Like the 200,000+ YouTube viewers (not counting the Twitch or other Socials that were engaged to stream the event)tuning in on May 2, at 12:00pm ET, my eyes were attempting to comprehend what a 501kg deadlift would look like. Assume what you wish on the lift increase on the previous world record of 500kg by one whole kilogram; the feat of strength that the audience was about to witness would be phenomenal. And boy oh boy, did it not disappoint.
500kg is the unhuman marker that powerlifters and strongmen gauge their merits by. This since it was broken by none other than strongman legend, Eddie Hall. When the towering Brit hauled the 500kg piece of equipment at the 2016 edition of the European Strongest Man / World Strongest Man competition, spectators were left to no imagination about what it took to pull such a weight off the floor. In later YouTube uploads (Yes, I am a subscriber of his), Eddie was candid on the aftermath that ensued post-500kg lift. Left in a daze and with a blood pressure metric on the other end of normal standards, Eddie describes that moment as close to death as he could have experienced. Not enviable by any stretch, the video discussed the details and mentality one needed to set to even think it possible to lift the 500kg bar.
Hall retained his record for 4 straight years, with many a challenger attempting the infamous test of might. A persistent on of which is the Icelandic protagonist plastered at the front of every fitness platform today. The behemoth that is — Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Thor, or The Mountain (GOT).
By whatever reference to the 6"9 genetic gift you make, the fitness world was ground to a deadlifting thunk. Approaching the feat after successfully, and might I add with a certain degree of routine, two prior lifts (420kg, 465kg), Thor looked prime and ready to take center stage. And after mandatory live weighing of the weights, all Thor had to do was lift the bar.
The strongman could not have asked for a more world-record-breaking vibe to be set. That same token in mind, you could have just as easily chosen a pre-lift ritual from the day before and the result would still be the same. The guy has found what works for him, and what has him perform at his best. For myself, not being a powerlifter, I could not imagine having to have someone tightly caress the upper lobes of my ears to fire me up for a lift — I’m not lifting 501 kg, I’m working with 100kg. Nor would I have a team of dedicated Icelandic mates cheering and screaming at me to lift that bar up — I wear noise-canceling headphones.
But even those couldn’t handle my fist triumphantly smashing my desk. Ending the rep, Thor gave out a belter of relief and emotion for the whole world to see and appreciate. Undoubtedly, it had a whole lot of us fitness enthusiasts racing for a run at the deadlift. More still, the performance and the later interview spotlighted Thor’s mindset for the lift. The desire to break 500kg had him in the gym every day, bettering himself; preparing himself for what he believed was an eventuality.
Standing as a testament to Thor’s lifting legacy, he joins Eddie Hall, as the few to enter the 500kg Deadlift club. Mind you, Hafþór has made it Icelandically clear that he sees himself going heavier. Just when and how heavy, we will have to wait for a media update from his social channels. We’ve not heard the last of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson and his incredible mountainous power.
Til hamingju! Congratulations Thor!