How Bodybuilder Ryan Terry Trained Upper Body with Strongman Hafthor Björnsson

"The Mountain" trained Terry through a strongman chest and back workout, but now the Mountain may be in bad condition.

The 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Hafthor Björnsson gave Men’s Physique bodybuilder Ryan Terry the pleasure of being coached through a strongman workout. The recording of their chest and back workout was published on Ryan Terry’s YouTube on April 19th, 2023.

Early in the video, Terry described his typical workout routine that includes short rest periods (60 seconds max) between his five to six exercises per body part. He performs three heavy working sets per exercise in the 10-12 rep range. Terry’s training methodology is not allowing recovery between sets to maintain an elevated heart rate and higher training intensity, which directly conflicts with Björnsson’s training philosophy of allowing ample rest between sets due to heavier loads.

Check out their training session below:

[Related: 2023 Strongman Champions League Finland Results]

Hafthor Björnsson and Ryan Terry’s Chest Workout

Here is how the workout goes:

Flat Barbell Chest Press

The duo performed plenty of warm-up sets on the bench press before adding load. They started with an empty barbell and worked their way up to sets of one to three reps with 95 percent of their one-rep max. Björnsson’s top set was a 230-kilogram (500-pound) single.

A flat chest press focuses on the pectoralis major and involves some triceps stabilization. The combination of high weight with few reps is likely more conducive to building strength rather than maximizing hypertrophy

High-Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

The second exercise for Terry and Björnsson involved switching tactics: lower weight and more reps. The steeper incline biases the upper chest and front delts. The higher volume aims for a more hypertrophic response as the upper chest and shoulders are sustained under tension through their full range of motion for more time.


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A post shared by Ryan Terry 🇬🇧 (@ryanjterry)

[Related: 2023 1st Phorm St. Louis Pro Men’s Physique and Women’s Physique Show Results]

Seated Horizontal Cable Row

After the two anterior upper body exercises, Björnsson works his back via a seated cable row — three sets for 10-12 reps. Hitting both chest and back in the same workout can potentially better prevent muscular imbalances. The bodybuilder and the strongman went heavy but maintained higher rep ranges nearing failure in each set.

Cable Face Pulls

Terry and Björnsson used a cable machine for two sets of face pulls to finish their workout. Face pulls target the rear delts and rhomboids. Much like the high-incline dumbbell press, face pulls are typically used as an accessory exercise for back strength and aesthetics.

After their workout, Terry and Björnsson practiced competition posing — Terry was about six weeks out from his first pro show of 2023 at the time of their workout.


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A post shared by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson)

[Related: Andrei Kozhaker Wins 2023 Korea AGP Pro Classic Physique Show]

Björnsson’s Pec Tear

Unfortunately, not long after his workout with Terry, Björnsson suffered a pec injury during a powerlifting meet in his gym in Iceland on Saturday, April 15, 2023. He explained what occurred in further detail via the video, courtesy of his YouTube channel:

Björnsson’s goal for 2024 was to break Dan Bell‘s all-time raw (w/wraps) world record total before making his competitive strongman return in 2024. While it is unclear at the time of this article’s publication if Björnsson will recover in time to contend for Bell’s record within that time frame, his injury is indicative that proper form, breath support, and having a quality spotting are non-negotiables in training and competition.

Featured image: @ryanjterry on Instagram