
- Giant Wooden Log lift for Max Weight – 210 kg (460 lb) (World Record, 2010 World’s Strongest Man, Sun City, South Africa)
- Apollon’s Wheels Overhead for Reps – 155 kg (342 lb) × 8 reps
- Giant Barbell Deadlift for Reps – 320 kg (710 lb) × 10 (World record, 2006 IFSA World Championships, Reykjavík, Iceland)
- 22 kg (49 lb) Medicine ball for Height – 17 ft (5.18 m) (World record, 2004 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
- Atlas Stones (heavy set) – 25.65 seconds (World record, 2006 IFSA World Championships, Reykjavík, Iceland)
- Metal Block press – 150 kg (330 lb) (World record, 2011 World’s Strongest Man, Wingate, North Carolina)
- Hummer Tire Deadlift for Max Weight – 524 kg (1,155 lb) (2014 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
- Heavy Super Yoke 640 kg (1,410 lb) – 3.87 seconds (World record, 2014 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
Žydrūnas Savickas Workout Routine
Zydrunas Savickas is known for his extremely chiseled and strong shoulders and says that it all came with time. In his words, he explains, “In the beginning, my shoulders were not so strong, but I like to train shoulders because it the easiest training, just sitting and pressing the bar. I like it very much and my shoulders get so strong.”
He trains almost 5 to 6 times a week and he likes to change his routine not much. He would stick to one routine so that his body can perform well. However, he would definitely increase the intensity. In his words, “I train 5-6 times per week. I never change my training routine, I just lift more weight every training session and every year. It’s very simple but works very well.”
He has clearly faced many obstacles in his daily life of becoming such a great champion and struggled with injuries, his personal and private life, with work and a heavy training part. In his words, “Lithuania was not strongman country and for me was very hard to get invited to World’s Strongest Man competition. Also, injuries stopped me in 2001 when I was very strong and I needed 3 years to get my power back.”
Zydrunas Savickas says that he always has some kind of plan to prepare for his events. He always is ready for such events where he knows he has to perform to the best of his abilities. He works hard in the gym no matter in the off-season too. He would combine a variety of exercises so that he can engage every part of his body. In his words, he explains his routine,
I have a place in Birštonas, 100km from [Lithuanian capital] Vilnius, where I can train especially for strongman events. I have stones, tyres, logs, a squat machine, dumb-bells, equipment to do farmer’s walks, sacks, barrels and kegs – everything we use in the competition. I train there twice a week, while in my gym I train just with machines and weights, and do cardio workouts. It was hard training in a swimming pool. I have an outdoor pool at my house, which is quite deep. In the competition the water was only up to waist height. If I’d known it would have gone so bad for me, I would have let out a bit of water from my pool for training. For the car deadlift I trained with a normal bar deadlift instead of a car. I know exactly what shape I am in with a deadlift, while with a car I can’t measure it as well.
He has his training sessions divided into 6 days per week where he would focus on all small and huge muscles. He would also do some event-specific exercises where he has to lift and pull or push huge amounts of weights. He does not miss out on cardio either and would do these exercises without a break. In his words, he explains his workout events like,
I train six days a week: two hours a day in the gym and three hours or more a week practising the actual events. On Monday, I work on my legs: squats, front squats, leg curls, leg presses and calf exercises. On Tuesday, I do events: the log lift, farmer’s walk, tyre flip and the keg toss. Wednesday is cardio day: I spend one hour walking uphill at 5km/h on a 9° incline. Thursday is deadlift day: cable pulls, shoulders, presses, dumb-bells, triceps bench press, cable triceps, French press. On Friday, I work on more events: Atlas stones, super yolk, truck pull (using my Nissan Pathfinder with the handbrake on) and keg loading. On Saturday, I do cardio for an hour. Sunday is my day off.
He has divided his routine into explosive and endurance-based workouts. His profession does not need many explosive movements so it is something he does not do too much. However,r his focus is on doing endurance-based workouts. He would lift heavy weights and would focus on in rather than moving too much. In his words, ” I don’t train too much explosively. Instead, I train like a powerlifter, not moving too fast. In the log lift, for example, I lift normally, not explosively. Other guys use their legs much more but I have very strong shoulders. I like to move slowly so I have more control and I can feel the weight.”
In the division of his workouts, you will see that he takes out one day in a week minimum for training for his strongman competitions. Zydrunas Savickas believes that if he needs to win all these competitions, he needs rigorous practice in acing these kinds of moves. Thus, his focus is more on endurance.
