Mike O’Hearn and Hafthor Bjornsson, two titans of strength, met up for a special collaboration on leg day. In a recent YouTube video, O’Hearn guided Bjornsson through a brutal hack squat variation as the former strongman recovers from a pec tear injury.
At 53 years old, Mike O’Hearn has become somewhat of a legend in the fitness industry for his maintenance of mass, power, and strength. In addition, he’s kept up with a remarkably ripped physique for over three decades.
With experience in bodybuilding and strongman, O’Hearn doesn’t shy away from fitness challenges. He has trained with plenty of notable figures in bodybuilding and strongman, including four-time WSM legend Brian Shaw, who recently announced his retirement from the sport.
In April, former strongman star Hafthor Bjornsson suffered a painful pec tear on his third attempt at trying to bench press 556.7 pounds. While Hafthor revealed his upper chest was torn off the bone, he’s not letting the setback stop him from working out completely.
Mike O’Hearn Guides Injured Hafthor Bjornsson Through Longevity Leg Workout Created by Tom Platz
O’Hearn used the hack squat machine to demonstrate a technique he learned from Tom Platz. Platz, known as the ‘The Quadfather,’ possessed some of the best legs in bodybuilding history.
“That is a quad, that’s a teardrop at the knee, keep it healthy, they’re going to freak out, ‘What? How is that healthy?’ Because we’re stressing. Remember what we talked about, load the joints. The muscle is only so strong. The joints is God’s gift. I’m trying to force it, the joints and ligaments around the knee to be so strong. I learned this in 1989, Tom Platz, training with him from 89 to the early 90s, this is something he lived with.”
“I could see at that stage how strong his connective tissue [was], his legs were enormous, Tom Platz, great legs, but his knees were so healthy. That’s again, another fun exercise that somebody your size that’s a rarity to see that kind of movement. So we’ll do a moderate and see where we can find stress in the knee in a safe position.”
Hafthor was impressed with O’Hearn’s variation of the hack squat, where he utilized a wedge to place his feet at an angle.
“He’s just so focused each and every rep every set, he manages in the moment, everything with his muscles, the tightness of the squeeze,” Hafthor said about O’Hearn.
O’Hearn highlighted why the technique is so effective for quad training.
“I don’t know if you guys can see it at home, the difference between, you’re still leading with the quads compared to leading with the hip,” O’Hearn said. “So the way he was doing it first of all, he was great for the first time doing it but it was still a hack squat because it wasn’t leading with the ass. The last couple of reps were beautiful because he was rotating the ass up, stretching the quads, and getting more isolation. It’s such an odd position.”
Even though they were lifting light weights, Bjornsson was surprised by the work rate.
“You feel like you’re working so hard but at the same time, it’s light weight. It’s a very interesting movement for sure, different, like I said, like I’ve never done before,” shared Hafthor.
Bjornsson asked if O’Hearn adds extra weight or keeps the workout light when on his own.
“I do add more and more but I want to try to get a better range of motion. On this one… this would be like a finisher for me, I’d hit my squats, I’d do like a leg press or a similarity squat, some kind of moderation – we have a like I said, kind of hack squat and then I’d do something like this at the end to kind of finish that leg out.”
“Stress done right will strengthen your body,” said O’Hearn. “The possibility of you being like this in 30 years… is a possibility, it really is. Where most people will go, I hit 30, I hit 35, I’m done, I’m only going to get older and weaker but that’s not the mentality you have.”
Before wrapping up the video, Hafthor explained how training has changed from his 20s to his 30s.
“In your 30s, you got to be more detailed, more prepared, and have everything lined up: nutrition, sleep, training, recovery, rest, everything has to be dialed in and I can’t even imagine, I know that every single day you’re doing whatever you can to even get 1% better,” Hafthor Bjornsson said.
This isn’t the first time Mike O’Hearn has led a longevity-inspired training session. He joined Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son, Joseph Baena recently, where they teamed up to attack a back training session. During the workout, O’Hearn shared that some of the movements they practiced could help Baena’s joints when he’s around his father’s age (75).
While the technique may differ from the norm, Mike O’Hearn is living evidence of his training practices and has employed these exercises for more than three decades.
RELATED: Hafthor Bjornsson Shares Intense Pre-Surgery Recovery Techniques for Gruesome Pec Tear
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