While he fell short of his goal, Björnsson successfully dipped his toes back into the powerlifting waters.

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It’s been an eventful fall for strength sports living legend Hafthor Björnsson. After some years away from Atlas stones and other heavy implements, the Icelandic athlete had announced he’d be making an eventual strongman comeback. First on his agenda, though, was a foray back into powerlifting, an effort he seems to have maximized.

On Dec. 3, 2022, Björnsson captured first place in the 140-kilogram-plus weight class at the 2022 Thor’s Christmas Powerlifting Meet. At the time of this writing, it is unclear if the competition was under the jurisdiction of a formal powerlifting organized body, though the event was held with dozens of athletes lifting in front of judges adhering to strict powerlifting standards. The contest took place at Björnsson’s home facility, Thor’s Power Gym, in Kópavogur, Iceland.


Björnsson didn’t have his eyes on notching any powerlifting records in his weight class, but he had ambitions of amassing at least a 1,000-kilogram (2,204.6-pound) total. The athlete fell short of that goal at 970 kilograms (2,138.5 pounds). He came close, nearly completing a 400-kilogram (881.8-pound) squat that could’ve helped his case, but he was unable to achieve lockout.

The all-time deadlift World Record holder (501 kilograms/1,104.5 pounds) also couldn’t reach knee-level with a final attempt of 410 kilograms (903.9 pounds) to seal the deal. With his last powerlifting meet occurring in December 2018, Björnsson is likely more accustomed to using a deadlift suit and lifting straps in a strongman context, but didn’t have that setup here — using just a lifting belt for his pulls.

Per a video of the full competition on his YouTube channel, Björnsson came down with an undisclosed illness just days before the contest, purportedly losing five kilograms (11 pounds) of body weight in a short timeframe. That situation likely may also have played a part in his strength and power not being where he wanted it to be. Nonetheless, he still took home a victory.

In addition to his belt-only deadlift, Björnsson completed his back squat with wrist wraps and knee wraps, as well as a belt, and had wrist wraps and a belt adorned for his bench press. Here’s an overview of the top stats from the powerlifter/strongman’s performance:

Hafthor Björnsson | 2022 Thor’s Christmas Powerlifting Meet

  • Squat (w/Wraps) — 380 kilograms (837.7 pounds)
  • Bench Press — 210 kilograms (463 pounds)
  • Deadlift — 380 kilograms (837.7 pounds)
  • Total — 970 kilograms (2,138.5 pounds)

Björnsson’s immediate plans for the future are unclear at this time. While he may dabble and keep his training up through the rest of the 2022 calendar year, it seems fair to assume he will otherwise not compete again until 2023. By that time, there may be more clarity on when this usual strongman will be back to doing things like pressing logs and carrying car frames again.

Featured image: @gpa_ipo_ipl on Instagram