Hafthor Björnsson Sets New Weight Over Bar World Record of 20 Feet, 3 Inches; Teases Competitive Return to Strongman

After a two-year-long boxing career, the Icelandic strongman returned to break his own record.

Two years after retiring from the sport of strongman to pursue a boxing career, Hafthor “The Mountain” Björnsson traveled to the 2022 Rogue Invitational in Austin, TX, to break his own Weight Over Bar World Record.

Thor broke the record by one inch, tossing the 25.4-kilogram (56-pound) weight 23 feet and three inches over the bar. Looking noticeably svelter, thanks to his weight loss for boxing, Björnsson wore the kilt of the late legendary strongman and historian Terry Todd for the attempt — a nod to and show of respect for his friend. 

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s really tempting to come back [to strongman], especially to compete in a show like this [the Rogue Invitational strongman competition],” Björnsson said in his post-record interview. “You never know. I haven’t made my decision today, but I can tell you this — I might come back.” 

During his time as a boxer, Björnsson downsized his physique from about 450 pounds (at 6’9″ tall) to 344 pounds, as of October 2021. Thor didn’t reveal his weight at the time of his Weight Over Bar attempt.

Thor’s Strongman Career

The old record was set at the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic, which Björnsson won. After asking for support from the crowd, he grasped the ring on the weight with his left hand, swung it to prepare twice, then gave it one good toss, which cleared the bar by several inches. He only needed one attempt to finish the job. Immediately afterward, Björnsson celebrated with his son and wife.

This was Björnsson’s first strongman-specific event since winning his 10th Iceland’s Strongest Man title in 2020. He had dedicated a long time to training and competing in boxing, culminating in his victory over longtime rival Eddie Hall in March of 2022.

Aside from this record, Björnsson is the owner of the heaviest strongman deadlift. He pulled 501 kilograms (1,102 pounds) in May 2020 on the premiere episode of World’s Ultimate Strongman’s Feats of Strength series. He has also won several titles, including three Arnold Strongman Classic titles, the 2018 World’s Strongest Man, and the 2018 World’s Ultimate Strongman championship. He’s the only man to win all three titles.

Back to Strongman?

Björnsson spoke after the record-breaking toss to dedicate the moment to Todd. Björnsson won’t be stopping with this event, either. On Dec. 3, 2022, Björnsson will enter a powerlifting meet with hopes of totaling 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) across all three lifts (the deadlift, back squat, and bench press). He will compete in that meet as a raw lifter, so he won’t use a suit or bench press shirt to assist him on the lifts.

Björnsson didn’t say for sure whether he was returning to competition, but in a video published on his YouTube channel on Oct. 17, Thor said he was done with boxing and announced this World Record attempt. 

Fans would surely enjoy watching a leaner, faster Björnsson compete in strongman. His new sub-400-pound body weight makes him comparable to Oleksii Novikov, who won the 2022 Rogue Invitational strongman show, and Mitchell Hooper, who got third. 

Strongman promotion Giant’s Live lists Novikov at 298 pounds and Hooper at 308 pounds. Yet, despite being “small” for their sport, they both consistently put on well-rounded performances at the world’s most significant events.

Hooper completed Rogue’s Yoke and Log Medley in 32 seconds and lifted all five Inver stones in 26 seconds. Novikov pressed a 542 Flintstone barbell at the 2022 World’s Strongest Man competition and completed the Rogue Yoke and Log Medley in under one minute. Both men are strong and fast, signaling that 33-year-old Björnsson may return to strongman competitions as an improved athlete.

More Rogue Invitational Content

The 2022 Rogue Invitational takes place from Oct. 27-30, making Sunday, Oct. 30, the last day of competition. The Rogue Record Breakers was occurring at the time this article was published, and there are still two CrossFit events left. Check out these articles from BarBend to stay up to date on all the action:

Additional Reporting by Roger Lockridge.

Featured Image: Patrick Clark / Athlete’s Eye Photography