The Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Program (501 KG!) is the program I’ve been using for the last 5 weeks to build my deadlift to almost 500 pounds. It’s helped me add over 30 pounds to my deadlift in the last 6 weeks. The program consists of 3 different phases, each phase includes several exercises that target a different aspect of the deadlift. Phase 1 of the program is all about triple extension. Phase 2 is about hip mobility and flexibility. Phase 3 focuses on building the lockout of the deadlift.

Recently, we wrote about top-heavy weightlifters and the death-defying feats that they do on a regular basis. And we left you with some of the best Deadlift progressions in the world. Now, let us introduce you to the real life workout of Hafthor Bjornsson, professional sumo wrestler, Body Builder, and strongman.

The Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Program (501 KG!)

Hafthor Björnsson is an Icelandic professional strongman athlete and one of the men of planet Earth. In 2023, Haftor broke the world deadlift record by lifting 501 kilograms or 1,105 pounds!

Here is a video of Hafthor performing this incredible feat:

Look at the speed of this rod! Haftor easily held on for another 10-20 pounds on that climb! For years, Haftor kept his exact deadlift training program a secret. However, in 2019, Haftor began posting his training videos on his YouTube account. This means we can find out the exact deadlifting program that Haftor Bjornsson used to break the deadlifting world record and become the strongest man in history. Don’t tell Eddie Hall – he’s still crying like a baby after losing the world weightlifting record! All kidding aside, let’s take a look at Haftor’s earthmoving program. Here is an excerpt from Hafthor Bjornsson’s strength training:

Here is the exact bench press cycle that Haftor used to break the world bench press record:

Programme overview

  • Week 1:
    • 3 sets of 3 reps at 320 kg (or 705 lbs)
    • 1 set of 3 reps at 360 kg (or 794 lbs)
    • 2 sets of 4 reps at 320 kg (or 705 lbs)
    • 1 set of 3 reps at 400 kg (or 882 lbs).
    • 2 sets of 4 reps at 340 kg (or 750 lbs)
    • 1 set of 3 repetitions at 440 kg (or 970 lbs)
    • 1 set of 3 reps at 375 kg (or 827 lbs)
    • 1 set with 1 repetition at 470 kg (or 1,036 lbs)
    • 1 set with 1 repetition at 350 kg (or 772 lbs)
    • 1 set with 1 repetition @ 501 lbs! (or 1,105 lbs!)

As you can see, Haftor uses a simple linear periodization program. He starts by lifting 320 kg for 3 reps and gradually increases the weight each week until he lifts 501 kg on the day of the competition. Here’s a great video showing one of Haftor’s deadlift workouts, when he was training for the 501kg deadlift:

As you can see, Haftor does heavy lifting sets and then trains with Atlanta stones. Haftor was 100% focused on the world record deadlift, so he didn’t do any other strength exercises like the Farmer’s Walk or weightlifting during this training cycle. When Haftor trains for strongman competitions like the Arnold Classic or the World’s Strongest Man, he usually works a lot more with props. Now let’s take a look at Haftor’s exact training that led to his world record bench press. Look at this:

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #1

  • A1: deadlift, 3 sets of 3 repetitions at 320 kg
  • B1 : Stone load, 5 sets of 1 repetition

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #2

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 3 reps at 360 KG, 2 sets of 4 reps at 320 KG
  • B1 : Stone load, 5 sets of 1 repetition

Message: No how-to video this week.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #3

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 3 reps at 400 KG, 2 sets of 4 reps at 340 KG
  • B1 : Stone load, 5 sets of 1 repetition

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #4

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 set of 3 reps at 440 KG, 1 set of 3 reps at 375 KG

Follow the link to watch the instructional video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #5

  • A1 : Deadlift, 1 set with 1 repetition @ 470 kg

Follow the link to watch the instructional video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #6 (Relief Week)

  • A1 : Deadlift, 1 set with 1 repetition @ 350 kg
  • B1 : Oblique bench with dumbbell, 2 sets of 12 repetitions each

Follow the link to watch the instructional video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #7 (Competition Week!)

  • A1 : Deadlift, 1 set with 1 repetition at 501 kg! (1,105 lbs!)

Here’s Hafthor squeezing his 501 kg into the deadlift:

Haftor used the training cycle described above to break the world deadlift record. But that doesn’t give you a better idea of what the Haftor deadlift workout usually looks like. Finally, Haftor usually trains for strongman competitions such as the Arnold Classic, Iceland’s Strongest Man, or the World’s Strongest Man Competition. In these competitions, Haftor must compete in many disciplines, such as the deadlift, as well as the satin stone, farmer’s walk, weightlifting, etc. Let’s take a look at the exact bench press workouts Haftor used to prepare for the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic. Below is a breakdown of his bench press training cycle for these competitions:

Programme overview

  • Week 1: 3 x 8 at 240 kg (or 529 lbs)
  • Week 2: 3 x 8 at 270 kg (or 595 lbs)
  • Week 3: 2 x 4 @ 300 lbs (or 661 lbs)
  • Week 4: 3 x 4 @ 323 lbs (or 712 lbs).
  • Week 5: 3 x 4 @ 348 kg (or 767 lbs)
  • Week 6: 2 x 2 @ 373 kg (or 822 lbs)
  • Week 7: 2 x 2 @ 403 kg (or 888 lbs)
  • Week 8: 1 x 2 @ 433 lbs (or 954 lbs).
  • Week 9: 1 x 2 @ 455 kg (or 999 lbs)
  • Week 10: 3 x 3 @ 320 lbs (or 705 lbs).
  • Week 11: 1 x 2 @ 480 lbs (or 1,058 lbs).
  • Week 12: 1 x 1 @ 500 lbs (or 1,105 lbs).

