Sergio Oliva (b.1941 – d. 2012) was a Cuban Bodybuilder known as "The Myth" and he won the Mr. Olympia title three years in a row. Before Bodybuilding he did Olympic Weightlifting. He started Weightlifting to escape his home Cuba and come to the United States in Miami. And there he started Bodybuilding. Three Months later he was in the Mr. Florida Contest and he was able to beat guys with 5 - 10 years of training experience. Olympic Lifting helped and gave Sergio the fundamental development to train heavy. He had a lot of potential for bodybuilding with his frame and Olympic background.
When he went to Germany to compete in '72 Olympia his chest was 58 inches and his arms 22 2/3 inches. And now here is Sergio's Training Routine!
Monday: Chest, Back and Shoulder
-Chin ups (Wide Grip)
-Press behind the neck
He developed his pecs and lats at the same time. He does wide grips on a V-bar. He does also front, behind the neck and chin with a close grip. He does lots of reps. Chinups are excellent for the lats and a V-shape according to Sergio.
He did not lock out the bench press. He did it fast pace of short reps. He locked out every once in awhile to take the pressure in his shoulders/chest and kept going.
Sergio was able to benchpress 525lb/238kg and 350lb/158kg for 50 times
Tuesday: Shoulder and Arms
He trained shoulder again but he tried to hit different section. I wrote an explanation below how he trained the "different sections" of the muscle.
-Tricep Press Down
-Squats (5 Sets)
Squats and thighs extensions for the front of the thighs and leg curls for the leg bicep. According to him leg presses and hack squats are also good.
He does squats until he sits on his calves. He used a 4x4 piece of wood under his heels. Sergio pointed out that you have to do full squats for complete leg development. He had his feet at a 45 degree angle in all his squats. Sergio was able to squat between 650 and 670lb.
-Press Behind Neck in combination with Rowing Machine
-Sitting Press with Dumbells
Again Pressing but different angles/sections:
-Side Bends with Bar Behind Neck
-Squats (3 sets)
6 days a week?
Most of the time he used to train 4 days a week but if a show is close he trained 6 days a week.
Sergio's Idea of training different areas
Sergio admitted to make the same beginner's mistakes. He only trained one area. Do not work only one part/area of the muscle. Sergio cites that you have to train the muscle on all angles/section.
He did lying triceps extensions with a cable. Then seated triceps extensions with a barbell and then lying French Curl with barbell. Thus he was able to hit all the areas of the muscle.
Off-Season: He used to do less sets and increased the weight. He ate and drank anything (chocolate shakes, pizza).
As a Competition gets closer he quitted eating junk food and dropped the heavy weight and trained light (12sets with 10 reps. Sometimes he used to do 30, 40 or 50 reps.)
Sets per body part
He does a lot of sets. Some exercises he does 5 sets, some 2 sets, some 3 sets. On Monday he worked chest, back and shoulders only. He did a lot of benches (around 7 sets) but only 3 sets of declines and 3 sets of inclines because he already worked the chest hard with benches. Then chinups, pull overs, dips flyes, crushes...but he only did 3 sets of all of these.
For arms the same. Heavy curls: 4 - 5 sets and in the assistance work only 3 sets ( preacher curls, dumbbell curls, french presses)
How to Build V-Shape/Waistline like Sergio?
He was genetically gifted. As a kid he always had a V-Shape. Thus there is no secret about Sergio's waist line. But he cited that before a competition he did sit ups and leg raises (3 -4 sets). He responded very good to sit ups and leg raises.
He used to pump the muscle. He did heavy curl and got an incredible pump and he would not stop. He dropped the heavy curls and did some preacher curls and other movements to keep the pump!
In the past there came a few fitness articles out and they had what was supposed to be Sergio's workout routine. One said that Sergio didn't do bench press.
Also Sergio had changed his routine a little whenever he thought of new routines. But the routine above is from the magazine 'Muscle Training Illustarted 1973" and I am thinking this one comes close to Sergio's training.
"Stay with the basics execises - squats, rows, curls, cleans" Sergio Oliva