At an exhibition event sponsored by WOW Airlines in Reykjavik last week, many of Iceland’s most elite strength athletes gathered for an incredible competition of strength and functional fitness.

One of the best highlights that’s currently tearing up Instagram is this phenomenal video of Hafthor Bjornsson, in which he muscle cleans and presses 195kg (430lb) like it doesn’t weigh a thing.

For a budget airline, WOW has done a surprisingly good job of keeping its finger on the pulse of Iceland‘s love of strength sports. This year was its inaugural WOW Stronger event, which brought together the likes of Hafthor Bjornsson, Annie Thorisdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Frederik AegidiusKatrin Davidsdottir, and other athletes from around the globe to compete against one another in three-person teams of two men and one woman.

The winning team overall, not surprisingly, was comprised of Bjornsson, Thorisdottir, and Aegidius.

Second place went to “Team 3,” made up of Sara Sigmundsdottir, Throstur Olason, and Elijah Muhammad, while third place went to Katrin Davidsdottir, Alec Smith, and Paul Tremblay in “Team 2.”

Events included 1RM deadlifts (won by Bjornsson with a 300kg (661.3lb) pull), max rep muscle ups (won by Sigmundsdottirr at 18 reps), men’s overhead squat ladders (Elijah Muhammad and Paul Tremblay tying at 170kg (374.8lb)) and women’s snatch ladders (Sigmundsdottir also coming out on top with a 90kg (198.4lb) lift).

You can see Alec Smith and Hafthor Bjornsson go head to head in a clean ladder in the video below, which Bjornsson ultimately won with a 186kg (410lb) lift.

You can also watch the snatch that won Thorisdottir second place in the snatch ladder with 87kg (191.8lb).

Of course, as per usual, the weekend saw plenty of humans lifting humans as well.

All in all, WOW Stronger was an electrifying contest of strength and fitness, and we’re definitely looking forward to next year’s event.

Featured image via @strongmanmotivation on Instagram.


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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 different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)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.