The Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Program (501 KG!)


Hafthor Bjornsson is a professional strongman competitor from Iceland and one of the men on planet Earth. In 2020 Hafthor broke the all-time deadlift world record with a mind-blowing 501 kilogram or 1,105 pound deadlift!

Here is a video of Hafthor performing this unbelievable feat of strength:

Just look at that bar speed! Hafthor easily had another 10-20 pounds in him on that lift! For many years Hafthor kept his exact deadlift training program secret to the public. However, in 2019 Hafthor began posting his training videos on his YouTube account. That means we can learn the exact deadlift program that Hafthor Bjornsson used to break the all-time deadlift world record and become the strongest man in history. Just don’t tell Eddie Hall – he’s still crying like a baby over losing the all-time deadlift world record! All kidding aside, let’s take a look at Hafthor’s deadlift program. Here is Hafthor Bjornsson’s strongman training split:

Here is the exact deadlift peaking cycle that Hafthor used to break the all-time deadlift world record:

Program overview

  • Week 1:

    • 3 sets of 3 reps @ 320 KG (or 705 pounds)
  • Week 2: 
    • 1 set of 3 reps @ 360 KG (or 794 pounds)
    • 2 sets of 4 reps @ 320 KG (or 705 pounds)
  • Week 3: 
    • 1 set of 3 reps @ 400 KG (or 882 pounds)
    • 2 sets of 4 reps @ 340 KG (or 750 pounds)
  • Week 4:
    • 1 set of 3 reps @ 440 KG (or 970 pounds)
    • 1 set of 3 reps @ 375 KG (or 827 pounds)
  • Week 5: 
    • 1 set of 1 reps @ 470 KG (or 1,036 pounds)
  • Week 6: 
    • 1 set of 1 reps @ 350 KG (or 772 pounds)
  • Week 7:
    • 1 set of 1 reps @ 501 KG! (or 1,105 pounds!)

As you can see Hafthor uses a simple linear periodization program. He starts out lifting 320 kilograms for sets of 3 reps and gradually increases the weight each week until he is lifting 501 kilograms on the day of his competition. Here is a great video showing one of Hafthor’s typical deadlift workouts when he was training for the 501 KG deadlift:

As you can see Hafthor performs a couple heavy sets of deadlifts and then practices with the atlas stones. Hafthor was putting 100% of his focus on breaking the world record deadlift so he didn’t bother with other strongman exercises like farmer’s walks or loaded carries for this training cycle. Normally when Hafthor is training for a strongman competition like the Arnold Classic or the World’s Strongest Man he performs a lot more accessory work. Now let’s look at Hafthor’s exact workouts leading up to his world record deadlift. Check it out:

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #1

  • A1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 3  reps @ 320 KG
  • B1: Stone load, 5 sets of 1 rep

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #2

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 3 reps @ 360 KG, 2 sets of 4 reps @ 320 KG
  • B1: Stone load, 5 sets of 1 rep

Note: There is no training video for this week.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #3

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 3 reps @ 400 KG, 2 sets of 4 reps @ 340 KG
  • B1: Stone load, 5 sets of 1 rep

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #4

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 3 reps @ 440 KG, 1 sets of 3 reps @ 375 KG

Cick right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #5

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 1 reps @ 470 KG

Cick right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #6 (Deload Week)

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 1 reps @ 350 KG
  • B1: Barbell bent over row, 2 sets of 12 reps

Cick right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #7 (Competition Week!)

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 1 reps @ 501 KG! (1,105 pounds!)

Here is Hafthor hitting his 501 KG deadlift:

Hafthor used the above training cycle to break the all-time deadlift world record. However, that doesn’t give you the best idea of what Hafthor’s deadlift training normally looks like. After all, Hafthor is normally training for strongman events like the Arnold Classic, Iceland’s Strongest Man or the World’s Strongest Man Competition. For these competitions Hafthor has to compete in many different events like the deadlift but also the atlas stones, farmer’s walk, loaded carries and so on. Let’s look at the exact deadlift workouts that Hafthor used to prepare for the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic. Here is an overview of his deadlift training cycle for this competition:

