ICON SPORTSWIRE/GETTY IMAGES
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who plays the Mountain on Game of Thrones and is the reigning World’s Strongest Man, did 10 reps at 770 pounds (349kg) of the axle deadlift on his way to winning Europe’s Strongest Man contest last night in Leeds, England. It was the fifth time the Icelandic strong man has won the title, which involved 12 finalists competing in five events. Poland’s Mateusz Kieleszkowski placed second and and Georgia’s Konstantine Janashia came in third. The event serves as a qualifier for the World’s Strongest Man contest, which will be held in Bradenton, Florida June 13 to 16.
Not surprisingly, Björnsson was ecstatic, posting to Instagram:
“Europe’s Strongest Man for the 5th time! So blessed to have such great people behind me! Team Iceland baby 💪🇮🇸 Huge thank you to all my family, my beautiful wife and all my friends for all the help and support!!”
Along with the axle-deadlift the contest included a log lift challenge, a tyre flip and anchor drag, an Atlas stone lift, and the pillars of Hercules. That event involves the strongman holding two chains and trying to prevent two 350-pound-plus (158kg+) pillars from falling down.
Men’s Health talked to Björnsson, 30, earlier this year and he told us what he focuses on when trying to push himself. “I think about everything I’ve done—all the hard work, sweat, and tears,” he said. “And I think of my daughter [Theresa].”
While 10 reps at 770 pounds (349kg), might sound like a lot, Björnsson, who is 6 feet and 9 inches (2.05m) and weighs 420 pounds (190kg), has deadlifted more than 1,000 pounds. His strategy for his trademark exercise is basic: Push and pull. You may think of pulling the bar upward, when you deadlift, but Björnsson wants you to “push the ground away with your feet, which will also help you keep your hips lower to the ground.”
By Ben Court