A-4033 DVD - Brutal Fox in Training
by Matt Canning
The DVD started off with the warning:
The following program is not intended as a guideline to training. It is designed to show how Bertil "Brutal" Fox works out. Using actual training weight and methods.
Right off the bat, this DVD was shown to be Bertil working out and nothing more - not an instructional video like pretty much all other videos of the era - this was going to simply be Bertil's hardcore training with whatever heavy weights and core exercises he planned to use! Just like the bodybuilding DVDs today - pretty much every single one of them just shows the bodybuilders in the gym working out. Few of them offer much instruction. And this is what most people want to see for the most part - a "real life" type of training video. Bertil had the same idea 15 or 20 years before everyone else did! Talk about insightful. And just because this video wasn't directly instructional, don't think that it isn't a valuable training tool. Bertil did spend time in between sets explaining the whys and hows of what exactly he's doing.
Bombing the Chest
Bertil started off with 135 pounds on the bench press and followed it up with 225 for an EASY 10 reps (and I mean easy as pie - like it was the empty bar!). After that Bertil did 295 for nine easy reps. Again, so easy you would think the plates were made of wood! His training partner did a set next with 245 and appeared to be struggling to the same degree I would with that weight (handling the weight, but definitely feeling it). He was not even close to Bertil's strength level (and this guy was pretty strong). Bertil then moved the weight up to 365 for nine more easy as pie reps. Believe me - he is stronger than TONS of pros today - Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, and Gunter Schlierkamp, just to name a few of the top pros who are not nearly as strong as Bertil - and these guys are the best around. Bertil then did 435 for eight hard reps with a bit of spotter assistance. Even still I would just bet Bertil could have got 12 with his spotter helping him if he wanted to. He was like Ronnie - strong as a truck, yet never going to what appeared to be absolute failure, but close to it. Some pros you see going to failure aren't nearly as strong as Bertil and Ronnie Coleman (the ONLY pro I can think of who would very likely be SLIGHTLY stronger than Bertil). Even Johnnie O. Jackson would not beat Johnnie in the upper body.
505 - 1 rep
435 - 2 reps
365 - 4 reps
295 - 2 reps
225 - 5 reps (with some spotter assistance)
On the last set of bench presses, Bertil likes to do it a little lighter. Lighter being 295 for nine reps. LOL.
Bertil then went on to do incline dumbbell presses for a warmup. He did the 130s next for eight reps. His form sucked - his tempo was way off and he seemed to quit at the first sign of a struggle which really makes me think he was a genetic freak for muscle and strength. Bertil was obviously the kind of guy who could just look at food and weights and 'roids and grow. Talk about genetics. And he was underrated as hell in the pro ranks. Bertil did another set with dumbbells which were probably around 150s for a working set. His strength was frightening. He went "light" on the last set, using 130s (his warmup weight LOL). How many juiced-to-the-gills pros are there these days stronger than Bertil? Not many! Hell, the only pros that I can think of who may be stronger would be Ronnie Coleman and Johnnie Jackson. I have heard a lot about Branch Warren's strength too though. But Ronnie is pretty much THE ONLY pro I've seen on video prove to be as strong as Bertil or stronger. And I suspect that if Bertil had trained with Ronnie he would have been able to do as much, with both pushing each other. They would have made a great team if they competed in the same era. Bertil went on to superset incline fly’s with weighted dips, once again showing off his unreal strength. I'm telling you - compare this guy's strength to ANY pro's strength in a video today and you will NOT find one stronger. I don't think anyone will motivate you to work out more than this guy. And by the way - DO NOT train like Bertil! He probably only never got injured because of his genetics. Training like this is an injury waiting to happen.
Bertil said that he drinks some water when he is working out - and that is a good thing to have in the gym. Plain old water. Keep it simple. Bertil was doing dips and incline fly’s with what appeared to be well over 100 pounds. He went on to do cable crossovers, once again, with poor form but ridiculous weight. And believe me, he could have been just as strong with proper form. My guess is he was always just a sloppy trainer, but his intensity made up for it. I am quite surprised he was never seriously injured though.