This is why you will understand that he includes Atlas stone lifts, farmers-walk, and yoke pulls into his training schedule. His way of doing a high volume but building the weight while he decreases the weight is nothing new. Top powerlifters have been practicing like this for a long time, but Savickas practices more repetitions.
Zydrunas Savickas Monday Routine:
Back Squats 1 set of 8 reps
Back Squats 5 sets of 5 reps
Front Squats 1 set of 8 reps
Front Squats 4 sets of 6 reps
Leg Press 1 set of 8 reps
Leg Press 4 sets of 8 reps
Lying Leg Curl 4 sets of 10 reps
Calf Raises 4 sets of 20 reps
Zydrunas Savickas Tuesday Routine:
Standing Shoulder Press 1 set of 5 reps
Standing Shoulder Press 5 sets of 6 reps
Incline Shoulder Press 1 set 8 reps
Incline Shoulder Press 4 sets of 6 reps
Close Grip Bench Press 1 set of 8 reps
Close Grip Bench Press 4 sets of 6 reps
French Press 1 set of 8 reps
French Press 4 sets of 8 reps
30 minutes of cardio
Zydrunas Savickas Wednesday Routine:
Super Yoke 3 sets of 25-meter pull
Max-distance Farmers Walk with heaviest dumbbells in the gym
Atlas Stones Over-bar (about 120 cm.) 1 set of 6 reps
Atlas Stones Over-bar (about 120 cm.) 3 sets of 5 reps
Zydrunas Savickas Thursday Routine:
Deadlift 3 sets of 6-10 reps
Deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps
Good Mornings 4 sets of 6 reps
Pull-Ups 4 sets of 10 reps
Crunches 3 sets of 25 reps
Zydrunas Savickas Friday Routine:
Log Lift 2 sets of 6 reps
4 x 4 Log Lift 4 sets of 4 reps
3 x 25 meters Truck Pulls 3 sets of 25 meters
3 x 12 Tire Flips 3 sets of 12 tire flips
Zydrunas Savickas Saturday Routine: Cardio
Zydrunas Savickas Sunday Routine: It is his Off-Day
Zydrunas Savickas has a very strategic plan when it comes to working out. He would do some specific exercises which he really likes. His top 3 activities are squats, overhead press, and deadlifts which gives him maximum strength. In his words, he explains,
Firstly, squats. They work the whole body. I squat neither fast nor slow. I do them very deep twice a week. Secondly, deadlifts. This is more for the lower back but it also works the legs, hamstrings, all back muscles and your grip. They even work if you don’t train that often. I’d do this perhaps just once a week. And third, the overhead press. I do this standing, lifting from my chest. It works the shoulders, biceps and chest. When you do them standing up, it really helps your balance. If you do these three exercises, you’ll will be strong for sure.
Being a sportsperson is not all easy. Besides following a rigorous training routine, one also has to go through a lot of injuries and handle it. For Zydrunas Savickas, it was the same. During his entire career as a strongman, he has also had many injuries but he could sustain them, which was a matter of pride and honor for him. He explains,
Nine years ago I ripped the patella tendons in both knees at the same time. It was a competition in the Faroe Islands, an event called the Conan Circle. I was lifting 400kg and at first didn’t feel any pain. It was a real shock – the next thing I heard was ‘boosh, boosh’ and I was lying on the floor. I couldn’t understand what was happening and couldn’t move my legs. I was taken straight to hospital and after a few hours was in surgery. I started competing again nine months later. I’ve also ruptured my hamstring and my calves. I’ve torn my quadriceps before and have even dropped a keg on my foot. But the patellas were the worst.
Winning a strongman event is super important for Zydrunas Savickas as there are basic reasons that there isn’t other competition that is higher than this one. he says, “At this time it’s a very important event because we don’t have a world championship in strongman. And it makes me very famous in Lithuania. Back home strongman is the third most popular sport after football and basketball.”
On asked if he will ever try to do some other sports like MMA or wrestling like other players have done, he said, “I am not Mariusz. I know that I am the best in this event and I don’t want to be less than the best in a different sport.”
However, even if he is not in any kind of fight, he would fight if he has to. He explains that he has practiced some moves even with strongman competitions. In his words, “I can fight but I haven’t done it professionally. Sometimes in strongman competitions, we do sumo wrestling. I have always won it but it’s too rough and very dangerous. In 2004 I got injured in a strongman sumo event. You have to do lots of extra training for it. With MMA I know you need a few years to be very good. I have competed for 19 years in strongman and I don’t have time to do MMA.”
