Hardcore Contender - Bertil Fox

Hard & heavy old school arm training

Some guys train heavy, some guys train hard. Fox did both in the same workout. He’d pound the free-weight basics for sets of six to eight loose-form reps, over and over again. Thirty such sets for biceps and 30 right afterward for triceps. Then, three or four days later, he’d do it again. If you need any further proof that Mentzer’s Heavy Duty did not catch on in the ’80s, check out the arm workout Fox used to prepare for the ’83 Olympia. It was certainly heavy, but probably 10 times the volume Mentzer would’ve recommended. FLEX’s first editor-in-chief, the late Bill Reynolds, christened Fox “Brutal” for his relentlessly heavy and lengthy workouts.

The nickname proved tragically prophetic when Fox was convicted of double murder in 1998. He was an enigma long before then. His arms, pecs and traps could hold their own in an Olympia posedown today, but his lats lagged, and the only time he nailed his conditioning (at the ’82 Night Of Champions) he had dieted away his trademark fullness so far he was almost unrecognizable. Still, during the early ’80s, when the Sandow seemed within the grasp of a half-dozen men, Fox was the most intriguing — if he could just get it all together. He never did, and fifth in 1983 was his highest placing on bodybuilding’s ultimate stage. But it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. For Brutal Bertil every set was a test of strength, and he tested himself over and over again in every workout.


  • EZ-bar curls, 6 sets, 6-8 reps, 200 lbs max weight
  • Incline dumbbell curls, 6 sets, 6-8 reps, 80s lbs max weight
  • Dumbbell concentration curls, 6 sets, 6-8 reps, 60 lbs max weight
  • Barbell preacher curls, 6 sets, 6-8 reps, 155 lbs max weight
  • One-arm cable curls, 6 sets, 8-10 reps, 60 lbs max weight
  • Lying extensions, 6 sets, 6-8 reps, 200 lbs max weight
  • Bench dips, 6 sets, 6-8 reps, 135 lbs on legs max weight
  • One-arm dumbbell overhead extensions, 6 sets, 8-10 reps, 60 lbs max weight
  • Pushdowns, 6 sets, 8-10 reps, 250 lbs max weight
  • One-arm pushdowns, 6 sets, 8-10 reps, 100 lbs max weight



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