It is no secret that Croatia, especially the region of Lika, produces some tough individuals, like Marijan Matijević, who was the strongest man in the world in the early 1900s. Nicknamed the ‘Lika Samson’, Matijević had extraordinary strength and won many world awards for his incredible displays of power. Another youngster from Lika is following in his footsteps.
17-year-old Rino Mašić, from the town of Gospić in Lika, recently became the world junior armwrestling champion in Bucharest.
Mašić has already won 21 medals from international competitions, 2 European and 3 world titles and 8 medals from national championships. We caught up with the young Croatian strongman to find out more.
When did you first get into armwrestling?
I got into armwrestling when I was 13 years old, but it wasn’t until I was around 14 years old that I really started training and getting interested in the sport. I started off training by myself and I learnt the specific exercises for armwrestling through youtube and watching a lot of the professional armwrestlers train.
What training do you need to do for armwrestling?
Just strength training, nothing else, although you can do ‘recovery’ training if your arms are in a lot of pain after a day of strength training, but besides that, just do strength.
How often do you train?
I use to train in my gym, before it burnt down a couple of days ago, now I am in my grandpa’s basement until we find a new gym… I usually train every day of the week for about three to four hours a day.
Do you follow a special diet?
When I’m not trying to lose weight I don’t have a special diet, but in general I try to eat foods with a lot of protein like eggs, chicken, pork, cheese and so on.
How much weight can you lift?
It depends on the type of exercise, but I can lift a lot, the most weight I lifted with one arm is 70kg.
What makes somebody a good armwrestler?
What makes them good is their strength, their knowledge about the sport, their technique, their ability to execute a move perfectly and if it fails their ability to recover from it and defend.
Can you make a career in armwrestling? What are your goals?
It’s possible to make a career in armwrestling, but it’s very difficult, but in the future it will be more easy. My plans are to continue training and hopefully one day being the best armwrestler in the world.
Do you have a message to anybody wanting to get into armwrestling?
My message to any new armwrestlers coming to the sport or people who are interested in trying it out is just don’t give up and have patience, it takes a long time to find what suits you best when it comes to training, or the style that you are going to use when armwrestling on the table, take your time and be smart, don’t hurt yourself when starting of, watch some videos on how to set yourself up on the table and how to avoid the “arm break” positions.