In a new video on his YouTube channel, former World’s Strongest Man turned boxing up-and-comer Hafthor Bjornsson, aka Thor, aka The Mountain, takes on one of his most grueling cardio workouts yet. Coaching him through it are Icelandic CrossFit athletes (and husband-and-wife team) Annie Mist Thorisdottir and Frederik Aegidius.
“Hafthor has come and done some Crossfit with us in the past,” says Annie, who has won the CrossFit Games twice. “And I’ve always been a little bit nervous, to be honest, that I would kill him when he does it.” She’s only half-joking: each time Thor has trained with Annie, he has described it as the hardest workout of his life, and made it clear he was happy to make it out of the workout alive.
After a 10-minute warmup, the workout consists of a series of all-out intervals on the assault bike, lasting 75 seconds, 60 seconds, 45 seconds, and 30 seconds, with 5-minute rest periods in between. Frederik prescribes around 95 percent effort, as he believes 100 percent would have Thor gasping on the floor unable to complete any of the other exercises, based on his VO2 max. “This is not for the fainthearted,” he says.
“I know how your legs feel,” twice-crowned “Fittest Woman on Earth” Annie tells Thor. “Believe me, I know. There are very few sessions that actually get me crying, and this is one of them… It’s never going to get easier, you just go faster.”
Since retiring from the strongman world, Bjornsson has doubled down on his boxing training in the lead-up to his fight against Eddie Hall, working out three times a day. This assault bike session, he explains, is an exercise in building his cardiovascular endurance.
“In strength sports, I know how to push myself,” he says. “I made the mistake in the first set to go all out, and the next two sets were just not as good because I had nothing left in the tank to keep the momentum going… In a competition, in the boxing ring, you don’t want to gas out in the first round, you want to know what pace you should go at.”
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