Bombing the Back
Now if Bertil was going to get injured anywhere, my guess it would be the back. Sloppy form and heavy back exercises is not a combination you want to see. And right off the bat he started doing bent over rows with heavy weight. At least about 255 with ease. The funny thing was that his form was sloppy again - yet you could tell by the way he was handling the weights he could have used way more weight with perfect form! Not to mention he would quit before he reached failure, and that was obvious, so I couldn't even BEGIN to imagine what a freak he would have been if he used good form and more weight. This really speaks for his strength in a big way. Even with weight you know was lighter than his max, he was STILL stronger than virtually all pros today. He was simply unreal. In between his sets, Bertil explained his back training philosophy and said he wasn't a big lover of deadlifts. His one notable weakness was his narrow back in the back double biceps pose. I wonder how his back would have looked had he done deadlifts? Although maybe that WASN'T such a good idea because he would have probably then definitely been injured.
Bertil next did dumbbell rows with heavy dumbbells for reps, once again with ease. While he was ridiculously strong in pressing movements, he was strong everywhere else too! There really weren't any imbalances to speak of. It looked like Bertil was using the 150s for his dumbbell rows - and other than a few select pros like Ronnie, not many today are that strong. I guess there is a point in everyone's genes where their strength sort of "maxes out", and Bertil's strength just happened to max out at a point far greater than the norm! Bertil next did lat pulldowns using the wide grip bar using lots of weight. He was doing a huge stack behind the neck. Next he did dumbbell pullovers. I don't see why he was doing them with back because this is a chest exercise. Arnold used to say it would "expand the ribcage" but I think that is a load. Some would say "Can you really argue with Arnold and his results?" Yep. Arnold had a huge ribcage naturally - same as how some people are 5'9 and others are 6'6. There is no scientific evidence to prove that dumbbell pullovers actually do expand the ribcage. Bertil was super setting pullovers with weighted chinups. He was using a wide reverse grip for the chinups - these are a lot harder to perform than the close front grip. Samir next did cable rows with heavy weight. His form wasn't as bad for this exercise, but it is kind of hard to screw up the form on these.
Bertil was asked why he puts his body through great punishment and he said he does it out of love. He said he likes being one of the biggest people in the world. Bertil explained that certain genetic factors such as muscle insertions are impossible to control. All that you can do is make the best with what you have, but because of these genetic factors, only a select few will be champions.
Next up, there was an interview with Arnold about Bertil. Arnold said he was a huge fan of Bertil. Bertil appeared to be twice as wide as Arnold! And this from a guy who was said to be structurally narrow? I have NEVER understood that comment about Bertil. Now I could see if you said Rich Gaspari was structurally narrow, but not Bertil - his frame was quite large. I know Arnold hadn't competed for a few years at the time of the interview and was into movies and Bertil was offseason, but he still looked twice as wide as Arnold. Arnold said that Bertil would probably win the Mr. Olympia in Munich in 1983 and keep it for many years since he was young. He said Bertil is a muscleman that the judges should reward and not a ballet dancing type of guy (*cough* Chris Dickerson *cough*). And I have never understood why Chris was ever Mr. Olympia. He did have great calves though. By the way, in what was quite possibly the most ridiculous judging decision EVER in the history of bodybuilding, Bertil placed fifth at the 1983 Mr. Olympia. What a joke. I think that is when the IFBB judging lost its credibility.
Bombing the Delts
Bertil started off with dumbbell presses for the delts, quite quickly getting right into the 100+ pound dumbbells. Bertil also did what appeared to be a cross between front and side lateral raises (his form was so bad that I couldn't tell which it was). Immediately he was asked about his horrible form. LOL. Bertil explained that you need the heavy weight to build big muscles and that he wasn't coming to the gym to keep fit - he was a bodybuilder.
