Olympian Training: Sergio Oliva Workout | Generation Iron

01 May

Generation Iron Sergio Oliva Workout

[ed: Originally published January 26, 2015 at https://generationiron.com/olympian-training-sergio-oliva-workout-routine/]

“The Myth” Ultimate Workout Routine:

Three time Olympia champion and staunch rival of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva was truly a pioneer of the sport. The Myth was one of the most influential bodybuilders of his time and considered an all time great by fans and peers alike. Sergio, along with Arnold, was considered to be one of the largest bodybuilders of his day and achieved great size and mass while having great definition and maintain a tapered midsection.


Mondays for Oliva consisted of bench pressing supersetted with chin ups and dumbbell flyes supersetted with dips. This day worked the chest and back with a bit of triceps thrown in for good measure.

Set 1 – Bench Press 200 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 15 reps
Set 2 – Bench Press 220 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 15 reps
Set 3 – Bench Press 260 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 10 reps
Set 4 – Bench Press 300 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 10 reps
Set 5 – Bench Press 320 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups8 reps
Set 6 – Bench Press 350 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 8 reps
Set 7 – Bench Press 380 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 5 reps

DB Flyes supersetted with Dips:
5 sets, 15 reps 80 lbs dumbbells, supersetted with dipping. The exact amount of dips Sergio performed was not provided.


Oliva would work his shoulders, biceps, and triceps on Tuesdays. He wouldn’t exceed more than 200 pounds during his lifts.

Shoulder Press – 5 sets, 15 reps with 200 lbs
Extending Heavy Curls – 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
French Curls – 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Scott (Curls) Bench – 5 sets, 10 reps, 150 lbs
Scott (Curls) Bench (with Dumbbells) – 5 sets, 5 reps, 60 lbs dumbbell
Sitting Down Triceps – 5 sets, 5 reps 60 lbs dumbbell, supersetted with Tricep Press Downs


A Wednesday session consisted of ab work plus hamstring and calf exercise. Sergio utilized the squat to work his hamstrings and standing heel raises. This day illustrates just how old school Sergio’s training regimen was.

Situps – 10 sets, 50 reps
Leg Raises – 5 sets, 20 reps
Side Bends (Bar Behind Neck) – 5 sets, 200 reps
Squats – 300 lbs 5 reps, 400 lbs 5 reps, 440 lbs 5 reps, 470 lbs 5 reps, 500 lbs 4 reps
Standing Heel Raises (300 pounds) – 10 sets, 8 reps


This was a chest and back day for Sergio, but he also included shoulder work on this day as well.

Bench Press – 200 lbs 5 reps, 220 lbs 5 reps, 260 lbs 5 reps, 300 lbs 5 reps, 320 lbs 5 reps, 350 lbs 5 reps, 380 lbs 5 reps
Press Behind Neck – 5 sets, 5 reps, 250 lbs, supersetted with Rowing Machine, 200 lbs
Sitting Press (with Dumbbells) – 80 pound dumbbells (no set and rep breakdown given)
Dipping Bar – 5 sets, 8 reps with no weight


Fridays consisted of arm workouts as well as back. Though the poundage may have remained the same, Sergio decreased the volume of sets on this day.

Press – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Extending Heavy Curls – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
French Curls – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Scott Bench for Triceps – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Scott Bench for Triceps with Dumbbell – 3 sets, 5 reps, 50 lbs dumbbell, supersetted with Tricep Press Downs
Chinning Behind Neck – 5 sets, 5 reps
Chinning Bar with Closed Hands – 5 sets, 5 reps, supersetted with Tricep Machine Pull Downs


Sergio would do another ab and leg day on Saturdays. Like Wednesdays he used squats to work his legs, utilized as an overall lower body work out for his quads and hamstring. Sergio was also sure to add front squats to the routine as well and instead of standing heel raises he performed the raises seated.

Situps – 5 sets, 10 reps
Leg Raises – 5 sets, 10 reps
Side Bends with Bar Behind Neck – 5 sets, 50 reps
Squats- 3 sets, 3 reps with 300 lbs; 2 sets, 3 reps with 400 lbs; 3 sets, 20 reps with 250 lbs
Front Squats. 5 sets, 10 reps, 200 lbs
Sitting Heel Raises. 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs

Train like the Olympia great and build up your body to mythic proportions. Let us know what you think of the routine in the comments below and follow [ed: Generation Iron] on Facebook and Twitter to give us some of your own routines.

