Björnsson kitted out in some snazzy new gear.
In early 2023, Hafthor Bjornsson announced that he would be returning to both professional strongman and powerlifting. However, after making remarkable progress in training, the former 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Champion tore his left pectoral muscle, temporarily disrupting some of his scheduled competition times. As he continues to work to regain strength, Bjornsson recently revealed he’s busy with other things.
On July 20, 2023, Björnsson posted a video on his YouTube channel explaining how he used a new (total) investment of $116,000 to expand his personal gym in Kópavogur, Iceland. The athlete seemed to have thought of everything, purchasing and showcasing various high quality pieces of equipment focused on building leg, upper body and back strength.
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To make room for his new equipment – which is aimed primarily at taller athletes – Björnsson bought the equipment next to his gym’s main building. Here’s an overview of what he went through in the video:
Bjornsson said his new squat machine was his favorite purchase. The device allows an athlete to perform squats without a barbell and without additional pressure on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and back. Athletes fix themselves with a seat belt on the machine.
“This is the belt squat, which is probably the best investment I’ve ever made,” Bjornsson explained. “Because I can train my legs right away… I’ve wanted this for years and I finally have one.”
Lying Hamstring Curl
A lying hamstring curl allows athletes to build muscle and strength in their hamstrings by either curling with both legs or performing a one-legged variation from the prone position. Björnsson’s new curling machine was almost twice the size of a conventional machine.
Standing calf raises and leg extensions
Like most of his machines, Bjornsson’s calf raise could support more weight than standard machines, making it a potentially ideal machine for more robust, taller athletes. Now the leg extension machine is more of a traditional twist that helps tone the quadriceps muscles appropriately.
Flat chest press and incline chest press
Bjornsson placed his flat chest press and incline chest press machines near the entrance of his new unit to accommodate athletes looking to train their pecs. Both offer quality chest training options as an alternative to the more traditional barbell bench press.
Combo pec flye-reverse flye, cable machine, and inverse leg curl
As his tour continued, Björnsson presented a multi-purpose upper body machine that allowed him to perform both breaststroke and rear hang gliding. He also introduced an adjustable cable machine to isolate and contract upper body muscles from different angles. The reverse leg curl machine makes a change, but is still an effective way to train balance and functional strength from an unconventional position, similar to the Nordic hamstring curl, which uses only bodyweight. The exercise might be more challenging for taller athletes considering the amount of bodyweight they need to lift, and the inverse curl machine allows resistance to be added to aid the movement.
Björnsson seemed to be a big fan of the latter.
“It [the inverse curl] is very cool for heavy guys,” said Björnsson. “It’s a hamstring killer. The more weight you gain, the easier it becomes. I think it was made for big boys because big boys have a hard time doing that particular move.”
Seal Row, Hip Quad Machine, Hack Squat
To conclude his tour, Bjornsson introduced the Seal Row, equipment that sees athletes perform a rigorous variation of the barbell row. The difference is that athletes lie face down on the seal row bench to perform the row, ignoring the legs and lower back. The hip quad machine effectively isolates the hamstrings, and a hack squat engages much more of the quads than a barbell squat due to the positioning of the machine, while also supporting the upper body, which reduces lower back fatigue.
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According to a July 2023 Instagram post, Bjornsson is on track to fully recover from his chest injury. The athlete clarified that he was gradually regaining “full range of motion” and was “feeling better” week by week. Maybe when the time comes, when he recovers, he’ll put his new equipment to good use.
Featured image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram