Serge Nubret’s Old School Workout Routine

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Serge Nubret was an old school bodybuilder who concentrated on having an aesthetically pleasing physique rather than being a mass monster.

To accomplish his physique Serge Nubret actually didn’t lift heavy weights. He lifted moderate weights for higher reps and very high volume. The goal of Serge’s routine is to force as much blood into the muscle as possible for as long as possible, bringing vital nutrients into the muscle to aid growth.

Because it is a low weight routine, low rest periods are vital for success. One minute rest periods MAX – aiming for rest periods of 30 seconds.

Serge Nubret would do situps every single morning, seven days a week for one hour straight – working up to 2,000 sit-ups per day.

Serge would lift weights 6 days a week and he would hit each muscle group twice per week.

Monday: Chest, Quads and Abs

Tuesday: Back, Hamstrings and Abs

Wednesday: Shoulders, Arms, Calves and Abs

Thursday: Chest, Quads and Abs

Friday: Back, Hamstrings and Abs

Saturday: Shoulders, Arms, Calves and Abs

Sunday: Rest (abs only)

Serge Nubret’s Routine:

Monday:

Quads

Squats – 8 sets of 12 reps

Leg Press – 6 sets of 12 reps

Leg Extension – 6 sets of 12 reps

Chest

Bench Press – 8 sets of 12 reps

Flat Bench Flye’s – 6 sets of 12 reps

Incline Bench Press – 6 sets of 12 reps

Incline Flye’s – 6 sets of 12 reps

Dumbbell Pullovers – 6 sets of 12 reps

Tuesday:

Back

Chin-ups – 6 sets of 12 reps

Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns – 8 sets of 12 reps

Lat Pulldowns to the Front – 6 sets of 12 reps

Barbell Bent-over Rows – 6 sets of 12 reps

Hamstrings

Lying Leg Curl – 8 sets of 15 reps

Standing Leg Curl – 8 sets of 15 reps

Wednesday:

Shoulders

Behind the Neck Barbell Press – 6 sets of 12 reps

Alternate Dumbbell Front Raise – 6 sets of 12 reps

Barbell Upright Row – 6 sets of 12 reps

Cable Lateral Raise – 6 sets of 12 reps

Arms

Barbell Curl superset with Triceps Pushdowns – 8 sets of 12 reps

Dumbbell Curl superset with Triceps Dips – 8 sets of 12 reps

Calves

Standing Calf Raises – 8 sets of 12 reps

Seated Calf Raises – 8 sets of 12 reps

Thursday:

(Same as Monday)

Quads

Squats – 8 sets of 12 reps

Leg Press – 6 sets of 12 reps

Leg Extension – 6 sets of 12 reps

Chest

Bench Press – 8 sets of 12 reps

Flat Bench Flye’s – 6 sets of 12 reps

Incline Bench Press – 6 sets of 12 reps

Incline Flye’s – 6 sets of 12 reps

Dumbbell Pullovers – 6 sets of 12 reps

Friday:

(Same as Tuesday)

Back

Chin-ups – 6 sets of 12 reps

Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns – 8 sets of 12 reps

Lat Pulldowns to the Front – 6 sets of 12 reps

Barbell Bent-over Rows – 6 sets of 12 reps

Hamstrings

Lying Leg Curl – 8 sets of 15 reps

Standing Leg Curl – 8 sets of 15 reps

Saturday:

(Same as Wednesday)

Shoulders

Behind the Neck Barbell Press – 6 sets of 12 reps

Alternate Dumbbell Front Raise – 6 sets of 12 reps

Barbell Upright Row – 6 sets of 12 reps

Cable Lateral Raise – 6 sets of 12 reps

Arms

Barbell Curl superset with Triceps Pushdowns – 16 sets of 12 reps

Dumbbell Curl superset with Triceps Dips – 16 sets of 12 reps

Calves

Standing Calf Raises – 8 sets of 12 reps

Seated Calf Raises – 8 sets of 12 reps

Sunday:

Stay at home in bed and recover.

Worked for Serge.

Not too difficult is it?

To pick the weight for your 12 rep sets, use your 20 rep max. The goal is to use the same weight for each set of the exercise.  When you can complete each set of 12 reps go up 5 lbs and start over. The pump you will get from this routine will be unreal. It will feel like your muscles are bulging through your skin trying to get out! You might feel silly using somewhat light weight and gasping for breath but the results will be worth it!