Cover photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com


Source: Olympian Training: Sergio Oliva Workout | Generation Iron

Complacency Kills: Get Your Mind Right | IronMag Bodybuilding Blog

Plyometrics - Perfect Total Fitness
25 Apr

by Matt Weik (originally featured on ironmagazine.com)

For the sake of this article, we will be referring to your overall health and fitness results—but this topic can transition over to just about any aspect of your life from your job, business, personal life, home life, etc. The topic at hand is complacency and what it means to your success when it comes to health and fitness. It’s a shame that we even need to talk about this, but unfortunately, all of us see complacency around us on a daily basis—some cases it might be the man in the mirror.

Slacking with your workouts

It’s easy to get yourself off track and never hop back on the train. You might have good intentions on realigning with your goals, but most people never truly get back to where they need to be. We live in a society where, unfortunately, it’s acceptable to be obese or worse, morbidly obese. We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by calling them overweight or fat. As soon as you say something it’s as if you were some sort of homegrown terrorist plotting a mass genocide on a whole demographic of overweight individuals and that you’re some horrible person. It’s actually quite sad when you think about it.

But, complacency forms bad habits. And once those bad habits are formed, it’s tough to break them. Maybe you were working out five days a week, then went down to three days a week, then one, and eventually you stopped all together. I get it, our lives are busy. We are always on the go. We have families to take care of. We work long hours. I get it. I’m there with you. I run a business, I have a wife, I have a son, I exercise daily, and I am still able to focus on my nutrition. Is it easy? No. But it’s worth it in my opinion. However, I could easily slack off and put on ten pounds of fat without batting an eye by not being active and consuming the wrong food choices. Complacency breeds complacency. It’s a downward spiral.

Think about your workouts for a second. Have you ever just not felt strong so you lowered all of your weights for the week? Then the following week you still didn’t feel like pushing yourself, so you lowered your intensity and drive again? All of a sudden, before you know it your strength is gone and the weights you were once pushing are out of sight now. You need to get your mind right and stay in the fight. When your mentality shifts and you take your foot off the pedal, you’re bound to start slowing down unless you dig deep and slam that pedal through the floor. The days that you don’t feel like doing anything are the days you need to double down and get after it and stay focused. Those are the days that will build and shape who you are and your mental strength.

Loosening up on your nutrition

The IIFYM (if it fits your macros) crew will want to debate me on this as they work their nutrition around whatever foods they want to consume—but, for the majority of the people, they aren’t following an IIFYM lifestyle or nutrition plan. There’s nothing wrong with IIFYM, it’s just some of the individuals don’t truly grasp the concept and think they can eat McDonald’s at every meal so long as they don’t go over their calories for the day. Unfortunately, all calories are not created equal. This in itself can be its own article.

People for whatever reason decide to give into temptation. The strong-willed will easily jump back on the horse before they completely fall off. However, most people end up falling off the horse and get stuck in the mud. One day of bad eating becomes two days which becomes a week, and then weeks later they are feeling like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. Does that make them change their tune? Nope. Why? Because that’s our society today. No one is going to say anything about their weight. And so the downward spiral continues.

Too many people use food to deal with stress and emotions. Not many people look at food as fuel for both the mind and the body. When individuals are upset, they generally turn to something sweet like cake, ice cream, candy, etc. Some turn to alcohol, which in itself adds up quickly when you partake in more than one beverage. It’s “accepted” in today’s society. Think I’m missing the mark? Look to your left and to your right. All of those people are in shape and healthy, right? Hardly. They have fallen into their own complacency trap.

Everyone has good intentions of exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, yet very few follow through with it. When you surround yourself with the wrong crowd, it’s easy to follow the flock. When you are weak-minded (or easily influenced), the last thing you want to do is hang out with people who will change your behaviors. If you’re exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, these individuals aren’t going to want you to succeed. They want to drag you down to their level to make themselves feel better. They feel uncomfortable around you when you’re fit because that’s something they strive to look like, yet they don’t have the will-power to execute.

Complacency kills

When you start feeling comfortable with where you are is when you will start seeing yourself taking steps backwards. When you feel satisfied is when you will slip up. Challenge yourself every day to hold strong and weather the storm no matter what comes your way. When you’re head-strong and motivated to not only hit your goals, but to surpass them is when you will see results.