Program overview

  • Week 1: 3 x 8 @ 240 KG (or 529 pounds)
  • Week 2: 3 x 8 @ 270 KG (or 595 pounds)
  • Week 3: 2 x 4 @ 300 KG (or 661 pounds)
  • Week 4: 3 x 4 @ 323KG (or 712 pounds)
  • Week 5: 3 x 4 @ 348 KG (or 767 pounds)
  • Week 6: 2 x 2 @ 373 KG (or 822 pounds)
  • Week 7: 2 x 2 @ 403 KG (or 888 pounds)
  • Week 8: 1 x 2 @ 433KG (or 954 pounds)
  • Week 9: 1 x 2 @ 455 KG (or 999 pounds)
  • Week 10: 3 x 3 @ 320 KG (or 705 pounds)
  • Week 11: 1 x 2 @ 480 KG (or 1,058 pounds
  • Week 12: 1 x 1 @ 500 KG (or 1,105 pounds)

Once again Hafthor used a simple linear periodization strategy. He started out the training cycle performing sets of 8 reps with 529 pounds and finished the training cycle performing over 1,000 pounds in competition. Linear periodization sometimes gets a bad rap in the fitness community but it still works extremely well for putting up big lifts in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Many of the world’s best powerlifting coaches like Josh Bryant still use linear periodization with the vast majority of their powerlifting clients. Here a template for what Hafthor’s deadlift workouts looked like leading up to the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic. Check it out:

Workout Template

  • Exercise #1: Deadlift
  • Exercise #2: Kettlebell Toss
  • Exercise #3: Frame Carry
  • Exercise #4: Stone Loading
  • Exercise #5: Loaded Carry
  • Exercise #6: Static Barbell Hold

Here is a typical training video for this training cycle:

As you can see Hafthor performs about 6 exercises in his deadlift workouts. He starts off by performing his top sets on the deadlift. Then he performs all of his strongman specific exercises. He doesn’t need to perform any accessory exercises because these strongman movements build up all of the strength he needs in his back and legs. Now let’s look at the exact deadlift workouts that Hafthor used leading up to the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic. Check it out:

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #1

  • A1: Deadlift, 3 x 8 @ 240 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Sandbag load, 1 x 3
  • D1: 90 degree back extension, 2 x 8-12

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #2

  • A1: Deadlift, 3 x 8 @ 270 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible
  • D1: Atlas stones, 1 x 5

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #3

  • A1: Deadlift, 2 x 4 @ 300 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Atlas stone load, 3 x 1, no rest
  • C2: Loaded carry, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #4

  • A1: Deadlift, 3 x 4 @ 323 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Atlas stone load, 3 x 1, no rest
  • C2: Loaded carry, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #5

  • A1: Deadlift, 3 x 4 @ 348 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Atlas stone load, 3 x 1, no rest
  • C2: Loaded carry, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Note: Hafthor did not provide a training video for this workout.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #6

  • A1: Deadlift, 2 x 2 @ 373 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Atlas stone load, 3 x 1, no rest
  • C2: Loaded carry, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #7

  • A1: Deadlift, 2 x 2 @ 403 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Atlas stone load, 3 x 1, no rest
  • C2: Loaded carry, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #8

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 x 2 @ 433 KG, 1 x 5 @ 383 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #9

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 x 2 @ 455 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #10

  • A1: Deadlift, 3 x 4 @ 310 KG
  • B1: Farmer’s walk, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1: Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #11

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 x 2 @ 480 KG

Click right here for the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #12

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 x 1 @ 465 KG

Here is the video of Hafthor deadlifting at the 2020 Strongman Arnold Classic:

Hafthor had much more than 465 kilograms in him on this deadlift. However, this was all he needed to secure a win for the competition so he stopped at 465 KG.

Conclusion

Hafthor Bjornsson is probably the strongest man in history. He holds the all-time deadlift world record and was the undisputed strongest man in the world in 2019 and 2020. If you are looking for a great deadlift training program then look no further than Hafthor Bjornsson. He uses a simple linear periodization program that lets him get stronger year-after-year without burning himself out. Hafthor is also very inspiring and a great human being. I highly recommend you follow Hafthor at the following links:

Here is a great quote by Hafthor on the importance of putting in hard work to get the results you want out of life:

“You have to be willing to work 365 days a year and be absolutely obsessed with what you want to achieve and if you’re willing to go that far then you’re able to be the World’s Strongest Man!”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

Recent Posts