Knowing what’s inside Martins Licis’s gym probably won’t unlock the secret to becoming a world-class professional Strongman like Martins himself, but as he is quick to point out, training like a Strongman can actually benefit any type of athlete, regardless of their size, sport, or goals. In fact, when he began outfitting his new personal strength headquarters–Wreck-It Gym in El Segundo, California–Licis selected equipment not just for himself, but for the use of other local athletes interested in adapting Strongman methods into their own fitness programs.
“Our goal here is to make Strongman accessible,” Licis tells Rogue. “Because it’s not just about the big freaks lifting. Strongman is a great functional approach to strength and fitness in general, and that’s what we’re about: showing people how to do it, and how to do it right and safe.”
When Martins talks, people tend to listen. Along with being one of the most down-to-earth and enthusiastic guys in the iron game, the 31 year-old Latvian-American (sometimes known by his nickname “The Dragon”) has also beaten the best of the best in recent years to become World’s Strongest Man (2019), Rogue Invitational champion (2021), and Arnold Strongman Classic champion (2022); accomplishments that were sandwiched around the obstacles of a worldwide pandemic and a year-long injury rehab.
Along the way, Martins also relocated his main training space from a cramped garage to his own dedicated So-Cal gym, named “Wreck-It” in honor of his animated doppelganger Wreck-It Ralph. Here, Licis worked with Rogue to create an all-encompassing training space in line with modern Strongman principles, including a lot of gear you might expect, and some you might not.
Even though Martins Licis specifically set up Wreck-It Gym as a welcoming training space for all types of athletes, it’s also HIS personal gym, so naturally, there is some gear in here that no average Joe could tackle. That said, even some of Martins’ more traditional Strongman equipment–including the Yokes, Stones, and Throw Bags–do offer the opportunity for gradual progression.
Rogue Strongman Throw Bags: Even though Martins Licis specifically set up Wreck-It Gym as a welcoming training space for all types of athletes, it’s also HIS personal gym, so naturally, there is some gear in here that no average Joe could tackle. That said, even some of Martins’ more traditional Strongman equipment–including the Yokes, Stones, and Throw Bags–do offer the opportunity for gradual progression.
Rogue Strongman Sandbags: Available in a wide range of max load capacities from as little as 25 LBS up to 400 LBS (160 LBS with crumb rubber), Rogue Strongman Sandbags are Made in the USA from 1000D MIL Spec Cordura, with the same funnel filler + zipper + hook-and-loop closure as the Throw Bags. The big 16” diameter version of these bags is used in pro Strongman competitions during events like the Sandbag Carry. At lower weights, that same exercise can benefit any athlete, working the hamstrings, lower back, trunk, etc. Strongman Sandbags can also be used in place of stones to practice movements like Stone to Shoulder or Carry and Load.
Y-2 Rogue Yoke: “The Yoke Carry is, of course, essential for Strongman,” Licis says. “And the cool thing about a yoke is that you can use it for so many things.” The yoke at Martins’ gym is the Rogue’s Y-2 Yoke, built from 2×3” 11-gauge steel with 750 LBS of plate load capacity. As Martins noted, this overbuilt design (with a crossbar and skids) isn’t just equipped for Strongman yoke carries / Zercher carries, but loads of other functions, including sled training, bench presses, squats, fat-grip pull-ups, and rings exercises.
Rogue Log Bars: The LB-3 Log Bar was designed to prep Strongman athletes for the 12” neutral-grip log lifts in competition, and at 134 LBS unloaded, it can be merciless on the unprepared. The bar’s 14.25” long sleeves are made from solid round steel, and—when loaded with Olympic plates–they bring the log’s full weight capacity well over 1,000 LBS. Fortunately, Martins has a few different Log Bars in his gym, including smaller 10” LB-1 and 8” LB-2 models for athletes working their way up.
When you’re a multi-title holding professional Strongman, there are obviously going to be some perks when it comes to seeking out the best custom-made equipment. Several of the biggest eye-catching implements in Wreck-It Gym fit this description.
Slater Timber Farmer’s Walk Handles: “This is one of the staples of carry events in Strongman,” Licis says, “and Steve Slater himself made these for us.” Anyone who knows Strongman knows the name Steve Slater. One of the leading designers and builders of Strongman implements, Slater’s Farmer’s Walk Handles are made in the USA from quality timber (measuring 48” x 10” x 8”) and have been used in competitions for years. Naturally, Martins’ timber carries include custom Wreck-It branding.
