Monday, March 27, 2017

Combining Football Training and Powerlifting - Jeff Everson (1982)

 Ken Leistner, neck helmet 1971.

Also by Jeff Everson:

Combining Football Training and Powerlifting  (1982)
by Jeff Everson - 
Head Strength Coach, University of Wisconsin 

Because football is a sport of momentum, mass, static strength and explosive power, it is important that the training methods used to develop those physical parameters be closely matched from a physiological standpoint. Certainly, powerlifting is an activity that closely approximates the physical demands of football; in other words, a base of muscular and cardiovascular endurance, with requirements of very intense, short bursts of highly explosive muscular effort. Additionally, in case of line play, there are somewhat sustained strength moves; if you will, almost a sustained isometric effort, such as grinding out a heavy squat.

Olympic lifting would also appear to give good physiological carry-over, in terms of explosive power, or short bursts of muscular effort. While this is true, the ballistics and skills of parts of Olympic lifting are not wanted, such as in the squat clean and snatch moves. Moreover, the power clean and jerk from stands or push press are moves that can be done to augment a football player's development.

Do not be swayed by the arguments that since powerlifting consists of heavy slow moves only red muscle fiber will be hypertrophied. This is a groundless assumption and has no scientific backing in the literature. White muscle fiber most surely will be hypertrophied since the intensity of heavy, unending effort dictates that the nervous innervation and metabolic use pattern favors white muscle fiber development. Thus powerlifting can only have favorable influences on speed and quick strength.

However, it should be pointed out that if football is your main game, powerlifting should exist as an adjunct to total conditioning. Equal time must be given to the development of total conditioning that includes flexibility, foot speed, lateral agility and muscular endurance. At Wisconsin I have found powerlifting to be successful on a 3 day per week routine supplemented with 3 days a week of specific plyometric and speed drills. Ray Moran, a very successful powerlifter and football player in his own right, is my assistant and he would probably readily agree. We both fee that athletes that combine football and powerlifting frequently overtrain themselves.

Specific Powerlifting for Football Weight Training Routine
Based on a 3-Day Per Week Program  


1) Bench Press - 
15, 10 [warmups]
3 sets of 5, pause reps
1 x 7, t-g [touch and go]
1 x 10, t-g
1 x 15, t-g.

2) Olympic Jerk From Stands - 
5 sets of 3, work up 25 lbs on each set.

3) Heavy Alternate Dumbbell Curls - 
3 x 8-10.

Rest 5 minutes, stretch out.

4) Squat, Low Bar Position - 
12, 6 [warmups]
4 x 6, 75-80% of 1 Rep Max

45-Degree Leg Press, 3 x 6
Leg Extension, 2 x 12-15
Leg Curl, 2 x 12-15
Neck, 2 x 12-15
Abs, 3 x 12, weighted. 


1) Regular Deadlift - 
12, 8 [warmups]
1 x 6
4 x 4, 80% 1RM.

2) Lat Pulldown to Front - 
5 x 6-8

3) Inclines - 
4 x 6

4) Push Press from Stands -
3 x 5 after warmup

5) Leg Press -
3 x 12-15

6) Leg Extension -
2 x 10 to failure

7) Leg Curl -
2 x 10 to failure

8) Neck -
3 x 6-8 each direction.


1) Power Clean from Floor -
1 x 6 [warmup], 5 x 3

2) Squat, High Bar -
2 x 10, 5 x 5 [only 70%]

Rest 10 minutes

3) Bench Press -
15, 8 [warmups], 4 x 5 t-g [80%]

4) Triceps Pushdown -
4 x 12

5) Leg Curls Only -
3 x 6-8

6) Hyperextensions -
3 x 15-20

7) Abdominals on Progressive Incline -
4 x 20.

The routine is fairly self-explanatory. it should be progressive and proceeded and followed by 10 minutes of vigorous static stretching or partner PNF stretching.

You will notice that the routine combines elements of strength, power and muscular endurance, just what is needed for the football athlete.

I mentioned earlier that powerlifting training should be an adjunct, primarily for strength, while special drills should be done to develop power, flexibility, lateral movement and overall explosiveness. By explosiveness and speed, I mean, specifically, the attributes of abilities to move laterally quickly, turn rapidly, accelerate and decelerate rapidly, as well as, moving straight ahead in a quick, controlled manner. Many of these qualities are innate neurologically, however, the neurological and muscular system can be trained. This is evidenced by the facilitation of skill techniques, the improvement through form running and the muscle enzyme changes seen upon biopsy.

