Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Britain's Super Strong Man - Bert Assirati -- "Pop" Assirati (1948)


A week of so ago we hit the 13,000,000 page view mark. 
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Bert Assirati can rightly claim to be one of the world's strongest men as well as Britain's heavyweight champion professional wrestler, and a worthy contender for the World's title. 

Owing to his name his nationality has been queried. To enlighten the skeptics, I will inform them that his grandparents were of Northern Italian stock. Both his father and mother were born in London, and Bert first saw light of day a stone's throw from the Angel, Islington.  

From his early boyhood days his ambition was to be a strong man. He was a good listener to the stories I told him about the famous Eugen Sandow, Arthur Saxon and the other prominent strong men. He delighted in the stories of Hackenschmidt, Gama, Yukio Tani and other famous wrestlers popular on these shores. And thus were sown the seeds -- an ambition one day to emulate the great men.

So, at the age of 12, he started training. In the beginning he juggled with any old weight or heavy object in an unorthodox fashion. He was (and still is) his own trainer, but always had a listening ear to those better informed in the Iron Game. 

He came under the influence of Alan P. Mead, the famous physical culturist and muscle control expert, who saw great possibilities in the boy and generously presented him with an up to date barbell and dumbbell set. From that moment Bert never looked back, but continued in a more orthodox fashion weight lifting, strand pulling, muscle contracting and deep breathing, always working in a dour fashion and with perseverance.  

About this time he joined the Ashdown Wrestling Club and laid a foundation for his later career. By the age of 17 he had built himself up and was a splendid specimen of early manhood. 

It was then he came in contact with a well known professional acrobat called Mello. They teamed up and toured the world as Mello and Nello. So, as well as being strong, Bert became a first class acrobat. The experience gained stood him in good stead in his later wrestling career; he knows how to hit the floor and bounce back without turning a hair. 

Whilst touring on the stage he always sought local clubs where he could lift, wrestle and exercise according to the facilities afforded there. Breaking from Mello, he joined a troupe of wrestlers managed by Jack Carrol and Peter Gotz. He improved tremendously under the expert tuition of the grand wrestlers and toured the country challenging all comers. Desiring to be a full sized heavyweight, he specialized in barbell and dumbbell training, and built himself from 13st 9 lb to 16 stone. [191-224pounds].

A few years later he again specialized with this form of training, and went from 16 to 19 stone [224-266]. During the past 12 or more years he has successfully beaten all opponents. He recently won a tournament at Harringay, London, which was open to all the world. 

Today he is ready to meet all comers -- no one barred. Had he persevered as a strongman his career in that game would also have been assured. He has performed feast, both in public and private, that have astonished onlookers. Among his many feats are: 

Right Hand Military Press (heels touching) - 160 pounds
Left Hand      "            "                  "                - 145 
Lateral Raise Lying                                         - 160
Pullover at Arms' Length                                - 200
Ditto, 17 reps                                                    - 140
Two Hands Strict Curl                                      - 180
Two Hands Press                                              - 285
Two Hands Clean & Jerk                                  - 360
Two Hands Continental Jerk                            - 380
Full Deep Knee Bend                                        - 550

He is a great believer in open air exercises and deep breathing, and is a sun worshipper. He claims his strength was mainly built up with weight training. For light work he likes swimming, running and cycling. 

His advice is: "Work hard at any form of training in which you are engaged, rest plenty and eat of the best food obtainable -- such as meat, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables. Don't be a faddist, but eat as much as you can healthily digest. 

His motto -- "I fear no man" -- is no idle boast; yet all who know Bert can verify his extreme modesty towards his fellow man, both in and out of the arena.

His present measurements are: \
Height - 5 ft 6 in
Weight - 234 pounds
Neck - 19.75 in
Chest (normal) 50
Upper Arm - 18.5
Forearm - 14.75
Wrist - 8
Waist - 38
Hips - 43.5
Thigh - 29
Calf - 17.5
Ankle - 11.25

Enjoy Your Lifting! 

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