Slater Stones: Another Steve Slater creation, also available through Rogue, are these Atlas stone molds, which are available in ten sizes from an 8” diameter up to 24” diameter. Slater Molds have been trusted to create the Atlas Stones for the World’s Strongest Man competition, the Arnold Strongman Classic, and many other events, and their durable plastic construction allows users to create up to 50 different stones off a single mold. Unsurprisingly, Martins has a full fleet in his gym, ranging from 220 LBS “all the way up to a 430-pound monster.”
Custom Cyr Dumbbell: One of the most iconic Strongman implements of them all is the Louis Cyr style dumbbell, and while there’s only a small number of these in existence, when you’re Martins Licis, you’re obviously going to have one custom-made for your gym. Martins’ Cyr DB is “285 pounds of steel,” and it’s not an implement he’s ever going to hand over to a beginner (unless it’s for a quick chuckle).
Monster Power Racks: While Licis turned to Rogue for his power racks, there was some customization needed for these units, as well. Initially, Martins had his Monster Rack made shorter than a standard RM-6 to fit in his previous, low-ceiling garage gym (“We had humble beginnings,” he explains). After his move to his new gym, he kept the same unit, but added some custom Wreck-It branding and a matching color finish. “This is one of my favorite pieces,” Martins says. “This baby is the center of the gym. This is where squats happen, overhead pressing, Romanian deadlifts, bent-over rows, stretching.”
After moving into Wreck-It Gym, Martins also added a second wall-mounted Monster rack with 108” uprights, enabling taller athletes to perform their pull-ups, rings exercises, and dips with more breathing room.
ROGUE MONSTER MATADOR: As mentioned above, the Rogue Matador is one of the key attachments on Martins’ taller power rack, creating a solid, adjustable dip station. “I like to do dips between the rafters personally,” Licis says. “It just adds a little extra challenge.”
Rogue Wood Rings: Another attachment on the “big rack” is a set of Rogue’s classic Wood Gymnastics Rings. These are produced in both a 1.25” diameter (for CrossFit) and 1.11” diameter (built to International Gymnastics Federation specs). Whether you’re a slim gymnast or a giant Strongman, ring exercises can do wonders for developing an athlete’s upper body and core strength, while also training better joint alignment and overall balance.
Monster Lat Pulldown: This is another machine that Martins carried over from his old gym, and that he had to have custom sized slightly shorter than the standard 96”. Rogue’s Monster Lat Pulldown / Low Row Machine is actually quite compact in a small gym space, though, taking up just a 40″ x 60″ footprint. The unit comes with a 300LB weight stack (10LB increments), a stainless steel lat bar, a diamond-tread adjustable footplate, 6″ nylon pulleys, and a set of custom-built black carabiners—one each for the lat pulldown and the low row. Again, because of the adjustable weight stack, this is a machine that literally any athlete can benefit from, with two great dynamic upper body workouts to choose from.
Rogue Urethane Dumbbells: “We couldn’t settle for just dumbbells leading up to 100 LBS; we had to get the full Rogue set,” Martins says. “It starts at 5 LBS and goes all the way up to 150 LBS, in 5 LB increments.” Specifically, Martins opted for Rogue’s new Urethane Dumbbell set. As an alternative to traditional rubberized bells, this design features solid steel heads with a durable, shock-absorbent urethane plating, fully over-molded to the center. The heads are welded to a 6″ straight hardened chrome handle to create a solid, single-piece dumbbell that moves fluidly and compactly and won’t damage your flooring on a drop.
Concept 2 BikeErg: “On days that I really need to get my cardio on, I really like to sit. So this Concept 2 is the perfect option for me.” The BikeErg from Concept 2 is lighter in weight than most fitness bikes and closer in feel to actual outdoor riding. And since Martins rides his outdoor bike to and from the gym everyday, that natural feel is important. The BikeErg’s design is built around precision flywheel air resistance, creating a workout customized to any athlete who uses it. As you pedal harder, the intensity and challenge of the workout increases accordingly. At the same time, the inclusion of a clutch lets you freewheel like a standard bicycle, while a wide damper range re-creates the effect of changing gears.
Also on Site: Wreck-It Gym is so loaded from wall to wall, floor to ceiling, that it’s hard to cover everything in it. A quick scan of the space does reveal a lot of other familiar and useful Rogue products, though, including a set of Rogue Kettlebells, Wood Plyoboxes, KG Competition Bumpers, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar, the V2 Barbell Gun Rack, the 3-Tier Dumbbell Storage Rack, and plenty more.