Serge Nubret also ate like a Lion. He ate only one meal a day: 4 lbs of Horse meat and rice and beans.

This routine is hard but it is worth it. I did this routine a few years ago and I remember people coming up to me in the gym asking me how I was getting bigger so fast and if I was on steroids.

Give it a shot.

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Comments

  1. itrained with serge a few year a go in\ Paris he introduce me in bodybuilding
    this programm fit perfectly with his mode of trAINING
    IT WAS GREAT IN A MATTER OF 2 MONTH MY BODY CHANGE GREATLY
    I LIKE HIS PHYLOSOPHIE HE ALWAYS LOKING FOR PERFECTION

  2. I have just completed a 9 week cycle of this training. It’s amazing! Your nutrition and rest needs to be spot on though. One week I experienced an extreme loss of strength because of a lack of rest. i did play with my rest days and and took a day when needed. I am going right back to this on 8 weeks, it works.

  3. I’m really interested in doing this workout once I finish Bill Pearl’s 20 Month routine. I hope I can handle the volume!

  4. vonraider says:

    I find it hard to believe a true natural trainer could benefit from such high volume.

  5. You’ve got the Arm workout wrong. It’s 2 exercises for Biceps and 2 exercises for Triceps at 8 sets per exercise, making it 16 sets total (which you have).

    Ex. – 0 rest between supersets, back and forth until all 8 sets are done then move onto the next superset pair.

    Superset 1
    Barbell Curls Superset Push-downs 8 sets of 12

    Superset 2
    Hammer Curls Superset Overhead Ext 8 sets of 12

  6. Tony Ketzer says:

    it is widely known that he also popped Dianabol like it was candy. The average natural lifter cant grow on that routine.. just an Rx for overtraining

    • Victor Pride says:

      Tony,

      A) Serge used a whole lot more than simple dianabol. B) The average lifter cannot grow on any routine because they are too petrified of “overtraining”.

      • Jasonstone says:

        So then would you recommend this routine for a non assisted lifter? Perhaps it could be tweaked with some rest days in between?

    • love this website. thanks for pointing his drug use out as it is most unlikely any average trainer is going to go very far on a routine like that

    • would this be an ideal lifting program for someone on a prohormone cycle?

  7. Shanika Mayadunne says:

    Hi,
    I am a 31 year old female who loves bodybuilding. I feel a bit silly writing to a Male dominated forum, but I like to know what adjustments I need to make to the above workout, as a women. I have been training with weights for about 5 years and am pretty strong I think. I take no supplements at all and I can dead lift more than 90lbs, squat 90lbs and bench 70lbs. I know this is not much for guys, but I have worked very hard to come this far. Your articles have provided a lot of useful insight and has changed my perception about BB so much. I used to look at all the fitness models in fitness magazines and think the physiques they have, are all natural. Can you please give some advice to women who love lifting too. Thank you so much.

    Shanika

    • Victor Pride says:

      Shanika,

      Serge said that females could do the routine but that they should limit the amount of chest work they do and add additional leg work to the program. He also mentioned most of the chest work women do should be on an incline. So you can do less chest work and more leg work (following the 6 sets of 12 scheme).

      As I’m sure you know now after reading here that fitness models are very far from natural.

      Good luck.

  8. Being a natural, the best way to perform Serge’s routine, well at least for me anyways, is to perform each body-part only ONCE per week. Following a basic BB’ing split.

    Monday – Chest/Abs
    Tuesday – Back/Calves
    Wednesday – Shoulders/Abs
    Thursday- Arms/Calves
    Friday – Legs/Abs
    Weekends off.

    I follow everything else about the split, give or a take different exercises here and there. Everything else is the same, 30 seconds MAX rest between sets. 6-8 sets of 10-12 reps, etc. Sometimes for my first exercise for that body-part I’ll do a heavy round of 6 sets of 6 reps, still with 30 seconds rest between sets. Just to get a little heavy weight in there for the sake of sanity and to just change it up once in a while.

    Hope this was useful for anyone looking into this routine.

