This entry was posted in bulking, cool, natural bodybuilding, training and tagged natural bodybuilding, serge nubret, steroids, training on by Truth Seeker. Arnold, Serge, and Sergio in Mr. To be honest, good information on Nubret’s training is still fairly scant, even with the advent of the internet. If you do a search, for instance, on “Serge Nubret training” you basically get one article that has been rewritten or “re-worded” - or just plain copied - on a number of different websites.

Serge Nubret is a successful bodybuilder and actor from the 70s. And he was known for his unconventional approach to training. Back then there were basically 3 groups of training philosophies in bodybuilding. There were some bodybuilder that built their physiques by a low-volume high-intensity high-loads approach like Mike Mentzer and Boyer Coe. Then there were bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Platz which used to rotate and mix a variety of approach from high-rep high-volume to low-rep high-load training. An then there was Serge Nubret who led the third type of training approach to bodybuilding in those golden days of Bodybuilding which was high-volume low-intensity approach. That means he would do up to 54 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions with 30 to 50% of his 1 RM per training.

Bascially what he did is Strengthtraining-Cardio.

Before going deeper into his approach one important factor to note when analyzing and applying his approach is his training foundation. Before he started bodybuilding he was a quite successful track athlete, sprinting 100m in 10,5 seconds, being known as a good shot-putter and bench pressing 225kg for reps at a bodyweight of about 85 kg. He was strong to begin is bodybuilding career. Which was a great base to succeed with the high-volume low-intensity approach he used.

Why high-volume low-intensity?

His main point was that lower weights lead to less injury risk. Yet, based on stories he would occasionally lift really heavy if someone doubts his strength. And second point thats the be made here is the importance of a metabolic stimulus for maximal muscular development. Its primarily Glycogen Supercompensation that will lead to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which is a key driver in bodybuilding. With some workouts being over 1000 reps the metabolic stimulus of this training approach is tremendous and even exceeds Milos Sarcev’s highly effective giant set approach in total number of reps done per training.

How to built up to such high training volume

Serge Nubret didn’t start out training like that. And he also had at least one longer break from training every year due to his job as an actor. After these breaks for shooting a movie he would go a start at 3 sets per exercise again and the work up to the 6 to 8 sets per exercise that he would do in peak condition. Thats 18 to 24 sets per workout at the beginning, which is a quite average approach to training. And then instead of increasing the weight he would add sets to build volume backup by adding sets. Up to about 50 sets of 12 to 20 reps total per workout.

Volume Training like Serge Nubret – how one of his programs

This is how one of his actual workouts looked like:

A BB Back Squat, 8 sets of 12 to 20 reps
B Legpress, 6 sets of 12 to 20 reps
C Legextension, 6 sets of 12 to 20 reps
D BB Flat Benchpress, 6 sets of 12 to 20 reps
E DB Flat Flies, 8 sets of 12 to 20 reps
F BB Incline Benchpress, 6 sets of 12 to 20 reps
G DB Incline Flies, 6 sets of 12 to 20 reps
H DB Pullover, 6 sets of 12 to 20 reps

He would train 6 days per week. Always two body parts per day. One for the upper body and one for the lower body. Most sets would not be to failure by leaving one or two reps in the tank. He took as much rest between the sets as he needed with workouts often taking up to three hours.

PartnerSerge Nubret Workout

Volume Training like Serge Nubret – An example program for the intermediate to advanced lifter

The following program is an adapted version of what Serge Nubret originally did with a total number of sets and exercise as well as a double station – A1 A2 – approach and Upper, Lower, Arms & Shoulders Split to fit this approach into the most efficient training time of one hour and the recovery ability of most intermediate to advanced lifters.

Day 1 – Upper Body

A1 DB 65° Incline benchpress, neutral grip, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest
A2 Latpulldown, supinated, shoulder width grip, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest
B1 DB Flatbenchpress, neutral grip, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest
B2 Seated Row to the sternum, straight bar, pronated, shoulderwidth grip, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2011 Tempo, 60 seconds rest

Day 2 – Lower Body

A BB Back Squat, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 3010 Tempo, 180 seconds rest
B DB Romanian Deadlift, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 180 seconds rest
C 45° Backextension, Db in front of your chest, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 180 seconds rest

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Shoulders & Arms

A1 Standing EZ Bar Curl, pronated, shoulder width grip, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest
A2 EZ Bar Flat Bench Triceps Extensions, pronated shoulder width grip, , 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest
B1 Standing BB Curl, supinated, shoulder width grip, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest
B2 High Pulley Triceps Pushdown with Rope, 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2010 Tempo, 60 seconds rest

Day 5 – Rest

Day 6 – Repeat Day 1

What Microperiodization system to use with this program?

The only Microperiodization system that makes sense with this set-rep-scheme is to start with the heaviest set and then decrease the weight from set to set. I recommend 1 to 2 warmup set for the first two exercises of each program.

Who is this Serge Nubret Volume Training Approach for?

This is definitely not a beginner program. Even though the sets and reps look similar to what many beginners get once they sign up to a gym. A beginner will barely make any progress with this training approach. To do this approach and get results there are two primary prerequisites.

First, one needs decent amount of strength and muscle mass. Serge Nubret could benchpress 225kg, yet he only used around 70 to 100kg for this amount of set and reps. So the absolute weights he used for this high-volume approach were fairly high, because of the high level of strength he had in relation. Doing benchpress with 40kg for these sets and reps will not give one the aspired results. You can see that in every gym all over the world.

