Feels like it was some time ago now, but it’s only been a few weeks since the traditional Christmas-time screening of the World’s Strongest Man on British TV. The 2018 winner of this popular competition was Hafthor ‘The Mountain’ Bjornsson, (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) making him the third man from Iceland to win this epic, crowd-pleasing annual event. He’s next to feature in our World’s Strongest Men series!
Hafthor may have been seen onscreens by many of us, but he’s definitely no stranger to the television camera. His career as an actor continues to grow. Fans of the hit series Game of Thrones will recognise Bjornsson as the fearsome Gregor Clegane who towers above his enemies. He’s also had some roles in films, for instance, “Kickboxer: Retaliation”, where he starred alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mike Tyson. He also featured in the well-received strongman film “Born Strong”, check out our review.
It’s been a challenging climb to the top for Hafthor, but along the way he has earned a collection of titles and records. He’s won Europe’s Strongest Man four times and Iceland’s Strongest Man a remarkable eight times. In 2018, he battled it out to win another prestigious Strongman title, the Arnold Strongman Classic. On his Strongman journey, he’s managed to break a 1000 year-old record by carrying a 650kg log for five steps in the World’s Strongest Viking competition in 2015.
Watching Hafthor compete you can see he has some monstrous leg power and a concrete core. He’s getting close to squatting 1000lbs (454kg), a feat of strength that only a small number of men on this planet can execute. Here’s another record Hafthor owns; the Elephant Bar Deadlift world record. He lifted 472kg from the floor powering through with his leg and back strength.
Hafthor’s upper body strength is equally as impressive. In the bench press, one of the greatest tests of upper body strength, he has pressed 200kg for an incredible TEN reps. He proved his bench press strength in a powerlifting competition last year and lifted 250kg for one confident rep. No wonder he has a 65 inch chest. Surprisingly, Thor does little in the way of direct arm work, simply allowing upper body compound exercises to add strength and muscle to his limbs.
Here’s an entertaining video of Bjornsson training with the late Rich Piana
With strength levels well beyond the average human, it’s only natural to be curious about what he eats. High amounts of protein is essential and he gets this from sources such as eggs, beef, chicken and nuts. Unlike bodybuilders, he doesn’t have to watch his carb intake and needs plenty of those to fuel his demanding workouts. Oatmeal, bread, fruit and vegetables are some of the foods he consumes for a solid energy supply. Does he use supplements? Yes he does. Whey, glutamine and creatine add some extra nutrients to his body to help him reach his 10,000 calorie-per-day requirement.
Through all his effort and determination, Hafthor Bjornsson certainly deserves the status of the World’s Strongest Man. What will be next for him? Can he break Eddie Hall’s 500kg deadlift record? Or will he overtake Mariusz Pudzianowski’s record of being five times World’s Strongest Man? At only 30-years young and with time on his side, we expect to see many more great things from this Icelandic giant.