  9. I use a routine very similar to this and I hit each body part three times per week when I feel I need it but usually twice per week as the norm. I’ve always loved Serge’s training style, very Vince Gironda’ish, and since Ive switched to training like this almost five years ago I realized very quickly that I’d wasted a lot of years listening to the hype of HIT and “overtraining”. Since I’ve switched training styles and stopped believing in overtraining I’ve seen the best gains in my training life and that is at the age of 42 and completely natural, not even so much as a vitamin supplement. I used to be a HIT enthusiast because I thought it made sense on paper but it never equated to much muscle. Like most HIT guys… heck, like most trainers of any style now days, I was petrified of over training but I’ve got to say… The fear of overtraining is probably responsible for more failure in bodybuilding than actual overtraining ever was. The myth of overtraining is very lucrative, it sells lots books & magazines because it tells people what they want to hear… the stupid idea that they can workout twice or even once per week with laughably low volume and achieve a bodybuilder physique. Get over the overtraining thIng, suck up to the fact that to gain muscle you’ve got to use some volume, discipline yourself, find some willpower and try some of those routines you THINK will overtrain you… try them for three months and I’ll bet you will be surprised and happy with the results.

    • Greg Ferrell says:

      Hey Rob (from post on Mar 6, 2012), I’m very interested in how you do your routine (exercises, sets, reps, split routine, etc.) Can you email me your routine so I can try it. I haven’t been making progress in awhile and I’m ready to try higher volume. I too have been worried about overtraining.
      Thanks,
      Greg

  10. Jordon says:

    I’m a little confused. From what I got of this, Do we increase 5 lbs every set? Or do we stay with the same weight through out all sets?
    EX: Barbell Squats- 135 > 8 sets of 135? Or work up to 185 for 12 with 5 lb increments? Thank you

  11. Thanks for the info, What if I don’t want to eat horsemeat? What else can I eat besides the rice and beans? How about fish?

  12. I have been doing this workout for the past 2 months and it is how I have lost 10 lbs and look more cut than I used to when I played sports! However, I would like to note that this diet does not work FOR ME! As posted several times on B.A.D. you need to find a system that works for you. Surge’s workout worked wonders for me, but an intermittent fasting type diet did not provide me with the results I wanted. I was able to get stronger, but I was not getting more toned. It was vital for me to eat differently AND work out like an animal to achieve my desired results. However, as hard as this workout is, it absolutely 100% works!

    • Victor Pride says:

      Excellent! When I followed the plan I did not eat one meal per day, I ate many. Lifting like this will make you HUNGRY.

  13. I also had the same experience as the writer of the article, I had already done the one meal a day for a while, but ate huge meals, always had a six pack but when I did the insane volume training my arms grew to around 17″ and I am only around 5’8″, and my whole body grew to the point I got accused quite a bit about roid use… it may seem unorthodox but serge was onto something.

  14. terol pelage says:

    The best

  15. great article have been doing the serge work out 2 weeks now getting ripped and shredded my body aches – but I love it – no pain no gain ,eating steak and eggs every day starting to get super strong can’t wait to see what I look like after 12 weeks , great info on your website about the old school body builders – to all the pussies scared about over training take your skirt off , your body will respond to what you give it

    go and lift something !
    top website victor

  16. Serge , Arnold ,Haney,Zane were all followers of high volume.Yates and most subsequent BB’rs are more HIT lower volume . And yes no matter what training method most of the pro’s use some form of anabolic boost. Different people respond better to different training methods and exercises. Some people will have body parts that grow easy, others not so easy. Not every idea or method or theory is bulletproof otherwise everyone would be doing the exact same things. Try something let your body have the time to respond. Nothing will change instantly. For example someone like Jay Cutler a big body builder even with anabolic agents it has taken him 23 years to get to his current body. So don’t think you will achieve 260 pounds shredded overnight without them. Everything takes time. Eat Train Hard (no matter what the method,always go to failure on working sets) And Sleep! Arnie slept around 10 hours or more per day. So if they have to do things we definitely have to do it! Also stick with a plan for 12 weeks then change it up at least for 3 weeks. Good Luck and never give up!

  17. How long time can you do this routine? Should you take a break and train easy after 8 weeks or can you go on?

    • Victor Pride says:

      Take a break when you feel rundown. 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks, let your body tell you the right time.

  18. Winston Klein says:

    This is a great high volume workout routine, however, I wonder how good the traps are exercised. I see that the exercises for the shoulders also train the traps, but I’m not really sure if the traps get enough from the exercises for the shoulders.

    I think it would be wise to add at least two exercises for the traps and remove two exercises for the shoulders on the shoulders days.

    • Victor Pride says:

      Winston, I remember Serge said he never directly hit traps as he did not want to develop large traps.

      • Winston Klein says:

        Alright, thanks!