Second, one needs a high level of work capacity. This is important to not drop too much load during a training session due to fatigue. Most will experience a drop in performance at around 15 to 20 sets per session. That is an average work capacity. To maintain a high work rate at 50 sets per session one needs a high level of work capacity. Compare it with running, doing one kilometer at 15 km/h is not that hard, doing 42 kilometers at 15km/ is quite hard, as its a marathon time of about 2:45h. Same counts for training volume, it only makes sense to use high volume if one can handle high volume which means one can progress in training with high volume.

How often can one do this program?

If someone has the work capacity and strength to handle this program well, one can do this program 6 workouts in a row, which is a full 30 days based on the split shown above. How long someone does this program is determined by how long one can progress from workout to workout that means use more weight or do more reps in every exercise from workout to workout. Once one cannot increase total or average weight or the reps, its time to move on to the next program.

This program is a great variation that I like for intermediate and advanced clients that have Body Comp goals and a work capacity that allows them to make progress from workout to workout.

Its a also a good approach for a once in a while workout right before a longer break like a vacation or a carb feast. As the high volume will increase insulin sensitivity a lot which improves blood sugar management and glucose metabolism.

Serge Nubret’s diet

To conclude an insight into Serge Nubret’s approach to training its with to also look at his food briefly. He was known have a fairly caribbean diet rich in meat, fish, vegetable, fruit and rice. He was known to eat up to 3kg of meat with rice and beans per day during his high volume training phases. He was a big believer in eating huge amounts of food to facilitate the recovery from this training approach. Which is definitely a critical point to consider for everyone trying this type of high-volume training.

Serge Nubret Workout Results

All the Best with Volume Training like Serge Nubret!

Serge Nubret's Son Stanley Nubret


Legendäre Trainingsprogramme, Novagenics, 2009

Picture: Serge Nubret showing the results of his high volume approach to training (source: tumblr)

Serge Nubret Workout And Diet

The following article was written by bodybuilder photographer Denie Walter (1980). He knew and met Serge Nubret! – Mr. Berg

Serge Nubret Workout Routine

“If I told you Serge Nubret – that super champion of all-time – is 41 years old, would you believe me? Of course you would not…but he is. And in spite of that he just keeps getting better and better and better.
I’ve observed him so often training, I feel these to be some of the most treasured moments in my physical culture career. Serge has such a diverse and different way to work-out. Often is discombobulates the Establishment with its current ideas of positive, negative, sets and pre-sets and all related pumping mania. Nubret has a simple philosophy! He trains ’til he doesn’t want to any more. These workouts may last on each body part with sparse resting up to an hour.
His frontal thighs are an example of ‘the things’ some fellows can only dream of in development. And yet, he hardly ever squats any more, although he does occasionally muck about with the move.
The leg programs I’ve taken down in memory consist of very simple training fare, but are not quite so easy as they look when done the ‘Nubret way.’
He begins on the thigh extension machine…for 10 or 12 reps with a weight he feels is comfortable. For three or four sets he’ll add weight going up.
When he weight starts getting really heavy, he does his set of reps at completion pausing for 30 seconds. After the pause he does a few more reps. Suddenly he moves off the machine and tears a few plates off – back on immediately for more reps. By now his face and body are breaking sweat; you can tell he’s hurting.
Just as he has gone on adding weight in the early sets, he comes down using this pause and tear-down weight off method. Take my word for it…the pain is severe, but of course it’s a good pain of searing muscle fatigue and not damage. Too many times bodybuilders misinterpret ‘the train for pain’ philosophy. Serge here is training for burn and pump trying to melt and striate the fat off his thighs – what little there is. He’s carving with these ripping-dripping thigh extensions.
After what seems to be about 20 minutes of this self-brutalization he leaves the machine to cool down. By now the bearings and moving parts are literally smoking.
In the thigh workouts I observed he roped in a training partner to go along with his ‘thigh killing’ principles. He wasn’t squatting as I said, at least not with weight anyhow. But his next little gem was a ‘pip’ which he called the ‘French Squat’ He used his training partners of the moment to gain ‘psyche’ energy from. It was competition to blow the thighs away and the poor fools he enlisted to get involved with this savage quad, rectus, and other leg muscles assault.
A bit weird, the French Squat can fool you, especially if you’ve used low reps in full squats. In this case even 15 reps in full are low. Serge picks his last workout’s high number and simply goes for it and onward adjusting the tension.
When he feels like it he may even hold a plate. He does in this move go as high as 300 or more reps…and once you try it, the realization rapidly becomes conscious that non-weighted squatting can be a ‘Cruel sea’ of hot blood gorging into your thighs.

Serge Nubret Workout

The way Serge performs this move is to squat with heels on a block to the half-way position. That’s the beginning; from here it’s all down hill. From the half-way mark you proceed to go all the way down – but never on the way up do you pass the half-way mark.
You just keep that tension on ’em and keep pumping out the reps until a pumping death comes knocking. Take my word for it, this French Squat it no ‘French tickler.’ But it serves about the same purpose as one of those ‘joy’ appliances giving your thighs a ‘boffing’ they won’t forget from the quads straight back to your tushie…and Nubret only stops when he has to stumble to a bench to sit down – and then he sets about in all his festering pain to torture his current or temporary partner verbally into the same position.
When Serge does squat – which is when he’s in the off-season and trying to gain bodyweight – it’s the barbell variety using a parallel-placed bench to stop ‘his Aunt Fanny’ from passing this level.
The last time he was in New York and trained at Mid-City in his bulkiest condition, he was in one of these barbell squat periods. Seeing him here with a barbell across his upper back-shoulder region is a rarely-viewed sight.”