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Sergio Oliva is the only bodybuilder to ever defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Mr. Olympia contest. He was also the second bodybuilder to win the Mr. Olympia, the first being Larry Scott. He was also the first black bodybuilder to win Mr. America, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia. When he first started lifting weights it was for power lifting which many believe contributed to his muscle density and mass. Later on his training would evolve to what ended up working best for him.  Below is information that was taken from the August/September 1973 issue of Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI) magazine, in which Sergio Oliva stated that the following routine was his only true exercise program. Sergio Oliva had this to say:

"Since 1970 these are the only exercises I have been doing. Any other exercises printed in any other magazine are false."

 

Monday. On Monday, Sergio Oliva blasted his chest with bench press, dips and flys, and also worked his back with chin-ups.

 

Bench Press supersetted with Chinning Bar.Sergio Oliva classic pose

 

Set 1. Bench Press 200 x 8, 15 reps on chinning bar

 

Set 2. Bench Press 220 x 8, 15 reps on chinning bar

 

Set 3. Bench Press 260 x 8, 10 reps on chinning bar

 

Set 4. Bench Press 300 x 8, 10 reps on chinning bar

 

Set 5. Bench Press 320 x 8, 8 reps on chinning bar

 

Set 6. Bench Press 350 x 8, 8 reps on chinning bar

 

Set 7. Bench Press 380 x 8, 5 reps on chinning bar

 

DB Flys supersetted with Dips.

 

5 sets of 15 reps with 80 pound dumbbells, supersetted with dipping. The set, rep and weight scheme for dipping was not provided by Sergio Oliva.

 

Tuesday. On Tuesdays, Sergio worked his shoulders, biceps and triceps. Most rep and set schemes followed a 5×5 pattern.

 

Press. 5 sets, 15 reps with 200 pounds

 

Extending Heavy Curls. 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

French Curls. 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

Scott (Curls) Bench. 5 sets, 10 reps, 150 pounds

 

Scott (Curls) Bench with Dumbbells. 5 sets, 5 reps, 60 pound dumbbell

 

Sitting Down Triceps. 5 sets, 5 reps with 60 pound dumbbell, supersetted with Triceps Press Downs

 

Wednesday. On Wednesday, Sergio worked abs first, then heavy squats and calves. You will notice that there is no direct hamstring work.

 

Sit-ups. 10 sets, 50 reps

 

Leg Raises. 5 sets, 20 reps

 

Side Bends with Bar Behind Neck. 5 sets, 200 reps

 

Squats. 300 x 5, 400 x 5, 440 x 5, 470 x 5, 500 x 4

 

Standing Heel Raises. 10 sets, 8 reps, 300 pounds

 

Thursday. Sergio’s second chest and back workout of the week. You’ll also notice a fair amount of shoulder work as well.

 

Bench Press. 200 x 5, 220 x 5, 260 x 5, 300 x 5, 320 x 5, 350 x 5, 380 x 5

 

Press Behind Neck. 5 sets, 5 reps, 250 pounds, supersetted with Rowing Machine, 200 pounds

 

Sitting Press with Dumbbells. 80 pound dumbbells. No set and rep scheme provided

 

Dipping Bar. 5 sets, 8 reps with no weight

 

Friday. Friday’s workout was another heavy arm day, but also features more back work. For the most part, Sergio used fewer sets for biceps on this day.

 

Press. 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

Extending Heavy Curls. 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

French Curls. 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

Scott Bench for Triceps. 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

Scott Bench for Triceps with Dumbbell. 3 sets, 5 reps, 50 pound dumbbell, supersetted with Triceps Press Downs.

 

Chinning Behind Neck. 5 sets, 5 reps

 

Chinning Bar with Closed Hands. 5 sets, 5 reps, supersetted with Triceps Machine Pull Downs

 

Saturday. Another ab and leg day. Sergio used lighter squats, and also incorporated front squats into his routine. Again, no direct hamstring work. Also notice that Sergio performed three 20-rep squat sets.

 

Sit-ups. 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 pounds. 2 sets, 3 reps with 400 pounds. 3 sets, 20 reps with 250 pounds.

 

Front Squats. 5 sets, 10 reps, 200 pounds

 

Sitting Heel Raises. 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 pounds

 

Sergio and Arnold

1972: Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Vince Gironda, Dan Mackay, Joe Weider and Sergio Oliva

Vince Gironda, Dan Mackay, Joe Weider and Sergio Oliva  in the summer of 1968

 

Sergio doing curls

Sergio Oliva doing curls