All of these factors can be collectively referred to as the development of motor pathways. In addition to weight training, certain exercises and drill can help facilitate this development. The following section presents information from European research on explosiveness and several fast foot drills we use that are designed to maximize agility, explosiveness and speed.

It is no secret that the European countries, particularly the eastern bloc, have done much more research on the physical aspects of sport, such as speed, explosiveness and agility. There are certain exercises, when performed at the right growth period (adolescence) that can optimally increase explosiveness. Elaborate European tests on youths aged 14-19 have found that the best exercises are the shuttle sprint backwards, the vertical jump, the bicycle movement while lying on the back and forward hopping for distance.

A fifth exercise that is particularly fine for football players is the 40 yard dash starting from a lying position, prone arms outstretched over head. The shuttle sprint backwards is done where the athlete sprints 10 yards backwards, comes back backwards, then goes 20 yards backwards, returns backwards, goes 30 yards backwards, returns backwards, then finally sprints 40 yards backwards and returns backwards. after this, the athlete jumps vertically for height 10 times.

For the uninitiated, this places tremendous strain on the quadriceps muscles. After this the athlete takes a short rest and then performs the lying bicycle 10 times for 10 second periods. Each period has a 5 second rest period in between. Thinking SPEED here is critical. The athlete then stands and does bounds for distance - 10 in a row.

A good athlete may reach 70-80 feet after all of this. The 40 yard spring starting from a prone position from a prone position with arms outstretched is better from an overall standpoint where total muscle development is wanted (abdominals), sprint effect and reaction. It would be very beneficial to defensive units.

These exercises are not done all the time, but are used for training variety in the conditioning phase. 

Harold Poole, Legendary Delts - Tony Estrada (2017)

Click Pics to ENLARGE


At 18 Years of Age

In January of 2002, an elderly giant walked into Club Fit Pembroke Pines in south Florida and turned nearly every head in the facility. He had a shoulder-length ponytail and the complexion of Ovaltine. I was working as the fitness manager, and he told me he recently celebrated his 60th birthday. After having been a professional bodybuilder back in the day, he was ready to fulfill another dream: becoming a personal trainer. I asked him to come do a workout with me as an informal interview.

It turns out, I was in the presence of greatness. Harold Poole is a member of the IFBB Hall of Fame and still holds the record for being the youngest athlete to compete in a Mr. Olympia. He won Mr. Universe when he was 19 years old . . . 

Mr. Universe 1963


. . . and became the first African American to be crowned Mr. America . . . 



1964 Mr. Universe

Harold was half African American and half German - a combination he credited for his great genetics. In 1965, at the age of 21, he competed in the very first Mr. Olympia. Harold was the only bodybuilder to compete in the first three Olympia contests, placing second all three times. 



Olympia 1966


1967 WBBG Mr. America

In his prime, Harold had the kind of physique that has come back in style today. If a 22-year old Harold Poole entered a Classic Physique competition in 2017 nobody could touch him.

During our introductory workout it was obvious Harold knew his stuff. We traded ideas and switched back and forth on who called the next exercise. He loved the overhead press, while I preferred pressing with the dumbbells. It was old school meets new school, at least for that time.

I helped Harold complete his certification through IPFA, and we immediately hired him. We were friends for two years, and I would drive him home from work at least three days a week. It's during these trips that he would tell me the most extravagant stories about his life.

Harold had a good heart but was plagued by demons of his own. He battled chemical addiction and mental illness, and was on the wrong side of the law more than once in his life. But he was a protector, and he treated his friends and clients like they were his family. My fondest memory of him happened one afternoon at the gym. I had recently undergone surgery on my knee and was sitting at my desk. One of our trainers had an issue with his paycheck, and rather than discussing it he tried to turn it into a physical altercation. Harold was on the opposite side of our gym, and within seconds he crossed the floor and had the trainer's throat engulfed in his palm. He damn near lifted a 200 pound man off the floor like that.

What was most impressive about Harold was his level of determination. He did not let the fact that he was an African American athlete in a small-minded era stop him from achieving his dreams as a bodybuilder. He came to me determined to become a personal trainer at the age of 60 . . . and he did it. His determination to complete whatever he set out to do made him a champion.

In 2014, Harold Poole passed away from pancreatitis. I think of him often and that first workout we did together, which I have listed here. 

To me, he represents a simpler time when bodybuilders trained for the pure enjoyment.

He reminded me that fitness is not just about counting reps or seconds, timing micros, taking pills. 

Fitness is about being the best you, and savoring your road to the goal. 

Rest in Peace, my Brother in Iron. 

Big THANKS to Tony Estrada for getting this article on Harold Poole published!

This is the workout that Iron Man writer Tony Estrada, a 20-year veteran of the fitness industry did on the first day he met Harold Poole. It utilizes the classic-era bodybuilding techniques such as drop sets and going to failure, as well as plenty of volume and a reliance on relatively high-rep schemes. New school meets old school with some modern wisdom on warming up and a few smart pre-hab exercises.

Note: Here's a typical Golden Era bodybuilding routine, graciously put together by the late Bill Luttrell for posting on Dave Draper's website and forum []: 

Now, on to the routine!


Far too many lifters skip a proper warm-up and miss out on many benefits, as well as put themselves at risk of injury. A moderate amount of light cardio stimulates and invigorates the body at a cellular level while creating elasticity in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It increases the range of motion (ROM) and allows the recruitment of more muscle fibers. 

10 minutes of moderate cardio.
High Row with Triceps Rope - 2 sets of 20-25, light
External Rotation with Cables - 2 x 15 each side, light
High Shoulder Rotation with Cable 2 x 15 each side, light.


 - Seated Barbell Press - 3 x 20, 6-8*, 2-4* 25, [60, 75% of 1 Rep Maximum]
*If you can perform more than the prescribed reps go to failure. This is the biggest compound exercise for the muscles responsible for a pushing motion. The first set will be the only of the three that is not performed to muscular failure. Seated on a straight back bench, bring the bar down in front of your face. As you go through the eccentric (lowering) phase, stop at approximately chin level before returning to the top overhead.

 - Seated Two Dumbbell Press - 2 x 6-8 to failure 60, 75% 1RM]
Switching to dumbbells increases range of motion and will slightly redirect stress to the medial (side) deltoids. Small muscles are recruited for stability and synergy, and are thus exhausted as well. For this dumbbell version of the overhead press allow your elbows to go just below 90 degrees.

 - Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise - 2 x 10-15 [30, 35% 1RM]
 - To keep the stress on the medial deltoid while performing this exercise with free weights, raise your arms from your sides until they're parallel with the ground. As they are returned to the lower position stop at approximately 15 degrees from the hip. By keeping the tension on the delts with this style you may have to use less weight but the burn will be incredible.

 - Seated Front Delt Press - 2 x 10-15 [30, 35% 1RM]
Having exhausted the lateral deltoids, it's time to direct more attention to the anterior delts. Reps are increased, and weight is modified if necessary to accommodate a higher rep range and to move safely through full range of motion. Starting with the dumbbells at your chin, palms facing you, forcefully press the weights together and bring them overhead. Make sure the ends of the dumbbells are touching the entire time.

 - Supine Anterior Cable Raise - 2 x 10-15 to failure [50, 75%**]
**On the second set perform a drop set to failure, reduce the weight by 15% for the drop.

Set the pulley at the lowest setting. Sit on the floor facing the machine and attach an EZ Curl bar attachment. Hold the bar with straight arms and lie flat on your back. Lower your arms until they are about four inches from the thighs. With straight arms, raise the bar until your hands are just beyond eye level. Perform the first set until failure and rest. The second set is a drop set to failure with no rest in between drops.  
 - Unassisted Dips - 2 x failure with bodyweight.
At this point I could do no more, but Harold insisted. To Harold, one more meant three. He made his point and had already secured the job, but he wanted to show that there was a level of determination and ambition that separated him from the rest of the crowd. It was long, slow, and deep reps to failure and a memory that will last forever. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Master Power - Stanley Lampert (1982)

Stanley Lampert was a collegiate track and field champion who won many prestigious competitions during the late 1940s, and continued to compete internationally through the mid 50s. He set a world record in the shotput in 1954, and placed second in five subsequent meets when the record was broken.

Along with Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, Stan Lampert was on of the first American shot-putters to appreciate the value of heavy weight training to enhance field event performance. The former All-American has won over 400 medals in over 250 track meets, and he raced shotput great Parry O'Brien to the 60 foot barrier, soaring past the listed IAAF World Record in the process on May 1st, 1954.

After his athletic successes he proceeded on to similar acclaim in the business world as an insurance salesman. At the age of 53, a height of 6 ft. 4 in., and 252 bodyweight he has returned to weight training and is now handling far more weight than he did when he broke the World Record in the shot, over 25 years ago.

His best lifts include:

Overhead Press - 275 lbs
Power Clean - 275
Squat - 575
Deadlift - 500

. . . nearly a 40 percent improvement over his earlier efforts.

In the following article he discredits some popular training mythology and offers his own training program for consideration.

More From Stanley Lampert:

Stanley Lampert (1982) 

After thirty seven years of participating, observing and researching strength and power building, I've come to some conclusions that don't jibe with accepted modern theory. In fact, my conclusions are directly contrary to the popularly accepted beliefs. Here is the dogma, followed by my determinations.

1) You must do as much as you can stand to benefit from strength training.
 - False. You should do as little as necessary to keep improving. My observation is that 99% of all strength athletes overtrain. 

2) No pain - no gain.
 - False. Simply put, if it hurts you did too much. If it hurts a lot, you did much too much. If you work out today and you train properly it shouldn't hurt you today, tomorrow or the next day.

3) You shouldn't work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
 - False. It is impossible to build strength rapidly on less than five workouts every six or seven days. After 48 hours of rest, a muscle starts to lose tone and strength.

4) 6 to 10 repetitions with 60-80% of a single rep maximum effort re required to build great strength.
 - False. Doing this will build the capacity to do 6 to 10 repetitions with 60-80% of a single maximum. In strength building only the last rep counts and it is of little or no benefit unless it is a struggle and you can barely make it. 

5) Sets are required to build great strength.
 - False. Even more false, unless you are referring to singles done with resistance that barely allows you to finish the movement (or lack of movement as we will see).

6) Workouts should take at least one hour.
 - False. For maximum strength development workouts need not be nor should be longer than 30 minutes and certain workouts should not take even 10 minutes.

7) You shouldn't go hard every workout.
 - False. You must go hard every workout.

8) You should constantly change workouts. 
 - False. You should never change a workout while you are making progress, no matter how slight. Only change when you are stuck at a plateau. 

9) You should take regular long layoffs. 
 - False. Every time you take a long layoff you may lose up to 20% of your weight lifting capacity and it will take weeks if not more to get back to where you were. For this reason cycle training wastes a lot of time and energy.

10) You will burn out on such constant long term training.
 - False. You won't even get overly tired, since two of your five workouts will take 10 minutes, two will take 20 minutes, and the longest one will last only 30 minutes. 

Now that I've given my contrary opinion on the above ten misconceptions (there are many others), let's get to my 90 minutes a week strength building routine. This concept has never failed anyone who has used it and usually shows measurable results in one to two weeks. Nobody has taken longer than two weeks to show marked (if not dramatic) improvement. Let me, however, caution you -- this routine will not do several things:

It will not
build endurance
build cardiovascular capacity
build larger muscles.


The routine is simplicity itself. 
The only equipment it requires is a power rack, a barbell and lots of big plates. 

On a six or seven day cycle you will work out in this manner: 

First Day

Limited movement power rack training, done as follows: 
Choose seven or eight basic exercises and do one rep in two positions. The movement should be confined to four to six inches only. Set the lower pins where you wish to start. Set the upper pins two or three holes above. Choose a weight that you can lift with great effort but still manage to hold against the upper pins with some pressure for four to six seconds. A sample set of movements might be (starting at the top of the rack): overhead press, rise on toes, squat, upright row, bent row, bench press, deadlift. This routine should take no longer than 15 to 20 minutes. It is extremely strenuous. 

Second Day

Do isometrics . . . no movement at all. Set upper pins the level you wish to push against and once again do seven or eight exercises, one rep in two positions. Hold for six seconds in an all out effort to move the immovable bar. Place the pins in a weak of sticking point position for one or the reps in each movement. 

Third Day -   

Same as Day One, except make sure the position of the pins is different, so as to work the whole range of motion over a few workouts. 

Fourth Day

Same as Day Two, except change positions as explained above. Warning: all out isometrics are also very strenuous; possibly the most strenuous effort you can make. These power rack and isometric exercises must be proceeded by a warm up and stretching routine . . . a few power cleans, presses and squats with a light barbell will then be sufficient. 

Fifth Day

Rest. You won't feel it and won't ache (you may the first week), but you will be tired . . . do as little as possible.

Sixth Day

Gradually work up to a trial with as heavy a single as you can manage. The heavy single attempt should be made for one exercise of each large muscle group. Try to increase this this each week if only by a pound or two. 

Seventh Day

Some of the more rugged guys can go back to Day One immediately after Day Six without the day of rest. 

Try to increase the weight in the Day One and Day Three power rack routines. Try to increase the intensity of effort in the Day Two and Day Four isometrics. 

I personally, commencing at the age of 50 and already quite strong, was able to increase my lifts 25-30% using this routine. I got my overhead press to 275 and my squat to 525. For someone now approaching 54 and 6'4" with long arms and legs, that ain't bad! 

Give it six weeks and see if you can't improve more and faster than I did. You should. You're younger. My 18-year old son is a miniature superman and follows this routine exclusively. No need to go into detail but at 5'8" and 180 lbs he is no doubt the smallest State champion in the shot put in the USA and he threw 59' 2.5". He did no other resistance training than this. 

This routine is particularly valuable for participants in other sports, since it does not produce undue fatigue or muscular aches. It may be valuable for sports with weight classes such as wrestling, boxing etc. since it does not usually result in a weight gain. 

Perhaps in a later article I can go into further detail, but you have enough here to dramatically improve your strength and power rapidly.   

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bertil Fox Seminar (1979)

Check into Joe Roark's Iron History Forum! 
Megatons of Information Over There.

Note: Your Real Name will be required for access. 


British bodybuilder Bertil Fox is a phenomenon of our times. He is, to say the least, a paradox. He trains heavy, yet doesn't try to set power lift records. He works for size yet will not weigh himself, nor even measure his arms. At one time, at a British bodybuilding show, he did some 30 reps in the Press with two 100-lb. dumbbells! Yet at the time he was but 19 years of age. 

Training partners report that 'Foxy' usually performs his sets using between 5 and 8 reps. Some of his phenomenal training performances verified as being accurate by Health and Strength magazine include: 

Press Behind Neck - 300 lbs x 7 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press - 205 lb dumbbells
Dips - 250 lbs strapped on
Chins - 200 lbs strapped on 
One Arm Dumbbell Presses - 175 lbs
Flyes - 135 lb dumbbells
Barbell Curls - 290 lbs
End Bar Rows - 450 lbs
Leg Presses - 1,350 lbs

"He used to do lat pulldowns," says his partner, "but he changed to another exercise after the machine bent with 420 lbs on it." 

The same reporter says that Bertil frequently performs slow concentration curls with a 100-lb dumbbell, and believe this . . . side laterals with 95 lb dumbbells. 

"Bertil Fox," according to NABBA secretary Oscar Heidenstam . . . "is one  of those modest people who wants little more than to be left in peace to lift . . . Without doubt, one of the greatest bodybuilders, not only of the present generation, but of all time." 

Fox will live to do battle on the North American pro circuit . . . and many of his British fans feel he will wipe the field. How big are his arms? At present, nobody knows for sure. But, that won't stop you hazarding a guess, will it? twenty, twenty one, twenty . . . 

 Click Pic to ENLARGE

Bertil is introduced to the members of the audience by gym owner and seminar organizer Jim Charles. After a plea to the audience that he hopes they won't spend too much time on the issue of drugs, the first question thrown at Bertil is the old faithful . . . 

Q: How many times a week do you train? 

A: I train five times a week from Monday to Friday, but when a contest approaches I train on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Q: Do you train fast or slow? 

A: Well, I just train at the right speed that enables me to catch my breath. I don't train very fast and I don't think I train very slowly. I just let my body tell me when it is ready for the next set. I like to keep myself hot because when I cool down I just lose my concentration.

Q: Who is the most impressive physique you have ever seen? 

A: I've always admired massive size so I would say Sergio Oliva and probably Larry Scott have inspired and impressed me more than anyone others.

Q: How much abdominal work do you do? 

A: Before a contest I would go to my employer and arrange six weeks leave so that I could apply myself fully without any interference. During this time I would be following a double split routine, training my abs in the morning and evening.

Q: What exercises do you do for your abdominals? 

A: I do 20 sets of Roman Chair Situps, 20 sets of Parallel Bar Leg Raises, and 20 sets of regular Situps. 

Q: Do you train your abs before or after a workout

A: Some guys train their abs at the beginning of a workout, but I personally don't agree with that, and always train them at the end of my workout.   

Q: Do you use steroids? 

A: Well, I don't really like to talk about that because of all the controversy about it nowadays. Things are exaggerated so much that it becomes ridiculous.

Q: Would you advise bodybuilders and lifters to take steroids? 

A: Personally, no. But of course this must be left entirely up to the individual. I think he must look at his potential and ask himself if the rewards would be worth the health risk. I feel that apart from the odd few professional bodybuilders who are actually making money from the sport, everyone else is simply risking their own health for nothing.

Q: The standards in the game have risen so much during the last ten years. Do you think this is purely a result of steroid usage? 

A: No, I don't. What a lot of guys don't appreciate is that all the top men are training very hard all the time, four to six times a week very intensely. I know of some guys who don't even train properly and yet they are taking steroids. This is ridiculous. You must understand that out of all the guys involved in bodybuilding and lifting only a handful will ever win a big title. 

Q: How do you train your arms? 

A: I train my arms three times a week. I superset biceps with triceps most of the time, although this is done mainly to save time. My favorite exercises are one arm preacher bench curls, barbell curls, and dumbbell concentration curls. My current arm routine, although I change thins now and again, is this: 

I start out with incline dumbbell curls with about 75-85 lb dumbbells for about 10 reps. These are supersetted with lying triceps extensions for about five sets. 

My next superset usually consists of heavy preacher bench curls and triceps pressdowns, adding weight each set, which I think is very important. 

I finish off my arms with my favorite type of concentration curl, which is the one arm DB curl over the incline bench or preacher bench. This is a fantastic exercise for building peak and shape to the biceps. I like to go for 20 reps on this one using a 75 or 85 lb dumbbell. I follow this with a special kind of triceps pushdown which I do bent over at a 45-degree angle and using a short shaped bar. I push down and into my body. After this I strap some weight on and do as many dips as I can. I do four complete circuits of these three exercises and by this time my arms are pretty pumped! 

Q: Do you constantly strive to increase your training poundages? 

A: Yes, I do. I think you must do this if you want to progress. If you use the heaviest weight possible and still get your reps out then I think you are on the right track.

Q: How many sets per bodypart do you do? 

A: I nearly always do five sets per exercise after a short warmup. I use between four and five exercises per muscle group. So I guess I'm doing 20 to 30 working sets per bodypart.

Q: How do you train your legs? 

A: At the moment because I have no contests in mind, I start out with heavy squats, increasing the weight each set. Then I superset standing barbell hack squats and leg extensions. We don't have a hack squat ma chine at our gym but I doubt if I would use it if we did. My last thigh exercise is legs curls with a dumbbell held between my feet because we don't have a leg curl machine either. All these exercises are done for the usual five sets each.

Q: What about your calves? 

A: For calves my favorite is seated calf raises with a barbell on my knees, with some padding under it. My other favorite is an exercise you do in the squatting position with a weight on your back, and your toes on a block.

Q: Do you have a trainer or coach? 

No, I don't have a coach. You see, I was very lucky when I first started out training to meet two really good guys in the game. They were Henry Greaves and Lincoln Webb. I don't know if any of you remember them. 

   Henry Greaves

Lincoln Webb, Wilfred Sylvester

Well, anyway, they both seemed to have spotted my potential and they guided me into training habits which I still follow. They constantly encouraged me to train hard on the heavy basic exercises and always told me to avoid the "fancy stuff" which was being used by a lot of the stars of the day.

Q: What kind of basic routine are you talking about? 

A: Oh, bench press, dumbbell flyes, bentover rows, standing press, side laterals, high pulls, and of course the old superset of squats and straight arm pullovers. 

Bench Press                 
Dumbbell Flye
Barbell Row
Overhead Press
Side Laterals
High Pull
Squat, superset with 
Straight Arm Pullover

I think that's a very good routine to build size on before you even consider going onto the "fancy" stuff. 

Q: Would you like to take on the rest of the pros at the Mr. Olympia? 

A: Yes, I would like to enter the Olympia, but I'm not sure if I will. It depends on a lot of things and they're too complex to mention here. 

Q: Do you consider the Mr. Olympia to be the ultimate contest? 

A: Yes, I think it must be. All the top guys are entering and of course the money's there.

Q: What do you eat six weeks before a contest? 

A: Six weeks before a contest I eat a lot of liver. I also eat meat, tuna fish, and plenty of eggs.

