Despite setbacks, Hafthor Bjornsson is ready to make a splash in his strongman return. Speaking with legend Brian Shaw on YouTube, Bjornsson revealed his mindset heading into three strongman contests and discussed his commitment to the sport.
“I obviously feel good about it,” added Bjornsson. “I’ve got to listen to my body. That’s number one and to make sure not to get ahead of myself. That’s the main thing.”
Widely regarded as one of the greatest strongman talents of all time, Hafthor Bjornsson has built a sterling reputation thanks to his jarring strength and power. As the only man to win the Arnold Strongman Classic, Europe’s Strongest Man, and World’s Strongest Man in the same calendar year, “The Mountain’s” contest appearances always seemed extra special.
Initially, Bjornsson planned to make another statement by participating in powerlifting. However, that all changed when he tore his pec off the bone attempting a 556.7-pound bench press. Pausing his powerlifting ambitions, Bjornsson began the healing process. Now, with the 2024 Arnold Strongman Classic approaching, he opened up to Brian Shaw about how he plans to approach his return to strongman.
Hafthor Bjornsson Joins Brian Shaw To Discuss 2024 Arnold Strongman Comeback: ‘Who Knows, I Might Win’
According to Bjornsson, his three-show stretch will include the 2024 Arnold Strongman Classic, the Arnold in Birmingham, and the Rogue Invitationals.
“Yeah, well I’ve decided to compete at the Arnold in Columbus, Ohio in March and then the Arnold in Birmingham. It’s two weeks later. Then, the Rogue Invitationals, those are the three shows that I have dedicated myself to. But who knows… I might compete more.”
Having just recovered from his injury, Bjornsson plans to take training slow.
“Keeping that in the back of my head that I’ve got to be careful. I’ve got to listen to my body. If I feel like my body is not strong enough to lift something, I’m not going to push.”
Even though ‘Thor’ admits he can’t go “all-in,” he still believes he’s a dangerous threat at any strongman competition.
“I feel like my body might need more time to go absolutely all-in. I’m not going to risk an injury again. Sure, so I’m going to try to be, very obviously well-prepared, select the weights very carefully, not trying to chase the guys, if that makes sense, but just do what I know I should be able to lift without getting injured. Since this is my first competition coming back I’ve got to be a bit careful.
“I still believe that I’m going to be a danger. I still believe I can do a lot of damage there and if the guys are not prepared who knows, I might win. We’ll see. We’ll see. I know the guys are obviously, I have a lot of respect for the guys. It’s going to be a hell of a show, for me to be able to win, I would have to be extremely strong.”
While Shaw stepped away from his legendary strongman career, he’s thrilled to watch Hafthor Bjornsson make his return.
“It’ll be fun for me to watch and see where you can get to and how you approach it and whatever. Obviously, if you have questions or whatever, I’m more than willing to give insight because it’s just – it is different as you get to be kind of that mid-30s range.
It’s just it’s one of those things where having that confidence to trust yourself but not have to prove it in training necessarily, right? You just know it’s going to be there and it’s in the tank when you walk into the contest,” explains Shaw.
Strongman Legend Brian Shaw Discusses Health, Mobility, Boxing Ventures, and Life in Retirement
Shaw has yet to decide on an ideal weight since moving on from strongman competitions.
“I haven’t really picked a number [what weight I want to be]. It’s kind of been in my head like I want to go down to maybe each kind of five or 10 pounds and see how I feel. Then, I mean… at the end of the day I love lifting and I love training. So I’m going to do that forever.
It’s not something where I’m okay I’m retiring from strongman now I’m not going to do any training or anything like that. I love it and I will always be in the gym. The question is what weight do I feel the best and I feel like I look the way I want to look and I’m happy right? I have to answer that question and it’s an interesting one man. I’m sure you got quite a bit of this,” explains Brian Shaw.
As for his latest challenges, Shaw said boxing footwork has been by far the most tricky:
Managing that, because he said, for me, I’m just too heavy to do too much of that. I’ve been on a treadmill, incline, really fast, getting my heart rate up and maintaining that. I’ve done some stair mill and things like that, which that one will beat you up a little bit more from the constant climbing. Knees are good right now, knock on wood,” added Shaw.
“We have to manage how much of the footwork and how much of a beating I take on that stuff because he’s like, ‘we can’t do that to you where you’re going to get so so beat up and get so inflamed.’
“I feel okay with moving around, but I’ve got to get better with the footwork, I’ve got to get better with everything. The footwork has to get better.”
Arguments about the greatest strongman athlete have long raged on. Just recently, the reigning World’s Strongest Man and Arnold Strongman Classic titleholder Mitchell Hooper compared his competitive record to Bjornsson’s and Eddie Hall’s. In the end, Mitchell favored his achievements over Eddie Hall, but gave Thor the nod in terms of accolades.
On Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2 — the 2024 Arnold Strongman Classic in Columbus, Ohio will welcome 11 of the world’s most powerful strongman competitors. Having recovered from his pec tear, Hafthor Bjornsson is eager to prove himself but will approach the event cautiously to avoid another setback.