Strongman Hafthor “The Mountain” Björnsson is busy training for the Arnold Classic 2020, which will take place in Columbus, Ohio in March. In a new video, Björnsson hits the gym with the current reigning World’s Strongest Man, Martins Licis, where they work on their deadlifts and talk about getting competition-ready.
“It’s looking promising, if everything goes as planned, as it usually does, then I’m going to do an all-time PR before the Arnold Classic,” Björnsson says. “I’ve been on point with everything, my diet, my sleep, and I’m super happy with how things are going.”
Björnsson has previously pulled 473 kilograms (1,043 pounds) at last year’s Arnold Classic Strongman competition, but that’s not the personal record (PR) he’s hoping to break this time: he wants to see if he can complete more than one rep at 455 kilograms (1,003 pounds). He and Licis warm up with some smaller lifts (for them), starting at 183 kilograms (403 pounds), then 233 kilograms (512 pounds), then 283 kilograms 623 pounds). Björnsson imposes a strict 8 minute resting period between each set, which he then ups to 10 minutes as the lifts get heavier, moving up to 333 kilograms (734 pounds), then 383 kilograms (844 pounds), and 423 kilograms (933 pounds). Licis doesn’t follow him all the way up the ladder—after all, the King Dragon is still in recovery mode after a big win at the Arnold Strongman USA competition last month.
Björnsson’s training has clearly paid off. He remarks that these lifts feel lighter and easier than they ever have before. “That felt very good, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever pulled 423 kgs this light,” he says. “It went flying up… I’m shocked.”
Finally it comes time to pull 455 kgs, which Björnsson does with ease, completing two full reps of the 1,000-plus pound weight. “I think no-one in the world, correct me if I’m wrong, has done two reps of 1,000 pounds,” he says.
For context, the current world record for heaviest deadlift is 500 kilograms, or 1,100 pounds, which Björnsson’s occasional nemesis Eddie Hall set at the Europe’s Strongest Man event back in 2016. Hall recently revealed just how taxing an experience it was to prepare for, and recover from, the history-making lift: not just physically, but mentally.
In addition to severe bruising and pulled vertebrae, he bled copiously from his eyes, ears and nose, his heart rate went through the roof, and he was disoriented with temporary memory loss for several days afterwards. In other words, nobody is doing that lift twice in a row any time soon.