Q: Do you eat a lot? 

A: Yes, I eat a hell of a lot. You've got to when you're training very hard and your diet is purposely unbalanced. [Purposely unbalanced . . . that 's the first time I've heard it described that way. Perfect!]   

Q: Do you use food supplements? 

A: I take a little but I rely mainly on natural foods with the bulk of my protein coming from eggs. I have a special protein drink which I make up and take with me to the gym to take sips from during my workout. 

Q: What does this special drink consist of? 

A: I fill a blender with a powder I have made up at the chemist, some cottage cheese, bananas, yogurt, and 12 eggs. I fill this up with water because I never use milk. I take one of these drinks to work with me and another one when I train. [Bertil worked as a train operator on the London Underground].

Q: How many eggs per day do you eat? 

A: 12 with my first protein drink. Another 12 with my second drink, and 8 scrambled before a workout. 

Q: Have you any hobbies? 

A: Yes, I like to listen to Reggae and pop music. 

Q: Do you eat vegetables with your meals? 

A: I like a little potato with my meals.

Q: How much sleep do you get? 

A: Eight hours.

Q: Do you run? 

A: The only time I run is on a Friday when it's pay day! 

Q: Do you believe in running as an aid to your training? 

A: Well, they say it's supposed to be good for your definition, and maybe it is but I've never used it. I think it is good for you though, because you start sweating and your heartbeat increases. 

Q: Do you drink? 

A: I don't have a favorite local spot like the other guys. But you invite me to a party and I'll drink baby! 

Q: How long do your workouts last? 

A: Usually 2-1/2 to 3 hours. 

Q: Have you ever tried the short training methods such as advocated by the Nautilus system and more recently by Mike Mentzer? 

A: No, as I said before my training is based on what I learned from Henry Greaves and Lincoln Webb. The only thing different that I do is to switch my exercises around. For example, I might do incline barbell presses instead of dumbbell bench press, or I might do flat bench dumbbell curls instead of preacher curls, and so on. I think this is a good idea because it prevents any staleness.

Q: How long do you stick to a particular course before you change things? 

A: Usually about three or four months.

Q: Do you always train to failure? 

A: Oh, all this talk about training to failure! Look, I'll tell you what I do. Take the seated press behind the neck using the 90-degree angle bench. 

I put two 50's, two 25's and two 15's on the bar. I do a set of about 10 reps. My training partner puts on another two 15's and I do another 8 to 10 reps. I then put another two 15's on and do as many reps as I can. For my last set I will probably have two 50's, two 25's, and six 15's. I then do what I call a staggered set. [Call it a drop set if you like but it's still a staggering piece of training!] I do about 6 reps with this weight, and then my training partner will take off two 15's and I carry on the set. When I can do no more my training partner takes off another two 15's and I continue until I can do more. That's MY system for training to failure. 

Q: Have you ever employed the pre-exhaust system of working an isolation exercise prior to a compound exercise? 

A: No, I never have. I always like to start with the heavy exercises first. 

Q: How do you train your chest? 

A: Well, at the moment I start out with very, very heavy flat dumbbell bench presses for about 5 or 6 sets of 10 reps. After these I do 5 sets of incline barbell presses increasing the weight each set, and on my last set I use the staggered set style I explained earlier. I then finish off by supersetting incline dumbbell flyes with heavy weighted parallel bar dips. 

Q: Do you get soreness in the muscles after your workouts and how important do you feel this soreness is to your progress? 

A: I do get sore from time to time but I don't think you have to be sore all the time to gain from your training. I think soreness really only applies when you change to a different exercise or do something in a different way. If you're training hard and regular and you're really putting your mind into it then I wouldn't worry too much about muscle soreness. 

Q: How do you group your bodyparts together during your workouts? 

A: On Monday I train my shoulders and arms. On Tuesday I do back and chest. Wednesday I do legs and arms. Thursday I train chest and back again, and on Friday I do shoulders and arms again. 

Q: How do you train your shoulders? 

A: I start off with 5 sets of heavy seated press behind neck on a 90-degree incline bench, after some warmup sets. Then I do the two dumbbell seated press. I do these as if I was holding a barbell and lower the inside plates until they touch my delts. I start off with a pair of 85's and then the 100's, 110's and so on. After these I like to do 5 sets of high pulls or upright rowing and my final exercise is the dumbbell side lateral raise. 

Q: How do you train your back? 