Here are his top 9 favorite exercises that Žydrūnas Savickas likes to do in his gym sessions:
1. Triceps Kickbacks – 4×10
Exercises that work the triceps, which are often overlooked, are tricep kickbacks. This exercise contributes to developing the upper arm muscle and giving it the classic horseshoe shape.
Bend both elbows at the sides while holding a pair of dumbbells. With one foot, step back, bending the knees slightly and bending at the hips. This is your starting position. Your chest should be parallel to the floor. Taking a full step back, push the weights with core engagement while extending your arms fully behind you. Once you have returned to the starting position, repeat the movement.
2. Two-Arm Triceps Extension – 4×10
Two-arm triceps extensions are great for strength training not only your triceps, but also your shoulders, chest, and back. An ideal way to get those triceps pumped up is by doing this exercise.
Keeping your core engaged is essential for standing firm. As you hold the dumbbell with both hands, support the weight overhead carefully. Place your forearms horizontally behind your head while lowering your head. Once you weigh the desired position, press the weight upwards and repeat this movement for the desired number of reps.
3. Close Grip Push-ups – 4×10
In addition to targeting the chest, close-grip push-ups place strain on the triceps as well. Getting the most out of this workout depends on your form. As you start, you should have your hands slightly closer than shoulder-width apart, in a push-up position. Maintain an intense core and bend your elbows tightly as you lower yourself. Pull up and return to starting position by extending your elbows.
4. Hammer Curls – 4×10
A traditional curl will target the biceps, but Hammer curls target the forearms and biceps, giving you an entirely different workout. It will impose less strain on your wrists if you hold your wrists in a neutral position. Standing in an athletic stance, you should hold a dumbbell with each hand at shoulder width. Each weight should be held as you would a hammer while holding your elbows close to your body. Bend your elbow at the level of your shoulders, keeping your upper body stationary. The weights are lowered to starting position and the exercises are repeated.
5. Bicep Curls – 4×10
If you want to grow those arms, then do some bicep curls. Place a dumbbell in each hand, and hold them at your sides. Then, clasp the weights together and hold them for a short period of time. Lower to the beginning position and repeat.
6. Two-Arm Upright Row – 4×10
The two-arm upright row is an all-around strength builder since it engages the biceps, lats, traps, and triceps. If you are holding dumbbells over your thighs, be sure your palms face inward as you hold them. As you pull the weights closer to your body, you should feel your neck getting tighter. In the beginning, flare out your elbows, and once at chest level, pause, then lower back to where you started.
7. Bent Over Rear Delt Fly – 4×10
Your shoulders, traps, and triceps will be targeted with a bent-over rear delt fly. Your shoulder blades should be squeezed tighter to obtain that tighter contraction. As you hold each weight in front of you, tighten your core while you hinge at the waist. Raising the dumbbells until your arms are parallel to the ground is a good exercise. Hold for one to two seconds before gently lowering to the starting position.
8. Lateral Raise – 4×10
Strengthening and stabilizing your shoulders are easily accomplished by doing lateral raises. For safety and to get the best results, it is essential to remain firm during this exercise. While standing tall, brace your core and hold the weights by your side. Bring your arms parallel to the ground, and then return to your starting position. Shrugging is avoided by using your traps and focusing on your delts without raising your shoulder blades.
9. Arnold Press – 4×10
This exercise press takes its cue from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who uses an overhead press to produce a single set of hammers. Make sure your core is tight while you stand tall. As you place the weights at shoulder height, start facing towards you with your palms facing up. You should lift the weight over your head and slowly twist it so that your palms were facing away from you once you reached the top. Repeat this motion on the way down.
While staying in top form without the use of a gym is still possible, Zydrunas Savickas tackles all the challenges in this home workout. The athletic legend is a staple in the world of strongmen, continuing to improve his sport by competing at high levels and promoting competitions. Your upper body will be pumped with this workout while your strength and stability will be enhanced as well. Invest the time and effort like Big Z, and the progress will be evident.
Just like any other athlete, even Zydrunas Savickas had to go through some kind of weakness in his physical body. But he did not lose hope and instead resolved it quite nicely. In his words, “In the beginning, all events were heavy for me, but every year I get stronger and stronger in all events. For sure some years I had bad events, but then I start to work very hard to improve them. Like the Farmers Walk for example, in 2009 I was 4th in that event, and in 2010 I won the farmers walk. I worked very hard for one year to get my grip stronger.”
That was all about the workout routine of one of the most dedicated strongmen, Zydrunas Savickas who did not give up on his dreams and aspirations o reach where he is not. He has quite vigorous training sessions. However, these sessions are clubbed by some really amazing diet plans which he follows.
Žydrūnas Savickas Diet Plan
Zydrunas Savickas follows quite a structured meal plan throughout the day. His meals are composed of all the essential macros and micronutrients that are needed for a person like Zydrunas Savickas who works out quite intensively and loses a lot of important minerals and vitamins throughout the day.
When he prepares for the competition, he really likes to add some quality carbs into his diet so that it could give him the kind of energy that is required for proper functioning. In his words, “My favorite food is Steak and Potatoes.”
Zydrunas Savickas makes sure that he is having 5 to 6 meals to support his muscles mass. He would divide his entire meal into 5 to 6 meals so that he is more at ease. He eats more than 6,000 calories per day according to his physical expenditure and his physical structure. In his words, ” I eat 6 times per day, 4 times food and 2 times shake, around 6000 calories, sometimes more.”
His diet is quite heavy as he has to consume more than 6,000 calories in the day. He focuses on his macros like having a good quality meal. He likes to eat eggs and meat for completing his protein intake. For carbs, he would have a combination of simpler and complex carbs. He also eats a lot of vegetables in his diet. He makes sure to stay hydrated though. It helps him digest the quantity of food that he consumes. In his words, ”
I eat about 6,000 calories a day, plus I drink four or five liters of water and three protein shakes with milk or water. I eat four times a day, mainly cottage cheese, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, rice, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit juices. I monitor my body weight. If I just need power for a competition then I eat fried food. But if I also need speed or endurance, such as in the World’s Strongest Man competition, I eat more healthily. I’m very careful with alcohol: I have a glass of white wine perhaps two or three times a year. I also take lots of different supplements made by my sponsors.”
That was all about the diet plan that Zydrunas Savickas follows in his daily life. Besides just following a great diet, there are also some diet tips that Zydrunas Savickas likes to give out to his fans and people who follow his way of living or practicing for any competition. Read on ahead to know about his diet tips.
Žydrūnas Savickas Diet Tips
Besides just having a clean and quality it, Zydrunas Savickas also follows some diet tips that he finds essential for his routine. He is also superb when it comes to being consistent. Thus he shares some of the tips and tricks with his fans so that they could be right on track with him. Take a look:
Zydrunas Savickas tries to eat the kinds of foods that are found in nature and shuns anything with a long listing of ingredients or any kind of packaged foods.
Zydrunas Savickas has made it a rule to eat as much wild as possible, meaning he goes all fresh and natural when it comes to his food selection. This is mainly for the protein intake that he needs.
Zydrunas Savickas is extreme when it comes to avoiding sugar. However, he does indulge in sweet treats when it is his cheat day.
Zydrunas Savickas’s advice to his fans is to not start huge but rather take baby steps. He wants his followers to not rush in and most importantly, not give up.
When Zydrunas Savickas started the strongman competition, there was a lot of trashy food like packaged and processed food items that were involved in their meals. Zydrunas Savickas then shifted to incorporate healthier choices, and the expanse has become a lot more healthy over the years.
That was all about what Zydrunas Savickas eats throughout the week. There are some more things that Zydrunas Savickas adds to his diet and those are the supplements. He does not have too many of them but sometimes he needs them to replenish his lost nutrient intake.
Žydrūnas Savickas Nutrition and Supplements
Besides just having a great diet, sometimes Zydrunas Savickas needs to take supplements because of the hectic training schedule and lost supplements. He makes sure to add some supplements to his diet so that he does not run out of essential fuel that is required for his body. Take a look at all the supplements that Zydrunas Savickas has in his day:
Zydrunas Savickas makes sure to take his supplements which incorporate a multivitamin with omega-3s which are excellent for strengthening the immune system and provide the lost vitamins during the difficult week ahead.
Zydrunas Savickas also has a mega multivitamin that includes probiotics, turmeric, and a green complex which are great for weight loss and immunity.
- WHEY PROTEIN
Whey protein is a great source of protein that is digested by the body faster and helps to replenish the lost proteins of the body faster. It also helps the body to build muscles and repair the tissues.
BCAAs are great as an intro workout or pre-workout as they help to mend the muscles which are torn down during the workout. It also gives a refreshing feeling as it replaces the electrolytes of the body and helps to work out better.