Ever dream of bench pressing over 500 pounds or squatting 770 pounds? Perhaps you want to deadlift nearly 1000 pounds. Only a fictional character like the “Incredible Hulk” or “Superman” could perform a feat like this, right? Well, there is one human that can do it and that is Hafthor Julius Bjornsson. He is better known as “The Mountain” on HBO’s fictional hit series “Game of Thrones” where he is carving up others with his massive sword. When he is not acting though, the 2014 World’s Strongest Man runner-up is working on his physique. The Icelandic-born Bjornsson looks like he is carved out of stone and stands 6-foot-9 and weighs nearly 420 pounds. In addition to both acting and competing in Strongman competitions, he is a former professional basketball player and was nearly signed by the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts who were impressed with his size, strength, and speed despite never playing football. To maintain such a muscular frame, “The Mountain” works out in the weight room three times per week and practices for Strongman competitions on the weekends. To fuel his body, Bjornsson consumes seven meals totaling an astounding 10,000 calories per day. Yes, 10,000 calories may be more than some consume in an entire week, but fueling “The Mountain” is like gassing up an 18-wheeler.
Moving The Mountain: Hafthor Julius Bjornsson’s Workout
Bjornsson’s workout routine emphasizes hitting the entire body each training session instead of a traditional split-body strength regimen. He uses compound movements, such as squats and deadlifts, which incorporate multiple muscle groups and maximize size and strength gains. These movements are particularly helpful for Strongman training. Isolation exercises such as bicep curls or leg extensions are not as useful as every Strongman event involves full body movements. “The Mountain’s” set and rep schemes are always changing as he adjusts each to increase benefits, but he consistently follows a Monday, Wednesday, Friday weight training schedule with Strongman event training on Saturday and Sunday.
Squats – 3 sets of 10 reps
Military Press – 4 sets of 8 reps
Power Cleans – 5 sets of 5 reps
Chinups – 3 sets to failure
Bent Over Rows – 3 sets of 10 reps
Deadlift – 3 sets of 10 reps
Conditioning – 30 minutes (circuit training, sprints, kettle bell exercises)
Push Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
Speed or Deficit Deadlift – 5 sets of 5 reps
Front Squat – 3 sets of 10 reps
Bench Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
Upper Body Assistance Exercises – Any two exercises done for 3 sets to failure
Core Exercises – 10 minutes
Fueling The Mountain: Bjornsson’s Diet
To fuel the body of a 420-pound Strongman, “The Mountain” needs an abundance of calories. To get him through his rigorous training schedule, he consumes about 10,000 calories per day spaced out over seven meals. Bjornsson works with a nutritionist to ensure that he is getting enough calories and that the foods he eats are nutrient-dense. Instead of poor sources of carbohydrates such as chips, soda and cookies, “The Mountain” focuses on eating foods such as oatmeal, fruits and whole grains. His carbohydrate intake is high, but due to his intense workout sessions he has to have excellent sources of carbohydrates to optimize his performance. Bjornsson consumes plenty of protein as well from sources such as eggs, chicken, fish and other lean meats. “The Mountain” also supplements his diet with glutamine, creatine and whey protein.
So, do you want to be a Strongman?