Who is The World's Strongest Man 2023? Ranking the top five  World's Strongest Men in History

Hafthor Bjornsson, Brian Shaw, Zydrunas Savickas, Bill Kazmaier, Mariusz Pudzianowski (Image via Instagram @thorbjornsson @shawstrength @savickas_bigz @kazmanaught @pudzianofficial)
Who is The World's Strongest Man in 2023? Ranking the top five Strongest Men in History. (Image via Instagram @thorbjornsson @shawstrength @savickas_bigz @kazmanaught @pudzianofficial)

Who's the world's strongest man? This is a question that all of us have wondered about at some point in our lives. Since its inception, humanity has been obsessed with the idea of physical strength. Until very recently, the status of men was largely decided by their physical prowess and how they could harness it on the battlefield. Despite living in a modern society where you can watch your favorite movie with a click and order anything under the sun online, people are still enticed by the strength and power of the world's strongest man.

"No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." - Socrates

Evidence from as early as 5000 BC shows the importance and reverance given to strength training. The Ancient Greeks practiced stone-lifting, calisthenics, boxing and gymnastics. Ancient Indian culture focused on wrestling, club swinging and bodyweight training - with detailed treatises written on the same. During the Tang dynasty, strongmen in ancient China used to lift stone lions weighing close to 1,000 kilograms!

Most of us are familiar with the names of historical characters such as Hercules, Milos, Beowulf, Bheem, and Achilles. The immortal nature of their legends is largely based upon them being the world's strongest man alive.

Who is the world's strongest man in 2023?

Mitchell Hooper bagged the world's strongest man title in 2023. (Image via Instagram/ @mitchellhooper)
Mitchell Hooper bagged the world's strongest man title in 2023. (Image via Instagram/ @mitchellhooper)

In the recently concluded 2023 World's Strongest Man competition, Mitchell Hooper emerged as the new champion with a remarkable score of 53.5 points out of a possible 60 in the Final round. The Final featured the top 10 athletes who advanced from the Qualifying stage of the competition.

Hooper's impressive total was 4.5 points higher than the runner-up, Tom Stoltman, and 12.5 points ahead of the bronze medalist and 2020 WSM champion, Oleksii Novikov. This victory cements Hooper's position as one of the world's strongest man and solidifies his place in the history of the sport. Mitchell Hooper also won the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic title.

Today, we will look through the annals of history to find the world’s strongest man of all time, backed by statistics.

World's Strongest Man - Definitive Top 5

1) Zydrunas Savickas (Big Z)

Stats: 6'3" (191 cm), 180 kg (400 lbs)

Big Z is often considered as the strongest person in the world. (Image via Pinterest)
Big Z is often considered as the strongest person in the world. (Image via Pinterest)

While Zydrunas may not be a household name (so far), anyone seriously interested in strength training and weightlifting will be familiar with this legend. The Lithuanian strongman and powerlifter was born on July 15, 1975.

His interest in strength sports originated at the age of 14, when he watched a Lithuanian strongman contest on TV. Three years later, he participated in the same contest, where he defeated men much older and more experienced.

Zydrunas started training for powerlifting at the age of 17. In only his second powerlifting contest, he broke all national records. However, his life took a major turn in 1998, when he won Lithuania's Strongest Man.

Since then, Zydrunas has secured 83 wins in international competitions, including:

  • 4x World's Strongest Man - 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014
  • 8x Arnold Strongman Classic - 2003-2008, 2014, 2016
  • 36x Strongman Champions League
  • 3x Europe's Strongest Man - 2010, 2012, 2013
  • 2x IFSA Strongman World Championships - 2005, 2006
  • 3x Giants Live Champion - 2010, 2014, 2017
  • 17x Lithuania's Strongest Man

What is even more impressive is the longevity of his career, as he has been competing at the elite level for more than 30 years. Renowned for his static strength, he held the Log Lift record of 228 kg (503 lb), which he held until last year.

Without a doubt, Zydrunas can be considered the world's strongest man to ever walk the earth. A gentle giant with a friendly disposition, he is renowned for hs catchphrase "I am very happy", after casually breaking world records. A successful businessman and politician, he still competes occasionally. You can watch his latest updates and competition details on his YouTube Channel.

2) Bill Kazmaier

Stats: 6' 2", 150 kg (330 lbs)

 Bill Kazmaier. (Image via Pinterest)
Bill Kazmaier. (Image via Pinterest)

Ever heard of a man so strong he was banned from competing? Let me introduce you to American strongman, wrestler, and world champion powerlifter, Bill Kazmaier.

Born on 30th December 1953, Kazmaier's interest in strength sports began with his high school football career. He dropped out of the University of Wisconsin to focus on developing his strength. During the initial phase of his powerlifting career, he struggled financially and worked a number of jobs, including being an oil rigger, a bouncer, and a lumberjack.

At his first powerlifting meet in 1978, Bill squatted 782 lbs, bench pressed 534 lbs, and deadlifted 804 lbs in the 275-pound weight class to win the event. Over time, he would eventually squat 420 kg (925.9 lbs), bench press 300 kg (661.4 lbs) and deadlift 415 kg (915 lbs).

However, his most famous exploits came as a strongman. His stellar track record includes the following wins:

  • 3x World's Strongest Man - 1980, 1981, 1982
  • 2x IPF World Powerlifting Championships - 1979, 1983
  • 1983 USPF National Powerlifting Champion
  • 2x Pure Strength Champion - 1988, 1990
  • 1988 Iceland's Strongest Man
  • 6x Scottish Power Challenge - 1984 - 1989
  • World Muscle Power Championships - 1981

Despite being the reigning champion for three years from 1980 - '82, the World's Strongest Man organizers decided not to invite Bill to compete for four years, with Bill claiming it was because he was "too dominant". Renowned for his terrifying psyching up ritual before a lift, Kazmaier once managed to send his opponent running out of the wrestling ring. Strength author David Webster named him "the greatest American strength athlete of all time," while a 2008 expert poll rated him as the top superheavyweight lifter of all time and "one of the strongest men who ever lived."

