Fat or Fit? Bert Assirati, World’s Strongest Man.

by Eric Shalit on October 30, 2009

Bert Assirati, world's strongest man.

We’re impressed by feats of physical strength and skill here. While roaming the vast universe of the web, I came across this photo set. It’s one of my favorites (c.1938). This is Bernardo (Bert) Asserati (1908–1990), who in addition to being a long-distance cyclist, was an English professional wrestler who became a multiple time British Heavyweight Champion. Assirati was one of the strongest and toughest wrestlers around. He was known for displaying various feats of strength, including setting a British record in 1938 by lying on his back, and pulling over at arms length a 200 lb. barbell. At a very stocky 5′ 7″ and 240 lbs, Assirati was one of the heaviest men to perform the iron cross!

Bert Assirati’s 1938 Feats of Strength

  • Could lay on his back on the floor, and pull over at arms length a 200 lb.
    barbell, to set a British record.
  • Could squat 800 lbs. unofficial World record.
  • Could squat with one leg with a 200 lbs. barbell on his shoulders.
  • Could squat continuously for half an hour while supporting 235 lbs.
  • Could perform three one arm pull-ups, at bodyweight of 240 lbs.
  • Could hold a one-hand stand when weighing 266 lbs.
  • Could do a crucifix on the rings when weighing 266 lbs.
  • Could do a military press of 160 lbs. with one arm.
  • Could perform a back somersault while holding a 56 lb. block weight in each hand.
  • Could perform back somersaults, or flip-flaps, while weighing 266 lbs.
  • Long distance cyclist.
  • Champion strand puller.
  • Could carry a piano a long distance on his back.
  • Could carry a telegraph pole a long distance on his back.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Iain Pitchford May 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

During a rainy weekend visiting the old folks I just bought unbeknown to me at the time Bert Assirati’s training bike as featured in that great photo. The bikes in great shape and came with a photo of Bert on the bike in his wrestling trunks and a letter from his wife, stating that the photo used to hang in the Macleans bike shop window in 1939, what a guy what a bike!


Mike Hallinan November 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Hi Iain ;
I am the official biographer of Bert Assirati and would like to see the bike, photo, and the letter from his wife.
Thanks Mike……..


Eric Shalit November 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Hi Mike:

I just emailed Iain with your comment. It would be great to update the Bert Assirati story. As his biographer, are there any additional photos and info you could send us that’s noteworthy. Particularly anything related to his cycling? My 2 sons and I are very impressed with Bert. Anyone who sees his photo gasps in awe. Are there any other bicycling strongmen you know of?



Eric Shalit May 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Hi Iain:
That’s amazing. Can you send us a photo of you with the bike now and an image of Bert with the bike, and letter? Better yet, just send the bike!
We are big fans of Bert Assirati here. I’m assuming you live in the UK. Did you see my article on Jack Taylor Cycles?


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