Where did you grow up?
I was born in a small seaside town Liepaja in the country Latvia.
Have you always been naturally strong? Did you play any sports growing up?
From early childhood I was a strong kid, much stronger than other kids. I started my sport career by Olympic gymnastics at 6 years old. After that I did wrestling and judo. And at about 16 years old I started to do powerlifting.
What do you do for a living?
I am a professional bodyguard.
What made you become interested in powerlifting?
I’ve always been strong and I always want to be even stronger and powerlifting is the greatest sport for getting strong and powerful.
Why did you take such a long layoff from lifting?
In October 2010 during MMA training I got a really bad upper back injury and my right arm almost did not work. My bench-press went down to 250 lb and deadlift went down about 500lb. Recovery took me more then a year and even now I am not healthy 100%, but I do everything to get my strength back and after that move up to a new level.
What weight-class do you plan to continue competing in? Will you ever drop back to down to 275?
For now I’m planning to compete for 308 lb, maybe one day I will drop down to 275 lb to break some records, but for now I don?t think about it.
Could you give an example of your latest training methods and how your current workout routine looks?
My training is different from regular week day. Between training I have 1,2 or 3 days off it all depends on how I feel.
1 training. Squat, bench press, deadlift with shrug bar, assistant work for lower back and legs.
2 training: Bench press, triceps, and upper back,abs
3 training: Deadlift, bench press, second deadlift, third deadlift, assistant work.
4 training: bench press,abs,triceps
Start new cycle
What kind of programming did you use to put the most weight on your squat?
Last time I changed my squat training program, Mark Bell from Supertraining GYM, USA helped me with new squat program.
1 week: 50% of PR + green bans. 12 sets by 2 reps on the box. 16 inch 2 minutes between sets. Fast, no belt, wide position. After that I change the box for 12 inch and do l medium legs position squat. Go up for 1 set 5 heavy reps.
2 week: 55% of PR + green bans 9 sets by 2 reps like 16 inch box fast no belt. Change box for 12 and go up to 1 set 3 heavy reps medium legs positions.
3 week: 60% of PR + green bans, 6 sets by 2 reps, fast, no belt, 16 inch box. Take bands and box out and do just Raw squat with belt go up to one rep max. And after that I put another 100 lb on my last rep, just walk out of the rack and hold it for 20 sec.
Each second training session I use safety squat bar. Before I did squat much more often and sometimes it was too much stress for my lower back, but now I have recovery from 9-14 days between squat training and feel much better.This program gave me 25 lb on my squat, in just three months.
Will you try to take your squat record back from Stan Efferding?
I don?t look for Stan’s squat record, but I definitely look to take his TOTAL. I have big respect for this guy and I hope one day we will face each other on the same stage.
Is there any particular reason you deadlift with a rounded upper-back?
Deadlift with upper back is optimal position for my body. Just more comfortable for me. I think it’s bullshit that you need to arch your back. Put your back in position what is more comfortable for your body. That’s my opinion.
How do you get so much explosion pulling off of the floor?
Speed in explosives is most important I think for my deadlift. You have to do fast and explosive each rep for your deadlift. Even when you’re warming up. Another thing what has helped me for many years is rubber bans, which I use all the time for my speed deadlift days. It has to be really hard and tight, my bans give me about 130lb on the bottom and 300lb on the top of lift. Another good exercise for speed from the floor is deficit deadlift on a 3-4 inch box. I only like the IPF bar for deadlift it’s much harder and not flexible like WPC bar and it gives me much more power when I switch the bars.
Why did you start doing deadlifts with a shrug bar? Have you noticed any carryover to the standard deadlift?
First time I use shrug bar for my deadlift program all the time and I really like this stuff. It puts much less presser on my lower back, and gives me more leg drive. It also helps me on my start position for regular deadlift. Upper back and lats are very important for my deadlift and shrug bar trains this part of the body very well. I use shrug bar with many different ways. I do regular deadlift, deficit deadlift, straight legs deadlift , speed pulls and I really recommended shrug bar for every body who looking for a big deadlift.
Have you ever had any problems with your grip strength?
My grip always was pretty strong, but I keep training my grip regularly. I like to just simply hold heavy waits for 10 sec. For example if I’m planning to deadlift 900 lb I do 925 lb for 10 sec. Another good exercise is holding the fat bar.
Do you find any benefit from benching with a close grip?
Close grip for me is optimal before when I bench with wide grip I had many problems with my chest and shoulders, but with close grip its much more comfortable for me.
Has the slingshot helped improve your bench at all?
I LOVE the slingshot and BIG THANK YOU to Mark Bell for this excellent device. I use slingshot in 90% of my bench press training. When I had injury, my right arm almost did not work and I couldn’t do bench press normally, only with sling shot and it really helped with my recovery. Now Mark Bell has sent me 3 different sling shots and my favorite one is a reactive slingshot blue color. This is very light sling shot and doesn?t give to much power, but still protects you in most dangerous lower positions on the bench press. With my close grip strong triceps are very important, and with sling shot you can work much heavier. For example I do 465lb for 5 reps raw, put reactive sling shot on and do 490lb for 5 reps, put on regular sling shot and do 520 for 5 reps and after that put on mad dog sling shot and do another 3-4 reps with 540lb and this make my arms much stronger in lock out.
What do you consider your greatest powerlifting achievement?
My 939lb deadlift no belt for me it was the most impressive thing that I ever did, but I really want to make it even bigger. I want to do 950 lb totally raw and beat my gear record 948lb without deadlift suit and belt
What goals do you plan to achieve in your second coming to powerlifting?
I’m planning to get back into my best shape and set more records in raw powerlifting.
Can we expect to see a lot more training videos from you now that you’re back?
I like put videos on my YouTube channel only if I think it’s really interesting and funny for watching. I will keep doing it sometimes.
Do you have anything you’d like to say to the powerlifting community?
I am really glad raw powerlifting is coming up! It’s good if you have a choice, double ply, single ply, raw, but only raw lifting show your real power. And I wanna say hey guys lets lift raw more often, let your body become naturally strong and powerful!
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