A month ago, 2017 wasn’t looking so good for Hafthor Bjornsson. In late March, he announced on Instagram that he had been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a condition that results in the temporary paralysis of one side of the face.

Undeterred, Bjornsson went on to win the 2017 Europe’s Strongest Man contest in England, and in a new video, he’s showing his training for the World’s Strongest Man contest is going pretty well. Check out this clip of Bjornsson benching 200kg — 441 pounds, or about 20 pounds over his bodyweight — for a very easy-looking ten reps. (This makes it cardio, right?)

The Mountain isn’t even driving with his feet or arching his back for these, and it looked like he had plenty more reps in the tank. Of course, the bench press isn’t a strongman event, but it’s an excellent way to improve at the pressing events.

The video is also drawing attention because of Bjornsson’s use of a mouth guard. While this isn’t as popular a practice as it once was, the idea is that clenching one’s teeth can help to produce a better aligned jaw and thoracic position and potentially (maybe) improve power output.

The World’s Strongest Man event is taking place between the 20th and 23rd of May, with the 27th and 28th reserved for the Grand Final. Bjornsson isn’t just training hard for the event; he’s also using oxygen treatment in an attempt to improve his recovery.

Last year, Brian Shaw took home the title of World’s Strongest Man by a mere two points over Bjornsson. It was Bjornsson’s fifth consecutive year in the top three finishers, though he has never taken the title. However, Bjornsson won more events at the 2016 contest than any other athlete, and that includes Brian Shaw. We think he’s going to put up a hell of a fight for first place in 2017.

Featured image via @thorbjornsson on Instagram.


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I’m a journalist and content producer with over seven years' reporting experience on four continents, with most of that spent covering health-related issues. My resume includes covering cholera outbreaks in Kenya and the clubbing scene in Shanghai, which is also where I wrote my first ever health article for an English language magazine. (It was on diarrhea.)After returning to Australia to finish up degrees in Journalism and International Relations I wound up in New York City where I’ve worked for Men’s Health, VICE, Popular Science and others. I try to keep health relatively simple — it’s mostly vegetables and sweat — but I live to explore the debates, the fringes, the niche, and the nitty gritty.