By Mr. Madden
Pro Sports Daily

Gregor Clegane (The Mountain) from HBO's Game Of Thrones is the largest, strongest and most feared swordsman in all of the Seven Kingdoms. It only makes sense that the actor portraying The Mountain would also be the strongest man in the world ... in real life.

Hafthor Bjornsson is actually HBO's third version of The Mountain and this time I think they may have gotten it right.

The Icelandic monster stands 6'9" and weighs in at a staggering 430 pounds. He already holds the European Strongman Championship and his recent attempt to win the title as World's Strongest Viking was a rousing success.

Bjornsson broke a world record that had stood for 1,000 years. What did he do? He took five steps while carrying a log over 30 feet long that weighed 1,433 pounds.

Obviously, Bjornsson won the Viking title and now has his eyes firmly set on the World's Strongest Man. He has competed in the World's Strongest Man event four times ... finishing sixth in 2011, third in 2012, third in 2013, and second in 2014. Now, I'm no analytics expert but I think I'm seeing a trend that could end in the ultimate strongman prize later this year.

It would just be weird to be that strong. My mind goes to the Skittles commercial where everything the dude touches turns into Skittles. If feel like if you were that strong that is what your life would be like ... normal everyday things just crumbling in your hands. Eating a hard-shelled taco would be almost impossible.

Touch the rainbow, taste the rainbow.

If only "The Red Viper" had been able to put his ego aside and just finish the job ... Mr. Bjornsson wouldn't have to worry about his acting gig anymore. He'd have a lot more time to focus on his strongman pursuits.

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America's Most Innovative Gyms


Fitwall: La Jolla, California

Instead of weight racks and cardio machines, Fitwall uses 7-foot-tall towers for intense 40-minute workouts. As you grunt and sweat, your heart rate, training load, and recovery rate are displayed on a monitor to help you dial in your intensity, fine-tune your rest, and optimize your gains.



"Doing complex exercises when you're tired can lead to injury. Fill particularly intense circuits with simple moves you can't do wrong, like skater hops and pushups."
-- Cliff Harski, director of programming


The Green Microgym: Portland, Oregon

The cardio machines at this eco-friendly facility transform your effort into electricity, pumping out enough juice to not only help power the gym but also occasionally feed the local grid. As a result, this place's carbon footprint is a mere one-tenth that of most other fitness centers.


The Green Microgym, TRAINING TIP

"You should leave a workout feeling energized, not fatigued. If using a treadmill, find a speed that's tough yet sustainable. Own it for a workout or two, and then go just 5 percent harder."
-- Adam Boesel, founder


Exos: Phoenix

At Exos, weekend warriors brush biceps with pro athletes. Its state-of-the-art locations have everything from football fields to three-lane tracks, drawing sportsmen (and sportswomen) from all over the world, including NFL guys and members of Germany's 2014 World Cup team.



"Concentrate on key parts of an exercise to see better results. During a biceps curl, for example, pull the bar up quickly and lower it slowly, fighting the pull of gravity."
-- Nick Winkelman, director of movement


Chelsea Piers: Stamford, Connecticut

Even at half the size of its Manhattan flagship -- which comprises 28 acres of gym space -- this megacenter has it all: a 65,000-square-foot gym, an Olympic-size pool, basketball and volleyball courts, seven tennis courts, 11 squash courts, two rinks, and a 24-foot climbing wall.


Chelsea Piers, TRAINING TIP

"The deeper you squat, the more effective it is. Place a medicine ball behind your heels and touch it with your butt to make sure you're going low enough."
-- Suzanne Vita Palazzo, training program director


Men's Health Thrive: Woburn, Massachusetts

Created by Mike Boyle, who trained the 2013 World Series champs (Go BoSox!), the Thrive program is available in 40 U.S. locations, including gyms like this one. You start with a functional-movement screening, which trainers then use to tailor a program to your specific needs. To find a Thrive location near you, check out the Thrive Gym Finder.


Men's Health Thrive, TRAINING TIP

"Always start with foam-rolling, focusing on your upper back, calves, hips, and glutes. Untying knots in these often-overworked areas leads to better workouts and better joint health."
-- Mike Boyle, co-founder

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