Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Workout (The Mountain Training)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 13, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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What sets Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson apart from other strongmen is his incredible strength, muscle gains, and performance, all of which have raised many questions after his role as “The Mountain” in Game of Thrones.

Any workout that makes a man capable of deadlifting 501 kg is a workout worth looking into.

So after doing thorough research on this, I’ve gathered information on Hafthor’s strongman and boxing diet and training routine that I would like to share.

Hafþór Björnsson Stats

First, let's get an idea of Björnsson's stats to better understand how far his workout routine has brought him, except for the role in Game of Thrones.

Thor Björnsson stands a towering 6'9" (206 cm), weighing 156 kgs. The recent weight drop is on account of his boxing training.

He first competed in the World's Strongest Man in 2011 and he won gold at the Arnold Strongman Classic three years in a row ( 2018, 2019, and 2020).

We noticed that some of his most notable achievements in strongman competitions are personal records. Which include:

  • Deadlift (elephant bar, raw with wrist straps): 1,042 lbs
  • Keg toss: 8 kegs in 16.35 seconds. Strongman record
  • Bench press: 551 lbs.
  • Squat (with wraps): 970 lbs
  • Tire deadlift (raw with wrist straps): 1,014 lbs
  • Log press: 470 lbs

The Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Workout Routine

men working out at the gym

Although the world’s strongest man has had various workout routines throughout his strongman career, our focus will be on one of them. Additionally, we will also include a bit about his current boxing workout.

Hafþór Björnsson Warm-Ups

Although there aren't many sources going into the specificity of The Mountain's warm-up routine, I've noticed a trend from his various YouTube videos.

Before looking into his workout, Björnsson emphasizes core exercises and light dumbbell work.

Following this, Björnsson does other warm-ups such as the paused deadlift, Cuban dumbbell presses, and farmer's walk to prepare his body for some heavyweights.

Common sense dictates that he'd also do a small cardio routine to bring up body temperature, as most powerlifters do this as well.

In addition to this, Thor Björnsson would also perform light reps of the main workout. For example, if he were to focus on the bench press, he'd start with repping on the empty bar, then slightly heavier weights until his muscles were nice and limber.

Weightlifting Workout Routines

man using a barbell

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson's workout routine is renowned for his incredible strength, as demonstrated in competitions like the Arnold Strongman Classic where he set a world record as the strongest man.

First, we'll look at his strongman workout routine since that is what Thor Björnsson is known for the most.

  • Monday: squats, military press, power cleans, bent-over rows, and chin-ups.
  • Tuesday: rest day.
  • Wednesday: deadlift, 30 minutes of conditioning — sprints, kettlebell workouts, circuit training — and push press.
  • Thursday: rest day.

Friday: Speed or deadlift deficit training, front squats, bench press, 10 minutes of core exercises, and upper-body assistance work (three sets of two exercises done till failure).

  • Saturday: Practicing for strongman events. For this, Thor would practice for three to four events, repeating three sets for each.
  • Sunday: Same routine as Saturday, except he would practice one to two sets per event.
  • Björnsson also includes a whole-body routine three times a week. The specifics of this are not available online, but it’s safe to assume it includes full-body workouts like kettlebell squats, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.

Hafthor has given a small sneak preview of what he has been up to concerning his boxing training.

Endurance and fat loss have been Björnsson's boxing training’s primary focus. Boxing requires speed and endurance—something that strongmen aren't necessarily equipped for.

His weight training for boxing, which he does before his third meal, includes the following:

  1. Incline dumbbell press
  2. Face pulls
  3. Standing lat pulldowns
  4. Bicep curls

In addition to this, Thor's body includes general conditioning exercises, core training, and sparring. His recovery consists of 15 minutes in an infrared sauna and a 15-minute cryotherapy session.

Cardio Routine

An intense cardio routine should be a component of any strongman's workout regimen. Hafthor would do only a 30-minute morning cardio routine because, being a strongman, cardio was not the focus of his workout.

Now that Hafþór Björnsson has switched to boxing, cardio is crucial for his workout routine.

He gets on the assault bike right before his third meal for a cardio session. First, he goes slowly for 30 seconds, followed by a moderate pace for 20 seconds, and then all out for 10 seconds.

He repeats this another four times (a total of five sets). Following this, he takes a three-minute rest before hitting the bike for another five rounds.

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Workout Principles

shirtless man working out

Early Morning Cardio

As mentioned earlier, Hafþór Björnsson sticks to his early morning cardio sessions to make the best of his weight training session.

Research from WebMed indicates that morning exercises have numerous benefits including improved sleep and weight loss [1].

Consistency

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson's workout includes performing 5 reps and 3 sets of exercises every day, showcasing his dedication and commitment to his training.

Any experienced and successful person will tell you that consistency was key in their journey.

Hafthor preaches the same principle. He claims that sticking to a routine that includes exercise, sleep, diet, and recovery is essential to achieving peak performance.

Hafþór Björnsson’s Diet Plan

healthy meals

Since Hafthor has switched from strongman to boxing, his workouts and diet have changed.