Don’t settle for average and follow what everyone else does. Those individuals are complacent. They are the sheep while you should be the wolf. They are happy with how they look and feel (but shouldn’t), they are happy with barely getting by with their career, they are ok with the amount of money sitting in the bank, they are satisfied with their relationships at home. These people are only fooling themselves. They just don’t want to put in the work—because it’s difficult and time consuming. It requires an effort. It’s just as easy to say “the hell with it” as it is to make it happen and succeed. The only decision you need to make is the direction you want to go.

Source: Complacency Kills: Get Your Mind Right | IronMag Bodybuilding Blog

It’s Time for Women to “Buy Into” Strength Training – trainermegj

24 Apr

It’s Time for Women to “Buy Into” Strength Training

In case you missed it on Tony Gentilcore’s site , here is my latest article:

Houston, we have a problem.

Most women understand the importance of strength-training, but there is still a full-blown phobia of the weight room floor.

In case you missed it, strength-training

  • Builds muscles,
  • Increases or maintains bone density,
  • Boosts mood by relieving stress and building confidence,
  • Helps fight against chronic disease and
  • Exponentially increases your awesomeness.


So what’s the hold-up?

This video might offer some clues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1GUQVo1Lps

Even though most women know they should be lifting, a number of factors inhibit the urge to actually cross over the threshold of the weight-room floor—which isn’t just disappointing, but bad for their health.

So how can we convince women to buy in to the idea of committing to the iron jungle?

John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead have a tremendous book, “Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down,” about the concept of getting others to buy into an idea. Kotter and Whitehead provide four reasons why a magnificent idea (see: strength-training) gets shut down:

  • Death by delay
  • Fear-mongering
  • Confusion
  • Character assassination

Let’s look at how these issues are often at play in women’s heads when it comes to strength-training.


Death by Delay:  We are great at finding a good reason to put off obligations… until Monday/after exams/once we get past the holidays. This can be a never-ending cycle,  Because a “good time” is never going to knock on the door and offer us Girl Scout cookies. The good news is that we can create “a good time.”

The more we put off strength-training, the more our muscles, hormones and mind-set get stuck in the same old comfy rut. It doesn’t get easier. On top of that, women reach our peak bone mass in our 30s, which means fighting an uphill against osteoporosis going forward.

Don’t delay. The time to start is now.

Fear-mongering:There can be a lot of fear when starting to lift weights.  Fear of the unknown or looking like you have no idea what you are doing is something I often hear from clients, and that’s something that gets its own section, below.

In the meantime, we also might have a lingering fear of being watched or judged by others. I understand, but really, most people are either too focused on themselves to notice you or are praying you won’t take the piece of equipment they want to use.  But to be safe, here is a list ofgym etiquette rules.

If someone if making your feel uncomfortable, please alert the gym staff and they will handle it… because that’s not cool.  The gym setting shouldn’t be unlike any other public setting.  Think of the grocery store. Yes, there is a chance someone is looking at you and your cart, but so what? You need food and you need the benefits from strength-training.

Fear of other’s sweat and grossness? Valid. But most gyms have antibacterial spray and paper towels  everywhere —which is better than most public settings. Just sayin’.

Confusion:  Back to the fear of not knowing what to do. I highly recommend hiring a personal trainer, even for a couple sessions, to show you the ropes. Some gyms even offer a complimentary training session or orientation to the facility. The money you invest in your health early on will save you from doctor’s bills in the future, so it’s a positive return on your investment. If working with a trainer isn’t possible, here are some basic moves I put together to get started

Character Assassination: This one is a heart-breaker, but I’ve seen it too many times before. It’s when women doubt themselves and their ability to reach their goals despite previous accomplishments or even before making any attempt. You might not believe you can be successful and that you don’t deserve to be on the weight-room floor. Well, consider this your personal invitation… because you do have a place among the bars, bells and cables.

Need more of boost? Again, I recommend a session or two with a trainer to affirm that you are capable of being “Queen of the Iron Throne.”Aside from that, tap into the power of  friends, family, social media or Beyoncé to encourage you to slay. It is essential to be your own cheerleader, rather than your enemy.


With all the benefits of strength-training, it’s time to quit talking yourself out of this wonderful process. Address your concerns and excuses, then move on. You’ll be glad you bought into this idea.

P.S. To crush any lingering concerns: You won’t bulk up, unless you’ve been blessed with the genetics of Xena Warrior Princess.



Buy-in Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down

John P. Kotter – Lorne A. Whitehead – Harvard Business Review Press – 2010


Source: It’s Time for Women to “Buy Into” Strength Training – trainermegj