Bertil did shrugs next with more horrid form. It really does amaze me how some people can grow like this. He just lifted the heaviest weights possible, ate big, and took steroids, and he grew huge - the rest was all genetics, as that is the most important factor. It was amazing to see how much Bertil swayed during the barbell shrugs, because this is one exercise where the form is REALLY hard to screw up! He also wasn't using as much weight as I would have expected him to be using considering his poor form. He did cable extensions next for delts with surprisingly good form. Probably as good as I've ever seen in a bodybuilding video.
Bertil did dumbbell curls for biceps using 80s to start off with and curling them like they were feathers. Once again, Bertil not only used bad form, but made up the bad form he used - he was curling all the way to the top, bringing his elbows up and bringing the dumbbell behind his shoulders. Crazy. He was super setting these dumbbell curls with heavy triceps press downs. He next used what looked to be the 95 dumbbells for 10 easy reps, and given that his range of motion was longer than most, he could have probably done way more weight with a normal range of motion. He went back to the triceps press down machine, using the full stack with a close grip V-bar. Bertil went on to do 105 pound curls for 10 reps, which looked to be medium to high intensity for him. At least these dumbbells looked to be 105s. But they may have been 85s. Flex Wheeler once said he curled the 130s and everyone said that was BS. Bertil was doing close to that weight for 10 and with a greater range of motion! Granted, he was swaying a lot, but he was damn strong. Bertil grabbed what was marked on the dumbbell rack as being "90s" but what looked like the 115s and did them for eight reps. if you count the plates in these dumbbells - they looked like 115!
Once again, being subtle to comment on Bertil's horrid form, he was asked about injury. Bertil made a good point that "no one sets out to be injured." This may be true, but at the same time, some do at least apply some preventative techniques - Bertil honestly didn't seem to do so at all. He was an injury waiting to happen in my book. But he paid his dues and that's all that matters. Bertil next did standing barbell curls with the cambered bar using 160 pounds for nine reps. He swayed during the exercise, as I would expect from Bertil, but surprisingly not too much. Bertil was asked about his cheat curls and justified it for building big muscles, saying good form is a fallacy. It was said that cheating was becoming kind of a theme in his workout. Bertil didn't reply, but this comment was quite obviously accurate. He supersetted the heavy barbell curls with more triceps press downs, this time using two single handles. More bad form as usual. He then did curls with somewhere between 170-250 for eight reps, although it might have been around 190. It was tough to say because these weights may have been different from how they looked, depending on factors such as brand name and material used (density). Bertil went on to do single handed dumbbell curls on the cables using lots of weight and the usual form. He also did heavy dumbbell preacher curls on the incline bench. This is an old school and effective exercise - as were almost all of Bertil's exercise choices.
For triceps, Bertil also did cable extensions. He had some huge biceps and triceps.
Bertil took off his tank top next to hit some poses. He was a huge thick freak and this posing was as impressive as any that I've seen. He hit some of his favourite poses including the most muscular and the front lat spread - Bertil loved the most muscular poses.
Bombing the Legs
For legs, Bertil started off with squats, warming up with 225 for some easy reps to parallel. He quickly moved the weight up, still going to parallel. Bertil quickly went up to 365 for a strong set. Next up was 455 for 10 reps to parallel. Bertil then did 505 for 10 reps, pausing after the eighth rep before doing his final two. Talk about intensity. Next up, Bertil hit the leg presses, again using heavy weight. His squat form was surprisingly good and so was his leg press form. The thing about these exercises is that you can't really mess up the form no matter what you do, since the motion is so simplistic. Neither exercise really gives the option to sway very heavily, if at all. Bertil did only go to parallel on the squats, but that still isn't that bad. He wasn't doing the high school squats I expected. He was leg pressing over 700 pounds with good form, although my guess is that he can do a heck of a lot more than that. Bertil went on to do leg extensions. For hamstrings, Bertil did lying hamstrings curls and for calves he did seated calf raises using five plates (45 pounds each). Bertil had excellent calves! And that was just his warmup set. Bertil was quickly doing the calf raises with over 300 pounds for easy reps. Next Bertil did standing calf raises with the whole weight stack! Hundreds of pounds. He followed that set up with some crunches for his abs.