Again, Hafthor used a simple strategy of linear periodization. He started his training cycle with sets of 8 reps at 529 pounds and finished his training cycle at over 1,000 pounds in competition. Linear periodization sometimes gets a bad name in the fitness community, but it still works great for delivering great efforts at squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. Many of the best powerlifting coaches in the world, like Josh Bryant, still use linear periodization with the vast majority of their clients. Here’s a model of what Haftor’s bench press workouts looked like before the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic. Look at this:

Training model

  • Exercise 1: Deadlift
  • Exercise 2: Kettlebell Throwing
  • Exercise 3: Frame support
  • Exercise 4: Stone tax
  • Exercise 5: Loaded carrier
  • Exercise 6: Static holding of the bar

Here is a typical training video for this training cycle:

As you can see, Haftor does about 6 exercises in his deadlift sessions. It starts with maximum sets on the weight bench. He then does all the typical exercises of a strong man. He doesn’t need to do any additional exercises, because these strength movements develop all the necessary strength in his back and legs. Now let’s look at the exact bench press workouts Haftor used for the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic. Look at this:

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #1

  • A1 : Deadlift, 3 x 8 @ 240 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Loading the sandbag, 1 x 3
  • D1 : 90 degrees back stretch, 2 x 8-12

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #2

  • A1 : Deadlift, 3 x 8 @ 270 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible
  • D1 : Satin stones, 1 x 5

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #3

  • A1 : Deadlift, 2 x 4 @ 300 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Satin stone load, 3 x 1, without rest
  • C2 : Load carrier, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #4

  • A1 : Deadlift, 3 x 4 @ 323 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Satin Stone charge, 3 x 1, without pause
  • C2 : Load carrier, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #5

  • A1 : Deadlift, 3 x 4 @ 348 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Satin stone load, 3 x 1, without rest
  • C2 : Load carrier, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Message: Haftor has not provided a training video for this course.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #6

  • A1 : Deadlift, 2 x 2 @ 373 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Satin stone load, 3 x 1, without rest
  • C2 : Load carrier, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #7

  • A1 : Deadlift, 2 x 2 @ 403 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Satin stone load, 3 x 1, without rest
  • C2 : Load carrier, 3 x 100 feet
  • D1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #8

  • A1: Deadlift, 1 x 2 @ 433 KG, 1 x 5 @ 383 KG
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the instruction video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #9

  • A1 : Deadlift, 1 x 2 @ 455 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #10

  • A1 : Deadlift, 3 x 4 @ 310 kg
  • B1 : Farmer’s Run, 2 x 200 feet
  • C1 : Static barbell hold, 1 x as long as possible

Click here to watch the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #11

  • A1 : Deadlift, 1 x 2 @ 480 kg

Click here to watch the training video.

Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Workout Week #12

  • A1 : Deadlift, 1 x 1 @ 465 kg

Here is a video of Haftor lifting weights during the 2023 Strongman Arnold Classic :

In this press, Haftor clearly showed more than 465 kg. However, that was all he needed to win the match, so he settled for 465 kg.

Supplement

The Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlift Program (501 KG!)

Hafthor Bjornsson is probably the strongest man in history. He holds the deadlift world record and was the undisputed strongest man in the world in 2019 and 2023. If you’re looking for a good bench press training program, check out Haftor Bjornsson. He uses a simple linear periodization program that allows him to get stronger year after year without burnout. Haftor is also very inspiring and an amazing human being. I highly recommend you follow Haftor on the links below:

Here’s a great quote from Haftor about the importance of working hard to get the results you want in life:

You must be willing to work 365 days a year and be absolutely obsessed with what you want to achieve. If you are willing to go that far, then you can become the strongest person in the world!

Thanks for reading and good luck with your strength training!

Dr. Mike Jansen.

Thanks for stopping by my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT, and I am the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster, you’ve come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the best strength training resource in the world. So lean back, kick back and relax. There has never been a better time to lift weights or learn the art and science of developing strength training programs.

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Link to Benedict Magnusson’s deadlift workout!

Benedikt Magnusson’s deadlift training!

Benedikt Magnusson is an Icelandic athlete and one of the strongest men in the world. Benedict Magnusson is best known for his incredible strength in the deadlift. In 2010, he crushed….

Frequently Asked Questions

How heavy was Hafthor pulled 501?

Hafthor was pulled 501 pounds.

How much did Eddie Hall get paid for the 500kg deadlift?

Eddie Hall got paid $10,000 for the 500kg deadlift.

Is Hafthor deadlift record official?

No, the record is not official.

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