Oleksii Novikov, the 2020 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion, spent the holidays resting and recovering. Novikov is back in the gym training for the 2022 season after being one of the most consistent competitors in the second half of 2021, where he podiumed in every contest he entered after the 2021 WSM contest. It didn’t take long for the Ukrainian to ramp up his programming after Christmas. Novikov shared his first training day back on his YouTube account on Dec. 27, 2021, as he prepares for the Arnold Strongman Classic, the first elite competition of 2022.
Novikov is one of ten strongmen who have qualified for the Arnold Strongman Classic in 2022. Two previous WSM champions — Martins Licis and Tom Stoltman — are on the roster, as well as Luke Stoltman, the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man champion, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, Trey Mitchell, and inaugural Magnus von Magnusson Strongman Classic champion Maxime Boudreault, to mention a few. Check out the video below to see how Novikov hopes to approach the season and maybe win the Arnold Strongman Classic for the first time:
Heavy squats kicked off Novikov’s workout. He already had 200 kilos (440.9 pounds) on the barbell when he turned on the camera, with the intention of increasing it to 250 kg (551.2 pounds). Novikov’s gym does not appear to be a well-designed business environment. His gym is more akin to an old-school garage-style gym, with rusted and mismatched equipment strewn about. For his squat workout, he uses a modest squat rack that has seen a lot of use over the years, rather than a full power rack.
This is the 2020 WSM champion’s third training session in preparation for the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic, and he claims that the squat will be an event there, despite the fact that no official event list has been posted yet. The squat event, according to Novikov, will give each athlete three chances to set their maximum load. Novikov’s personal best squat is 350 kilogrammes (771.6 pounds) while using knee wraps and not wearing a single-ply suit.
Novikov’s cameraman enquired about the upcoming events at the 2022 Strongman Classic, and Novikov responded:
2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Events
- Max Squat — three attempts per athlete
- Timber Carry — 400 kilograms (881.9 pounds)
- Heavy Dumbbell — 124 kilograms (273.4 pounds) for reps
- Max Log Lift
- Stone to Shoulder — 186 kilograms (410.1 pounds)
The event schedule for the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic has not yet been revealed. The above events are listed in the order in which Novikov mentioned them.
Following his squat workout, Novikov rolled out the gym mats to prepare for his log lift workout. After squatting, Novikov’s legs felt a somewhat unique kind of soreness, indicating that he had taken time off from the gym. He described it as the type of soreness one gets after not training for a long time rather than surpassing one’s limitations.
Novikov began with an overhead press of 80 kilogrammes (176.4 pounds) with the intention of increasing to 130 kilogrammes (286.6 pounds). The log lift is one of his current weaknesses, according to the 2020 WSM champion, who has never locked out 200 kilogrammes (440.1 pounds) previously and plans to do so in 2022. The log progressed pretty smoothly, indicating that the holiday rest had paid off. In the end, Novikov made further significant weight gains and in his second-to-last set, he surpassed his target weight by five kilogrammes. He finished his training session with three reps of 145 kilos (319.7 pounds) and five reps of the same weight.
The Ukrainian confesses that he still has to build up his strength in the next months. One of the major topics heading into 2022 is if Novikov can keep up his momentum from 2021 and make a run for the WSM title. The 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic will be the first test of whether Novikov’s preparation is better than his competitors’, but nonetheless, the 2022 strongman season appears to have already beginning.