The Hafthor Bjornsson Training Program!


Hafthor Bjornsson Training Program

Hafthor Bjornsson is one of the greatest strongman competitors of all time. He won the Arnold Strongman Classic three times in a row from 2018 – 2020 and he holds the all-time deadlift world record of 501 kilograms (1,105 pounds).

Here is a great video of Hafthor performing his world-record deadlift:

The professional strongman Eddie Hall is still crying over losing the deadlift world record! Just kidding – I love you Eddie!

Hafthor Bjornsson trained three days per week while preparing for the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic. This may sound like a lower volume training program but for Hafthor it worked like magic. Hafthor is so strong that he needs extra rest in between his workouts to continue getting stronger.

Here is the exact training split that Hafthor used at the end of his strongman career:

Hafthor Bjornsson’s Training Split

  • Monday: Squat
  • Wednesday: Overhead press
  • Friday: Deadlift

Hafthor focused on one key lift for each workout: the squat, overhead press or deadlift. After the main exercise he performed several strongman exercises and / or accessory exercises such as the farmer’s walk, atlas stones, super yolk, dumbbell presses or back extensions.

Now let’s look at some of Hafthor’s typical workouts while leading up to the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic. Check it out:

Hafthor Bjornsson’s Squat Workout

  • A1: Safety squat bar squat, 3 sets of 2 reps @ 290 KG
  • B1: Kettlebell sandbag throw, 5 sets of 1 rep
  • C1: Sled push, 3 x 100 feet

Here is the training video for this workout:

As you can see Hafthor performs a few heavy sets of squats and then moves onto his strongman specific exercises.

Hafthor is a big fan of the safety squat bar and uses it for almost all of his squat workouts. The back squat is almost never an event in professional strongman so there is no need for Hafthor to train the squat with a regular straight bar.

Hafthor likes the safety squat bar because it is easier on his shoulders than a regular straight bar and it overloads his upper back and spinal erectors better than the regular squat. If you want to be the world’s strongest man then there is no such thing as an upper back that is too strong!

Hafthor Bjornsson’s Pressing Day

  • A1: Circus dumbbell overhead press, 3 sets of 2 reps
  • B1: Seated dumbbell overhead press, 3 sets of 5 reps
  • C1: 30 degree incline dumbbell press, 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • D1: Cable face pull, 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • E1: Tricep pushdown (pronated grip), 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

On Hafthor’s chest / shoulder / tricep day he focuses on overhead pressing exercises and incline pressing exercises. This makes perfect sense because he has to perform various overhead pressing movements like the circus dumbbell, log press or viking press in his strongman competitions.

Hafthor Bjornsson’s Deadlift Workout

  • 403 KG 2 x 2
  • Kettlebell throw 6 x 1
  • Farmer’s walk
  • Stone superset loaded carry
  • Static hold

Here is the training video for this workout:

Hafthor Bjornsson’s deadlift workout is much more demanding than his other workouts. He performs the majority of his strongman exercises such as the farmer’s walk and atlas stone loading on this day.

This makes sense – after all, the deadlift is the single most important exercise for a professional strongman. You must have a strong lower back if you want to be the world’s strongest man!

In fact the deadlift is so important to Hafthor that he often plans out his entire deadlift training program 2-4 months in advance. Here is how Hafthor peaked his deadlift strength for the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic competition:

Hafthor’s Deadlift Peaking Cycle

  • Week 1: 3 sets of 8 reps @ 240 KG (or 529 pounds)
  • Week 2: 3 sets of 8 reps @ 270 KG (or 595 pounds)
  • Week 3: 2 sets of 4 reps @ 300 KG (or 661 pounds)
  • Week 4: 3 sets of 4 reps @ 323KG (or 712 pounds)
  • Week 5: 3 sets of 4 reps @ 348 KG (or 767 pounds)
  • Week 6: 2 sets of 2 reps @ 373 KG (or 822 pounds)
  • Week 7: 2 sets of 2 reps @ 403 KG (or 888 pounds)
  • Week 8: 1 set of 2 reps @ 433KG (or 954 pounds)
  • Week 9: 1 set of 2 reps @ 455 KG (or 999 pounds)
  • Week 10: 3 sets of 3 reps @ 320 KG (or 705 pounds)
  • Week 11: 1 set of 2 reps @ 480 KG (or 1,058 pounds
  • Week 12: 1 set of 1 reps @ 565 KG (or 1,022 pounds)

Here is the video of Hafthor deadlifting 1,022 pounds in competition using the Elephant Bar:

Talk about a strong deadlift! Hafthor went on to deadlift 1,105 pounds just a few weeks later to break Eddie Hall’s deadlift world record.

If you are looking to get freaky strong then I highly recommend you give Hafthor Bjornsson’s training program a shot.

To learn more about Hafthor’s training program you can check out the following website:

Hafthor gives you a modified version of the exact training program he used to win the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic. You can learn more about Hafthor through his social media pages:

“What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn’t think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck with 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.

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