“Strongest Man in History”: Hafthor Bjornsson’s 1000lbs Deadlift at Arnold Classic Leaves Fitness World Flabbergasted

Published 03/01/2024, 8:02 PM EST

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Hafthor Bjornsson made his return to the competitive strongman world after a short break at the Arnold Classic 2o24 with a 1006-pound lift under his name. Leaving behind last year’s winner, Mitchell Hooper in the 3rd rank, Bjornssonlifted the weight in the first event called, ‘Max Elephant Bar Deadlift’.

In his first attempt, The Mountain made a 926-pound life. He lifted the bar in one swoop giving fans an indication of what was to come. After Hooper and Martins Licis had their second and third attempts, Bjornsson lifted an astonishing 1006-pound winning the first event of the men’s competition on the night. This isn’t the first time the veteran Icelandic strongman has crossed the 1000-pound barrier.


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In 2020, he achieved the heaviest deadlift record when he lifted 1,104.5 lb at Thor’s Power Gym in Kópavogur, Iceland. In the same year, Bjornsson lifted 1,026 pounds in the ‘Max Elephant Bar Deadlift’. as he won the Arnold Strongman Classic 2020. This was his third consecutive win at the annual event.

At this year’s event, after winning the category, a pumped-up Bjornsson declared “I’m back.” Bjornsson originally retired from the sport of strongman following his 10th Iceland’s Strongest Man title in 2020 before announcing his intentions to return last year.

While Bjornsson made waves in the first event this year, it was Hooper’s turn to shine in the second event, “Timber Carry/Frame carry.” The former Arnold Strongman Classic winner leaped above Thor as he completed his frame carry in only 7.10, while Bjornsson fell short of him finishing at 8.40 seconds. In the event, the strongmen were in fact given a time period of just 30 seconds to carry the excessive weight over a distance of 11 meters.

Despite Bjornsson engaging in a path-breaking deadlift, he could not keep up with the others in the competition in later events, leading him to a fourth-place finish. The event saw Mitchell Hooper winning his second-straight title, while present world record holder, Mateusz Kieliszkowski took home the second place. Last season’s runner-up, Martins Licis came in at third.

Among this stiff competition, one cannot deny the fact that finishing fourth during his comeback showcases the amazing dedication that Bjornsson has always given to the sport. Fans were also left stunned after his spectacular return that saw him lift 1006 lbs. They repeatedly praised the former World’s Strongest Man as they believe he has the potential to be the strongest in history.

Fitness world goes gaga over “King of Strength” Hafthor Bjornsson’s insane lift

Praising the Icelander one of the fans kept it simple, signifying the fact that Bjornsson was the “Strongest Man in History.” Another strongman enthusiast predicted that Bjornsson was the only person who could break his own record and it may come next year. “The 501kg world deadlift record’s days are numbered; Thor is gearing up to smash his own record into pieces in 2025,” they wrote in the comments.


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While most fans had solely focused on the single lift, another fitness enthusiast had an important Hafthor Bjornsson fact to share and penned, “THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME!!! Period. Massive Congratulations on your 15th ONE THOUSAND POUNDER (5th at the ASC), the King of Strength Hafthor Julius Bjornsson!!! KOMA SVO!” 


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“At no point in that lift did it look like he had any weight in his hands. This comeback could be special,” one Instagram user wrote, hinting at the fact that how this lift could be the beginning of Bjornsson’s comeback after his self-imposed hiatus. In 2020 Bjornsson decided to call time on his strongman career, hinting at a new chapter. He then moved to boxing and in 2022 beat former World Strongest Man Eddie Hall in what was dubbed the heaviest boxing match in history. Bjornsson moved to powerlifting, before announcing his return to strongman last year.


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Hafthor Bjornsson, although out of touch with competitive strongman shows due to an injury, still showed the world his true powers through with this comeback. Hopefully, there is a lot more to come from the 35-year-old Icelander in the future.


Written by:

Pritha Halder


One take at a time

Pritha Halder is a bodybuilding writer at EssentiallySports. Specializing in covering the off-court life of bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, she can often be seen scrounging Kali Muscle’s Instagram feed to find the new fruitarian diet the fitness influencer is on. Having completed her Bachelor's in English Language and Literature from a multidisciplinary university, Pritha started her career as a writer for a literary magazine, before delving into the world of fitness.
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Edited by:

Smrutisnat Jena