On May 2, 2020, the “Game of Thrones” star, Hafthor Bjornsson, set a new deadlift world record – 1,104 pounds (501kg). Bjornsson broke the previous record of 1,102.31 pounds (500kg), set by Eddie Hall in 2016. How did he do it and what is the opinion of the experts?
We wanted to get into details about this amazing performance, so we invited Sean Donegan, who is a powerlifting veteran to share his thoughts along with the owner of [Hidden Gym] – Greg McCoy.
Hafthor Bjornsson weighs 425 pounds and has a bodybuilding frame – small waist, big quads, and big shoulders. He has “smaller” body, compared to typical powerlifters’ physique, which helps him get into the perfect deadlift position. He had two opening attempts before the big lift – 825 lbs and 1025 lbs.
Before he made the lift, his coach used trigger techniques to get his nervous system going, such as aggressive talk, slap on the shoulders and on the back. Hafthor sniffed smelling salts, also known as ammonia inhalants – chemical compounds, used to arouse consciousness. Once he was aroused enough – he got on the stage looking confident and without any doubting his abilities, he lifted 1,104 lbs, making it looks easy.
How exactly did he do it? Besides being strong and well prepared, his deadlift technique was brilliant.
Expert Breakdown of Top 5 deadlift tips that Bjornsson used in his performance
Start using them right away to get your form and technique to the next level
- When you are trying to pull the max lift, do not start cold. Work your way up to it but make sure you don’t wear yourself out on the warm ups. It works best to have 2-3 heavy warm ups before the big lift, and a few light and quick ones – this way you are not fatiguing yourself, while the quick reps get your nervous system going.
- Pick your toes up before the start. In order to avoid leaning forward while performing, pick your toes up a few times when you go to the bar.
- Strap in and prepare for the lift with your hips up, legs straight. When you bent into the hamstrings for more than two seconds, you are destroying the stretch reflex. The deadlift has no load like the squat or the bench press, which means there is no eccentric phase, so try to get more rebound before the lift.
- Before the start of the lift – stand a bit further from the bar and roll yourself into the bar. This way you are levering yourself in the right position and stretching your hamstrings, which makes them ready to explode.
- Lower your body as low as you can, keep your upper back tight and low back – arched. As soon as you pull into that arch, your glutes are activated and help you squat straight up.
While these tips might sound simple, they are actually very effective and allow you to perform safely, using the maximum of your strength. Hafthor Bjornsson did all of these and broke the world deadlift record with one smooth movement.
Remember that it is always easier to lift on a competition than it is in the gym, where nobody is watching you. The excitement and the vibe from the big day also play a big role in the performance. Olympians perform their best on competition days.
Do not get overwhelmed, if there are times in the gym, when you cannot push yourself to the limit. It is important to realize that there are many factors responsible for the performance, especially if you are not a professional athlete. People usually have other responsibilities, such as work, study, family duties, and much more. Altogether, the stress from your life outside the gym has an impact on abilities on a certain day, so make sure you are not too harsh on yourself, if something is not going the way you wanted to.
These heavy lifts do not happen overnight; it takes a decent amount of time and dedication to get there. Make sure you trust the process and do not rush anything – hard work will take you where you need to be, as long as you do not give up on your goals.
Are you from Allen or Plano and looking for a place to train hard? Come by [Hidden Gym] and join the fitness club. Our professional trainers can teach you how to lift the right way and help you maximize your potential. [Hidden Gym] aims to bring out the fittest version of you!