        I have another question: are you 100% sure that he used the same weight for every set of an exercise? Most people, including myself, work out by doing both ascending and descending pyramid sets for all exercises that are done with weights (most even don’t know why they are doing those type of sets; they simply saw others doing them and so started doing them as well). Now, if Nubret really used the same weight for every set of an exercise, progress is much easier to track. But, is it just him that could get 20 inch arms with this way of high volume light-weight training or is this for everyone? Did he really not increase weights during sets?

        • Victor Pride says:

          Yep.

          • Winston Klein says:

            ”When you can complete each set of 12 reps go up 5 lbs and start over.”

            I don’t quite get what you mean here.

            Say that you’re doing 6 sets of 12 reps of biceps dumbbell curls. After completing the exercise, do you have to do it all over again, but then with more weight? Isn’t this pyramiding and against this routine’s principle?

            It would make sense if you do the exercise again with more weight after you realize that the weight you had chosen for the exercise is too light, though. Is this what you mean?

          • Victor Pride says:

            Your next session in the gym you increase the weight by 5 lbs.

          • Winston Klein says:

            P.S. You would also be doing 24 sets for one exercise in that case.

            I hope I have misunderstood you :-P.

          • Winston Klein says:

            *Correction: 12 sets (144 reps).

  19. what weight am I supposed to start at ?? like half my max??

  20. Hey Vic,

    How many years of training did you have before you tried this program?

  21. Hi, just came across this article on the net. Thank you, very interesting. I’m a skinny guy, 60kg all my life, got a high metabolism, small budget, and a small appetite. I’ve got a pull up bar,, a set of dumbbells and a standard bench press. I don’t go to a gym, can’t afford the fees. In your opinion, how can I tailor this program to the resources, that I have at my disposal; and how can I improve on the nutrition aspect of it. Thanks again, enthusiast, South Africa.

  22. Hi Vic,

    I’d like to know what you think about my building project.

    I’d run your body of spartan training for 1 or 2 months to constantly increase my strength, than I would lock my max weights for 5×5 and gradually increase the reps of that max weight until I reach sets of 12-8 with it, in order to execute that serge nubret routine afterward. I’d do that instead of cutting straight to 50% of my max…

  23. Hey Vic,

    Thanks for the routine. I was reading arnold’s boo and saw Serge’s Image. Its pretty much what i’m aiming for. I’m a beginner and I’m bulking with a diet almost 3500 cals. Height – 6 ft weight 154 lbs. Should i tweak this routine with less sets so i provide my body proper rest and hence increase gains?
    Again Thanks :)

    Regards,
    Pritesh

  24. Great article!

    Tried this (well, technically half of this) for only 1 hour sessions and incorporated heavy days into the schedule. Eventually I started gravitating towards these sessions and loved the quick-paced nature. I started getting creative incorporating other methods (rings/kettlebells/etc) and found the 6×12 gave me some a little more size, but my conditioning went through the roof. Definitely lowered my bodyfat while doing it. Didn’t do any cardio (didn’t need it). I definitely recommend this or a hybrid of it to try it out.

  25. Does anyone know what Serge’s cardio routine was and his philosophy on it?

    Smoove

  26. I have trained on this routine for a month no and its hard for me to go higher on the weights. Can it be smart to try 3 days on 6-8 reps and 3 days on 12 ?

    Thanks for answers.
    Jo Sæter Norway.

    • Benny Lim says:

      Pls dun be confused. Eating once a day for sure won’t work, drug assisted or not. Train six days a week like this with light weight will only work for drug assisted. So use your common sense if you still want try it out.

  27. J.E. McMillerson says:

    I started this routine today, 30 second rest periods & all. By set #4 my shoulders felt like they were ready to pop; this is indeed a tough routine. Nevertheless, I’m gonna stick with it & see where it goes.

  28. [ When you can complete each set of 12 reps go up 5 lbs and start over. ] I think he means that when we can complete the workout with 12 reps ,the next workout we should up the weight with 5lbs and when we can complete 12 reps again we do the same.

  29. Hey Vic – I just started hitting the gym – does this routine burn fat and get you shredded if you’re currently fat?

Trackbacks

  1. […] serge Nubret who trained with lots of reps on low weights (about 50% of max). He did alright. http://boldanddetermined.com/2011/02…rkout-routine/ Last edited by spartacus; Today at 04:57 […]

  2. […] Nubret’s popular Old School Workout Routine looked like […]

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