After his retirement from the sport in the 1990s, Bill Kamaier took up commentating for the ESPN. Today, he is a regular face at various world's strongman competitions as a commentator and MC. As a motivational speaker, he encourages the youth to lead healthier, more productive lives.

Watch him go head-to-head against four-time World's Strongest Man Magnus Ver Magnusson in the Pillars of Hercules event at the age of 65! Pay attention to his warm-up routine... initimidated yet?

3) Brian Shaw

Stats: 6'8", 200 kg (440 lbs)Lupton

Brian Shaw. (Image via Pinterest)
Brian Shaw. (Image via Pinterest)

Born in Fort Lutpon, Colorado on February 26, 1982, Brian was exceptionally strong, even as a child. After a successful high school and college basketball career, Shaw began competing as a strongman in 2005.

"I've always been able to do this. The biggest tire, the heaviest stone... I've always been able to walk up and lift it. Odd strength is what it is, not weight-room strength. It's brute strength." - Brian Shaw

As a professional strongman, he has a plethora of wins and records to his name, including:

  • 4x World's Strongest Man - 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016
  • 3x Arnold Strongman Classic - 2011, 2015, 2017
  • 6x Strongman Super Series Champion
  • Jon Paul Sigmarsson Classic - 2010,2011
  • 3x Giants Live Winner
  • 2020 Shaw Classic Winner

He has also put up incredible numbers in static lifts - 904 lb (410 kg) squat, 530 lb (240 kg) × 2 bench press, 1,031 lb (467.7 kg) deadlift, and a 465 lb (211 kg) log press.

Apart from being a world champion strongman, Brian is also a social media star, with over 1.75 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.4 million followers on Instagram. In 2019, he featured in the History Channel series, "The Strongest Man in History", where he pulled a 27,000 kg (60,000 pounds) Viking ship across a 60 feet (18 m) incline course in 44.05 seconds.

4) Hafthor Julius Bjornsson

Stats: 6'9", 200 kg(440 lbs) in his prime, currently 150 kg (330 lbs)

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson. (Image via Pinterest)
Hafthor Julius Bjornsson. (Image via Pinterest)

While many recognize him for his iconic role as "The Mountain" in Game of Thrones, fitness enthusiasts will identify him as one of the world's strongest men to ever exist. With 30 international competition wins, Hafthor is the third most decorated world's strongman in history behind Zydrunas Savickas and Poland's Mariusz Pudzianowski.

In 2018, he became the first and only person to have won the Arnold Strongman Classic, Europe's Strongest Man, and the World's Strongest Man competitions in the same calendar year. His superhuman strength combined with superior athleticism, has led many experts to regard him as "the world's strongest man to have ever lived". Some of his major victories include:

  • 2018 World's Strongest Man, three second-place finishes at WSM
  • 3x Arnold Strongman Classic - 2018, 2019, 2020
  • 5x Europe's Strongest Man
  • 4x Giants Live Champion
  • 10x Iceland's Strongest Man

During the 2020 World’s Ultimate Strongman “Feats of Strength” series, he deadlifted 501 kg (1104.5 lb), setting a new world record. He has squatted 460 kg (1,014 lb), log pressed 213 kg (470 lb) and bench pressed 250 kg (551 lb). He is also renowned for his proficiency at the Atlas Stones and the Husafell Stone.

The Icelandic Giant quit strongman in 2019. Since then he has dropped nearly 50 kg(120 lb) of weight to obtain a shredded physique. He also took up boxing in the meantime to end a long-standing dispute with fellow strongman Eddie "The Beast" Hall regarding the 2017 World's Strongest Man Finals. On March 19, 2022, in a boxing match titled "The Heaviest Boxing Match in History," Hafthor managed to knock out Eddie twice to achieve victory.

However, Hafthor has hinted at a potential return to strongman after breaking his own world record at the 2022 Rogue Invitational. He also plans to compete in a powerlifting competition this December.

A popular social media personality, you can catch regular updates on his YouTube channel and Instagram.

5) Mariusz Pudzianowski

Stats: 6'1", 142 kg (313 lbs)

Mariusz Pudzianowski. (Image via Pinterest)
Mariusz Pudzianowski. (Image via Pinterest)

Strongman athletes are often accused of being sloppy and looking fat. However, Marius "The Dominator" Pudzianowski broke the mold, looking like a contest-ready bodybuilder while handling immense weights. With 43 international wins at a a record 70% winning percentage, Mariusz is often considered the greatest strength athete of all time.

Born in Biała Rawska, Poland, Mariusz was influenced by his father Wojciech, who was a weightlifter. He began strength training and martial arts training at a very young age. He enjoyed an illustrious strongman career, with numerous wins:

  • 5x World's Strongest Man - 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008
  • 16x Strongman Super Series Winner
  • 6x Europe's Strongest Man
  • 3x World's Strongest Team
  • 7x Poland's Strongest Man

In 2009, Pudzianowki started competing in MMA, where he boasts 17 wins in 25 matches. He is also an accomplished businessman, TV star and rugby player.

His battles with Derek Poundstone, Zydrunas Savickas and Phil Phister in the early 2000s helped strongman achieve the global fame it enjoys today. Pudzianowki is one of the top 5 MMA fighters who can lift insane weights.

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Edited by Soniya