A: I nearly always start off with the one arm dumbbell row using a very heavy poundage, after some warmup sets. I then do 4 or 5 sets of behind the neck lat pulldowns. Then 4 sets of close grip pulldowns to the waist. I finish off with a superset of chins and dumbbell pullovers. 

Q: Have you ever trained alone or in a home gym? 

A: No, I could never train alone because I need a couple of guys to lift the weights up to me and to take plates off quickly for the staggered sets, and I've always trained at a proper gym.

Q: What do you weigh? 

A: I don't think you're going to believe this but I never weigh or measure myself. I always let the mirror be my guide, and incidentally, if you ever see a story that says Bertil Fox's arms measure such and such, you better believe that this is a lie, because no one knows what my arms measure . . . even I don't! 

Q: What are your favorite bodybuilding magazines? 

A: I like Iron Man and I like the Weider mags. 

Q: What is your opinion of the top professionals who entered this year's IFBB Mr. Olympia contest? 

A: Well, some people are always telling me that I don't appreciate how good I am, but when I see pictures of Zane, Robinson, and Mentzer, etc., they really give me the creeps. Man, these guys are fantastic. They frighten the life out of me. 

Q: Does anybody advise you about your training? 

A: No, no one. You see, I've got this hangup about size and when I was training for the 1976 NABBA Mr. Universe contest I felt that nobody could stop me. To my surprise two little Japanese guys probably weighing less than 170 lbs beat me. 

I couldn't see this at the time, but being beaten at that contest was the best thing that could have happened to me because I have now learned to balance my size with cuts and definition.

Q: If you were ever offered a film contract would you be prepared to lose as much weight as Arnold and Steve Reeves did, or would you do as Reg Park did and refuse?

A: Ha, ha, ha! It depends on how much money I was going to get.

Q: Do you ever take a rest from training?

A: No, the only time I don't train is if I'm sick. I don't even take a break for a holiday.

Q: Have you ever had any serious training injuries?

A: No, I haven't had anything serious in the way of injuries, although I hurt my back a few years ago. My only problem is that my elbows hurt now and again.

Q: Do you train your forearms?

A: No, I've never trained my forearms. I get all I need from my curls.

Q: When you do your pressing exercises do you lock out or not?

A: Yes, I always lock out all my exercises.

Q: Would you like to compete in the World Super Star Competition like Lou Ferrigno did?

A: Yes, I really would like to enter this competition and I think I could do really well because I was very good at gymnastics, football, running, and boxing. If I ever did get a chance to enter there's no way that I'd let bodybuilding down and I'd do my best to win it.

Q: What do you think women feel about bodybuilders.

A: Well, I usually find that after a time when they get to know a bodybuilder they usually change their opinion entirely. At first they probably think a bodybuilder might crush them to death but I think that after a while they will learn to see how dedicated we are and understand things better.

Q: What made you take up bodybuilding?

A: The old story, I'm afraid. The Reeves Hercules films and the Tarzan movies. These impressed me very, very much as a kid.

Q: How does your training differ when a contest approaches?

A: Well, I'll tell you, in all my training I am constantly trying to get bigger because I still don't feel that I'm big enough yet. Cuts for cuts sake don't interest me at all. But of course I realize that in order to win a major contest you MUST cut up. During my cutting up period when I am dieting hard and my strength and energy levels are lower I will tend to do less of the heavy stuff, such as the heavy presses behind the neck and dumbbell presses. But as soon as a contest is over and I come off my diet it's back to workouts for increased muscular size. Remember, the name of the game is body BUILDING.

Q: How many carbohydrates do you take in prior to a contest?

A: Apart from the indirect carbo contents of some of the foods, I take NO CARBS AT ALL. I don't feel very good during this time but I sure do cut up.

Q: Do you follow as strict style during your exercises?

A: I don't train TOO strictly, I much prefer a loose style with more weight. I watch lots of guys wasting their time training with tiny little dumbbells, and training in an ultra strict style. I much prefer a fairly loose style with plenty of weight.

Q: Are there any British bodybuilders that impress you?

A: Yes, Tony Emmott impresses me a hell of a lot each time I see him.

Tony Emmott (pro winner), Bertil Fox (amateur winner).

This was the last question thrown at Bertil by the audience and for the next hour or so we were privileged to watch the great man display the type of training style that has produced for him probably the greatest physique the world has ever seen. Only time will tell . . . 

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