Thor Bjornsson Benches 200kg For the Easiest Ten Reps You’ve Ever Seen

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.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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