Whether you’re an armchair history buff or more of a buff fitness fan, HISTORY’s (186) new muscle-man showdown slash history lesson is going to have you well and truly hooked! Mythological titans of strength like Hercules, Samson and even Thor have been celebrated throughout history but just how true are these fabulous fabled acts?

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The contenders

After years of competing as rivals, the world’s leading strongmen are teaming up to find out if it is humanly possible to accomplish some of the most incredible tasks or whether it can all be chalked up to myths and legends.

  • Nick Best is a world power-lifting champion of the late 1990s and has a world record in Shield Carry – sign him up for the Roman or Spartan army!
  • Eddie Hall is the 2017 World’s Strongest Man winner and holds the world record for the deadlift, lifting 500 kg – perfect for when your Viking ship needs to be pushed from the shore into the sea.
  • Robert Oberst holds the American record for the log lift at 211kg – maybe the guys from HISTORY’s Ax Men should ask him for help next time!
  • Brian Shaw clinched the title of World’s Strongest Man in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 – the perfect human pickle jar opener.

What to expect

In the show, the four compete with each other as they take on epic acts of strength in a quest to prove who really is the strongest man ever, and whether the legendary feats of fortitude are really possible or were just made-up stories.

Viking legends that will be tackled include seeing who can throw Thor’s hammer the furthest, the pulling of a vintage Viking ship up a steep hill and lifting a Viking ship mast. In another episode, they tackle the legend of Paul Anderson – the “Godfather of American strength” – and see if they can carry 15 000 silver dollars weighing 326 kg and do an overhead press of 184 kg.

In the United Kingdom, the muscle guys try to roll up a frying pan (yep, you read right) and attempt a barrel lift of 610 kg. Then they’re off to try and lift a plough one-handed, lift a 453 kg hay bale and … carry a piano weighing 272 kg on their backs while running down a street. You just have to see it for yourself to believe it! During a visit to Scotland and the legendary Highlands Games, they try to throw stones (not at each other), attempt the caber toss (throwing a large tapered wooden pole) and to carry the Dinnie Stones across the Potarch Bridge.

In the season finale, the foursome tackle the feats of the American Revolution soldier Peter Francisco which sees them hurling crates of tea into a river, lugging around anvils and heaving a cannon all the way from the battlefield.

Watch The Strongest Man in History on Mondays from 17 February on HISTORY (186) at 21:10

Download and watch later

Get the DStv Now app (Apple or Android) and download episodes to watch on your phone or tablet – just remember to connect to the Wi-Fi first so there are no surprise data costs.