These 5 Stabilizing Exercises Are Essential to the World's Strongest Man's Warmup

Martins Licis, the current reigning World’s Strongest Man, isn’t all brawn. Licis just shared a video on YouTube sharing the moves he uses in his warmups which focus on building stability and mobility, which are essential to his larger training plan. While the routine is specific to Licis and his needs (he’s in the process of healing from a number of different injuries in his hips, hamstrings and knees), he demonstrates each of the moves and talks about their benefits.

He starts off with hip airplanes, standing on one leg and leaning forward, lining up his hips to stretch the outside of the stabilizing leg and holding for 5 seconds, before leaning sideways to open up the adductors for 10 seconds. Usually Licis does these assisted, i.e. leaning against the rack to steady himself, but as he is training for stability, he progresses onto the unassisted version—and immediately struggles to keep his balance, especially when he attempts the 10 reps on his left leg.

The second move is a hip mobilizer. “If your muscles are tight, and you’re trying to extend in a squat, your flexor will have to work against that tightness to get full extension,” says Licis, stressing how important it is to have mobile hips that will “glide” into extension. To work on his hip mobility, he does a banded half-kneeling hip flexor stretch.

“The idea here is to squeeze and activate the glutes, forcing the hip flexors to stretch as you push your hips forward, and give your pelvis a posterior tilt,” he adds. Licis does 20 reps of a 3-second hold on each side.

Licis follows this with single-leg dynamic glute bridges, which he hope will help heal his injured hamstring by forcing the glutes to do more of the heavy lifting. “As my hips get more mobile, I’m able to push my hips through more and more,” he says.

Licis says that touchdown squats have been “magical” for healing the cartilage in his knees and helping his legs become steadier and more stable in general. Standing on stacked up weight plates, he explains that the goal is to step down and touch the floor with one foot, keeping that leg in line with your core without letting the hip slide down.

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A more challenging variation of this move, should you be able, involves extending your leg straight in front of your and touching your heel to the ground, which requires you to squat much lower.

This then leads quite naturally into the final move: pistol squats, a tough lower-body move which Licis has been incorporating into his routine three times a week to further promote strength and stability in his quads. If you don’t think you can pull off the movement, just use Licis as inspiration to finally nail it.

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