The 2018 World’s Strongest Man champion Hafthor Bjornsson is scheduled to attempt a world record 501kg/1,104lb deadlift on Saturday, May 2 in his home gym in Reykjavik, Iceland. In preparation for that deadlift, Bjornsson shared on his YouTube channel that he would deadlift 470kg/1,036lb via Twitch. He then went live on Twitch the following day and did exactly that.
Check out that monstrous lift from Steve Woad’s YouTube Channel for easier viewing below:
You can hear this yelled off-screen right before Bjornsson’s lift and indeed it appeared as though it was for him. Do not be fooled though, 470kg/1,037lb is a massive weight that Bjornsson has been training a long time to pull on his road to the 501kg/1,104lb deadlift.
This past March, the man won his third consecutive Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC), also winning the Rogue Elephant Bar deadlift event with a 465kg pull on his second attempt. He also deadlifted 480kg/1,058lb in training this February; if it had been lifted on a platform, it would have been the heaviest deadlift of all time made without a deadlift suit. (He did use wrist straps.) He has proven that he can lift over a thousand pounds for reps, like the 455kg/1,003lb double. (Which he swears he could have pulled four times.)
There is a lot of hype surrounding this 501kg world record attempt on May 2nd — Magnus Ver Magnusson is the official referee and it will be aired live on ESPN throughout the United States. Bjornsson has attempted the record before and narrowly missed it at the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic.
Many other big names in strongman who have competed against Bjornsson have voiced their thoughts about him attempting the record in his gym. And Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw, and Robert Oberst have concerns.
The consensus is that this lift is good for its entertainment value but should not be considered a world record since it will be performed outside of competition.
During a live Q&A on his YouTube channel, Hall questioned the legitimacy of the lift being done Bjornsson’s home gym saying:
“If the tables were turned and I was doing that, people would call B.S. So I’m calling B.S. on Thor.”
Hall explicitly and repeatedly said that he did “not trust the Icelandics,” which caused a very public feud between the two on Instagram. Hall eventually clarified that he meant he didn’t trust Thor and his team, he didn’t mean he didn’t trust every Icelandic person ever. Which isn’t the best apology, particularly as he made it clear that if it’s successful, he is not going to count Bjornsson’s 501kg/1,104lb deadlift a world record.
Oberst went further than Hall, saying that Bjornsson should not do the attempt at all if it will be outside competition. See his full response in the video below from his YouTube channel:
“We have to stand together. We have to. We can’t let the sport fall by the wayside just because we want to compete. It’s time to sit this one out.”
In his response, Shaw said it would be like “opening Pandora’s box” with regard to the world record attempt taking place in Bjornsson’s home gym (a sentiment that Oberst agreed with). The idea being that once a world record can be considered official when broken outside of competition, then any other record is fair game in the same vain. This is something both Shaw and Oberst expressed they believe would damage the sport significantly. You can See Shaw’s full response in the video below from his YouTube channel:
Despite the resistance from the some of the other biggest names in strongman, Bjornsson’s world record deadlift attempt is still scheduled to happen. Judging from his latest deadlifts, he seems a lot more interested in pulling the heaviest weight ever than he is in the opinions of his rivals.
Feature image from Steve Woad’s YouTube Channel.