Hafthor Björnsson Reveals Gym Expansion: $116,000 in Machines and Equipment

Björnsson outfitted himself in stylish new gear.

In early 2023, Hafthor Björnsson revealed that he would return to both professional strongman and powerlifting. However, after remarkable feats of progress in training, the former 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion tore his left pectoral muscle, temporarily derailing part of his planned competitive schedule. As he continues to work to regain his strength, Björnsson recently revealed that he has been busy in other ways.

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. Apparently, the athlete thought of all the ways, bought and exhibited various high-quality equipment focused on strengthening the legs, upper body and back.

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To make room for his new equipment, which is primarily for larger athletes, Björnsson bought the unit next to his main gym facility. Here is an overview of what happened in the video:

belt squat

Björnsson said his new belt squat machine was his favorite purchase. The machine allows an athlete to perform squats without a barbell and without additional pressure on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and back. Athletes lock into the machine using a belt from a seated position.

“This is the belt squat, which is probably the best investment I’ve ever made,” Björnsson explained. “Because I’ll be able to 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, either by curling both legs or performing a single-leg variation from a prone position. Björnsson’s new curling machine was almost twice the size of a traditional machine.

Standing Calf Raise and Leg Extension

Like most of his equipment, Björnsson’s calf raise machine could carry more weight than standard machines, making it a potentially ideal implement for larger, more robust athletes. The leg extension machine, meanwhile, was more of a traditional variety and will help shape your quadriceps muscles accordingly.

Flat Chest Press and Incline Chest Press Machines

Björnsson placed his flat chest press and incline chest press machines near the entrance to his new unit to accommodate athletes looking to refine their pectoral muscles. Both present quality chest-building options as alternatives to a more traditional barbell bench press.

Combo Pec Flye-Reverse Flye, cable machine and reverse leg curl

Later in his journey, Björnsson introduced a dual-purpose upper body machine to perform chest flyes and rear delt flyes. He also demonstrated an adjustable cable machine to isolate and contract upper body muscles from a variety of angles. The reverse leg curl machine presents a change of pace but is nonetheless an effective way to work balance and functional strength from an unconventional position, similar to the bodyweight-only Nordic hamstring curl. The exercise could be more challenging for larger athletes, given the amount of body weight they have to lift, and the reverse curl machine allows you to add resistance to aid movement.

Björnsson seemed to be a big fan of the latter.

“(The reverse curl) is very good for heavy guys,” Björnsson said. “It’s a killer for the hamstrings. The more weight you put on, the easier it gets. I think it was made for the greats, because the greats have a hard time doing this specific movement.

Seal Row, Hip-Quad Machine, Hack Squat

To end his tour, Björnsson introduced the seal row, a team of athletes performing a strict variation of the barbell row. The difference is that athletes lie prone on the seal row bench to perform the row, removing the legs and lower back from the equation. The quad machine effectively isolates the thigh muscles, and a hack squat demands much more of the quads than a barbell squat due to the position of the machine, while also providing upper body support that reduces lower back fatigue.

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According to a July 2023 Instagram post, Björnsson is on his way to a full recovery after his pectoral injury. The athlete clarified that he was beginning to regain a “full range of motion” and that he was “feeling better” each week. Maybe, when he’s healthy in due time, he’ll start using his new equipment seriously.

Featured Image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram

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