Björnsson Strongman Diet

Based on a Facebook post from April 26, 2016, Hafþór shared what he’d eat daily for that year's preparation for World's Strongest Man. His diet consisted of 12 meals:

  • 06:50: BCAA for men, Glutamine, and a handful of almonds
  • 07:30: Eight eggs, 200g oats with blueberries and strawberries, and avocado
  • 09:30: 400g beef, 400g sweet potatoes, a handful of spinach and greens
  • 11:50: BCAA, Glutamine
  • 12:00: 400g chicken, 400 g potatoes, greens, and fruits
  • 14:00: A blended shake consisting of 150g oats or sweet potatoes, two bananas, 150g Kellogg's Rice Krispies, frozen berries, a handful of almonds, peanut butter, and glutamine
  • 14:30: BCAA, Glutamine, Vitargo
  • 17:30: 60g whey protein and two bananas
  • 18:00: 500g beef, potatoes, and green vegetables
  • 20:30: 500g salmon and 500g sweet potatoes
  • 22:30: 50g casein protein or six eggs, avocado, 30g almonds, and 50g peanut butter
  • Midnight Snack: 50g casein or raw eggs.

Hafþór had to consume between 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day. His diet consisted of a basic template- on an average day, he would consume red meat, white rice, broth, bell peppers, and spinach, all mashed together.

Additionally, he mentioned avoiding foods such as high raffinose vegetables and sugars.

Following this, he'd drink coconut water or fruit juice. He highly recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day. And if you need more calories to bulk up or for a pre-workout, add in fruit juice as well.

Thor Björnsson Boxing Diet

empty plate with one hand covered in tape measure

Since he has switched to boxing, what Thor Björnsson eats has changed in style and quantity.

His current diet plans consist of a lower meal number and lower total caloric intake. Thorn Björnsson eats around 4,000 calories with his current diet plan.

Note that his current meal plan helped him dip down to a much lower weight (55 kgs over 18 months). This is because he’s training for speed and agility, for which weight loss training is a requirement.

Hafþór is happy with his current weight.

"I'm extremely happy with my shape right now. When I started this journey, I weighed 205 kgs (451 pounds). And now I'm down to 155 kgs (341 pounds). Feeling good, feeling healthy,"

- Hafþór Björnsson , Icelandic Strongman

Regarding his strongman diet, he said, "I was force-feeding myself every single day, about to puke every single day. I kept eating because my goal was to be the strongest human on this earth."

Below is his current meal plan consisting of five meals:

  • Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs, 200g of chicken (of which he's not a huge fan), a portion of Thor's Skyr (an Icelandic yogurt brand), 40g oatmeal, and 50g blueberries.
  • Second Breakfast: 230g of red meat (tenderloin beef), 140g of white rice, and 100g of greens like spinach, zucchini, or green beans.
  • Lunch (his least favorite meal): 230g of chicken, 200g of boiled potato (sweet or white), and 100g of greens.
  • Dinner: (one of Björnsson 's faves): 230g of salmon, 100g of brown rice, and 100g of spinach.
  • Snack: Greek yogurt (250g), 100g of bananas, 30g of almond butter, and protein shake with one scoop of whey protein.

What Supplements Does He Use?

protein powder and supplements

Here is a list of supplements by which Thor Björnsson swears and why he considers them so essential to his diet:

  1. Vitamin B12: Bone strength, energy boost, and red blood cell production.
  2. Vitamin D3: Living in a geographical region where nights are longer for half the year (northern hemisphere), this nutrient is essential for calcium and phosphorus absorption.
  3. Creatine: Hafthor takes this before and after a workout to boost energy and aid muscle growth.
  4. Folate (or Vitamin B9): According to WebMed, it is good for heart and cholesterol levels [2].
  5. BCAAs: Hafthor takes BCAAs with his workouts and at lunchtime to boost muscle growth and decrease soreness.
  6. Potassium: According to WebMed, it reduces the risk of kidney and heart issues like stroke by regulating blood pressure [3].
  7. Glutamine: Björnsson takes two servings of glutamine before and after working out to boost his immunity and athletic performance.
  8. Sodium: Helps regulate fluids in the body.
  9. Casein Protein: Helps retain more muscle and burn more fat.
  10. Magnesium: Repairs DNA, boosts energy, coordinates muscle contractions, and creates protein.
  11. Hydrochloric Acid: Hafþór's coach suspects that he may be low on stomach acid, which is why he has him take this.

FAQs

How Did Hafþór Björnsson Get So Big?

Hafþór Björnsson achieved his size through a rigorous training regimen, a high-calorie diet rich in proteins and carbs, and genetic factors. His routine included heavy weightlifting, strength training, and specific exercises tailored for strongman competitions.

How Often Does Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Train in a Week?

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson typically trains five to six days per week, with each session targeting different muscle groups for optimal recovery and growth.

Does Björnsson Include Cardio in His Workout Routine?

Yes, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson incorporates cardio exercises, such as swimming and walking, to enhance endurance and maintain cardiovascular health.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/default.htm
  2. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/understanding-heart-disease-symptoms
  3. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/potassium-and-your-heart
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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