Forget the "corona tough guys" who think they can survive the pandemic through sheer machismo; Martins Licis is literally the World's Strongest Man, and he is taking social distancing incredibly seriously. During his latest "pop-up gym" video, in which he performs a series of isolation squats to work an injured knee, Licis pauses a number of times to responsibly give other people a wide berth. Because it takes real strength to flatten the curve.
After taking great care to disinfect his equipment, Licis decides to go a little easier on himself than usual in order to not push his body (and immune system too hard), starting with 2 sets of 3 reps at 135 pounds.
"In all seriousness, last time I did about 325 pounds, for 3 sets of 10, very slow and controlled, very lightweight, and I could do many more reps, but the idea is to keep tension and tight motion, not to be explosive, to basically work my joints and muscles with even tension throughout the whole range of motion. The idea is to actually recover my joints, not really build up strength right now, but to keep the motion fresh, and to stay practiced."
Licis works his way up from his starting point of 135 pounds, and ends up completing 2 full sets lifting at 374 pounds.
"So far, it actually feels a lot better than it did last week," he says. "And we're about 50 pounds heavier... Last week my left knee and hamstring were really bothering me. I stayed light, stuck to smooth motion, and wow, it's working. High reps with controlled form really do help ligaments, joints and tendons heal up."
He follows that up with a few sets of good mornings, the barbell exercise that builds strength in the hamstrings and glutes. The correct positioning and form are essential here: remember, the barbells' weight should sit on your upper back, not your neck, and when moving, focus on pushing your butt backwards rather than bending at the waist.
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