After making a foray into boxing, Hafthor Björnsson is done wading his toes into other sports’ waters. The powerlifter/strongman is steadily rebuilding the strength that once made him the 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion. The athlete seems to be full steam ahead with his ambitions by some video accounts from his training.
On Apr. 3, 2023, Björnsson shared a video of himself capturing a 420-kilogram (925.9-pound) raw back squat during a training session. The athlete wore a lifting belt and knee wraps to help demonstrate how much of his incredible leg power had already returned with diligent efforts.
Prior to this squat, Björnsson placed a hard cap on what he would attempt with a loaded barbell on his shoulders. By Apr. 15, 2023, the athlete plans to squat 440 kilograms (970 pounds), matching his all-time best squat performance from the 2018 WRPF-Iceland Thor’s Powerlifting Challenge which he attained just months after his WSM victory. As clips on his Instagram profile show, the athlete has been steadily building toward this one-rep max.
His ascent back to form has taken a quality, gradual trajectory.
For example, roughly three months ago, Björnsson was powering through a 225-kilogram (496-pound) raw squat for five reps. Then, two months ago, Björnsson filmed himself capturing a 260-kilogram (573.2-pound) raw squat for three reps. About five weeks ago, Björnsson notched a 350-kilogram (771.6-pound) raw squat. Finally, a week before this latest achievement, Björnsson squatted 380 kilograms (837.7 pounds) raw.
This means that, over the course of approximately three months, Björnsson added 195 kilograms (429.9 pounds) to his squat training weight. To be fair, he likely retained much of his strength despite stepping away from a lifting gym focus for a little while and has benefitted from “muscle memory,” shaking the rust from his squat mechanics.
It’s still impressive to nearly double what he started with from the beginning of a new training program. Notable, too, is the athlete’s recently reported body weight of 177 kilograms (390 pounds), which is 20.4 kilograms (45 pounds) lighter than his 2018 squat performance.
Should Björnsson reach his 440-kilogram (970-pound) goal by mid-April 2023, there will likely be little doubt “The Mountain” will have made his formal return to the strength sports’ fray.
Beyond his massive squat, Björnsson has made his coming intentions quite clear. In the +140-kilogram weight class, the versatile athlete plans to break Daniel Bell’s raw (with wraps) World Record total of 1,182.5 kilograms (2,606.9 pounds) from the 2021 WRPF Hybrid Showdown III. Björnsson recently deadlifted 395 kilograms (870.8 pounds) raw alongside Bell at the 2023 Arnold Sports Festival (ASF).
After that, in 2024, Björnsson will finally return to competitive strongman for the first time since 2020. Based on the living legend’s precedent, even that comeback will likely feature some measure of fireworks.
Featured image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram