Mike O’Hearn and Hafthor Björnsson Speak on the Importance of Range of Motion and Embracing a Challenge

The 2018 World's Strongest Man was interviewed on "The Mike O'Hearn Show."

Episode 32 of The Mike O’Hearn Show was published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Feb. 10, 2023. It featured the 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Hafthor Björnsson and Mike O’Hearn discussing the lifestyle required to be the best in a given discipline. While O’Hearn may not have experience in strongman competition, the two physical juggernauts connect over their experiences of lifting heavy weights and performing in front of the camera.

O’Hearn is known for his role of Titan on American Gladiators, among other performances on the silver screen. Björnsson became a household name as Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Check out their full interview together in the video below:

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The conversation opened with pleasantries before shifting quickly into the career O’Hearn has had in fitness. O’Hearn stated that his first bodybuilding contest was in 1983, five years before Björnsson was born.

Train for range of motion. Muscle comes and goes, but the connective tissue [is] healthy, you can continue to train like you’re 19, 20 years old.

Björnsson suggested that O’Hearn has always had a densely muscular frame. The show’s host retorts that that’s a byproduct of his focus, which was less on muscle and more on his range of motion, connective tissue, and bone density.

Try to keep the body as functional as possible.

While moving through a full range of motion for something like an incline bench press is “elementary,” according to O’Hearn, he was impressed by how Björnsson routinely moves through it. Most are often distracted by how heavy the load is and don’t recognize that the form is functional.

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Committed Mindset

To reach the pinnacle of a discipline like strongman, Björnsson says one needs to live the mindset of a champion and the sacrifices that come with that 365 days per year. That includes not drinking, potentially sacrificing relationships in order to maintain a training schedule rather than being social, and committing to a diet that will fuel the physical needs and recovery.

There’s no shortcut, there’s no excuses.

Björnsson mentioned that he’s seen many athletes that are talented in the field of play but have one or two bad habits that become their long-term detriment, whether it be they smoke cigarettes or have the inclination to party.

If you’re obsessed to be the best, you’ll do it. If you’re not, so be it, you’ll just be average.

O’Hearn tags onto Björnsson’s idea by addressing the danger of “potential” — meaning that when someone believes they have the potential, they may “phone it in” rather than put in the work to achieve that potential. The feeling of having potential could undercut the challenging journey to realize it.

Be sure to watch the full interview between O’Hearn and Björnsson to hear the insight both athletes shared on how to become the best in the world.

Featured image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram