T Nation

Nubret's Routine for a Natural Athlete


#1

Serge Nubret used a routine characterized by very high volume, high reps, and high frequency training with light weights. He would perform all exercises with 12 reps, and use a weight that one could do 20 reps with. He would perform 6-8 sets per exercise, and would only rest from 30-60 seconds in between sets.

Serge would also do 2000 sit ups IN A ROW every morning once he rose out of bed.... he is noted as having some of the most well developed abs in bodybuilding history.

Serge would not train traps or forearms directly. He would train calves with workouts B and C, seated calf raises and standing calf raises, alternating between light and heavier weights.

This is His Routine

MONDAY - CHEST & QUADS

                   Sets    Reps

A Squats 8 12
B Leg Press 8 12
C Leg Extension 6 12

rest 15 minutes
Sets Reps
A Barbell Bench Press (very wide grip) 8 12
B Flat Dumbbell Fly 6 12
C Incline Bench Press 8 12
D Incline Dumbbell Fly 6 12
E Dumbbell Pullovers 6 12

TUESDAY- BACK & HAMSTRINGS

                                   Sets    Reps

A Chin-Up 6 12
B Behind the Neck Lat Pulldown 8 12
C Front Lat Pulldown 6 12
D Bent Over Row 6 12

Rest 15 minutes

                        Exercise	Sets	Reps

A Lying Leg Curl 8 12
B Standing Leg Curl 8 12

WEDNESDAY - ARMS & SHOULDERS

Exercise	                       Sets	Reps

A Behind the Neck Press 6 12
B Alternate Front Raise 6 12
C Upright Row 6 12
D Lateral Raise 6 12

Wait 15 minutes

 Exercise	               Sets	Reps

A1 Cable Biceps Curl 8 12
A2 Triceps Pushdown 8 12
B1 Barbell Curl 8 12
B2 Triceps Dip 8 12

THURSDAY - REST

FRIDAY - SAME AS MONDAY

SATURDAY - SAME AS TUESDAY

SUNDAY - SAME AS WEDNESDAY

NEXT MONDAY - REST

NEXT TUESDAY - CYCLE RESTARTS


#2

#3

I think this routine is highly inappropriate for a genetically ordinary natural.


#4

I wouldn’t do it even if I was assisted. Oh wait, I am…

It looks so bloody boring. You might as well do EDT if you like stuff like this. At least there’s the challenge of beating your total reps per exercise every session.


#5

God damn, those squats would be brutal. If I were to use my true 20 rep max, I’d be somewhere in the 350 range. 8 sets of 12 at 350 would be damn near impossible for me, and with 30-60 seconds in between? Fucking forget it! And I’m not even natural. This would be extraordinarily difficult with just 225 for me. I doubt I could even do that without some extra conditioning work.


#6

Did something similar for arms on Wednesday. It was pretty brutal. Hammer curls and pushdowns for 6x12, machine preachers and lying press for 6x12, and then incline curls and overhead extensions for 4x12-15 with a 30-sec weighted stretch at the end of each set.

I respond really well to high volume, so this is right up my alley.


#7

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Did something similar for arms on Wednesday. It was pretty brutal. Hammer curls and pushdowns for 6x12, machine preachers and lying press for 6x12, and then incline curls and overhead extensions for 4x12-15 with a 30-sec weighted stretch at the end of each set.

I respond really well to high volume, so this is right up my alley. [/quote]

I can definitely see doing this for arms. That would be easy peasy.


#8

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
I think this routine is highly inappropriate for a genetically ordinary natural. [/quote]

Why?


#9

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
God damn, those squats would be brutal. If I were to use my true 20 rep max, I’d be somewhere in the 350 range. 8 sets of 12 at 350 would be damn near impossible for me, and with 30-60 seconds in between? Fucking forget it! And I’m not even natural. This would be extraordinarily difficult with just 225 for me. I doubt I could even do that without some extra conditioning work.[/quote]

According to Nubret himself, it’s 90s in between sets of squats and 60s between sets of leg presses (and bench presses…30s is for back IIRC)


#10

[quote]knokkelezoute73 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
God damn, those squats would be brutal. If I were to use my true 20 rep max, I’d be somewhere in the 350 range. 8 sets of 12 at 350 would be damn near impossible for me, and with 30-60 seconds in between? Fucking forget it! And I’m not even natural. This would be extraordinarily difficult with just 225 for me. I doubt I could even do that without some extra conditioning work.[/quote]

According to Nubret himself, it’s 90s in between sets of squats and 60s between sets of leg presses (and bench presses…30s is for back IIRC)
[/quote]

That seriously doesn’t help at all. If I was working with 350, I would need AT LEAST 5 minutes between sets after the first couple. And even with that much rest, I’m still not sure 8 sets is happening. The fact that you don’t seem to grasp how difficult this is makes me think you’re probably not a particularly advanced lifter.

EDIT: I should add, I’m not familiar with this programming outside of the info that’s been provided here. If the lifter is not trying to use his true 20 rep max for the squats, and can use a substantially lighter weight, this is more reasonable. I still don’t think a natural lifter is likely to succeed using a program like this because of the recovery factor though. Nubret obviously used steroids when he was lifting like this.


#11

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Did something similar for arms on Wednesday. It was pretty brutal. Hammer curls and pushdowns for 6x12, machine preachers and lying press for 6x12, and then incline curls and overhead extensions for 4x12-15 with a 30-sec weighted stretch at the end of each set.

I respond really well to high volume, so this is right up my alley. [/quote]

I can definitely see doing this for arms. That would be easy peasy.[/quote]
lol. Simple, yes. Easy? Not exactly.

I like high volume, but I don’t necessarily think the leg portion of this one is optimal. I’d much prefer to lift heavier in relation to my 1RM along with the high volume, which is why I prefer a modified reverse pyramid. I rest 60sec between sets, starting with the highest weight, and drop about 10% of the weight each set, which usually allows me to hit approximately the same amount of reps from set to set.

My only complaint with Reverse Pyramid is the lengthy warmup. To solve that, on the first lift of the day I ramp up to a 5RM + 5 rest/pause reps. That way, I get to lift heavy and get my volume in, too.

Also, because the relative intensity of each set is higher, it doesn’t take three sets for each lift to get tough. It starts out hard, and every set is just as hard as the last.


#12

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]knokkelezoute73 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
God damn, those squats would be brutal. If I were to use my true 20 rep max, I’d be somewhere in the 350 range. 8 sets of 12 at 350 would be damn near impossible for me, and with 30-60 seconds in between? Fucking forget it! And I’m not even natural. This would be extraordinarily difficult with just 225 for me. I doubt I could even do that without some extra conditioning work.[/quote]

According to Nubret himself, it’s 90s in between sets of squats and 60s between sets of leg presses (and bench presses…30s is for back IIRC)
[/quote]

That seriously doesn’t help at all. If I was working with 350, I would need AT LEAST 5 minutes between sets after the first couple. And even with that much rest, I’m still not sure 8 sets is happening. The fact that you don’t seem to grasp how difficult this is makes me think you’re probably not a particularly advanced lifter.

EDIT: I should add, I’m not familiar with this programming outside of the info that’s been provided here. If the lifter is not trying to use his true 20 rep max for the squats, and can use a substantially lighter weight, this is more reasonable. I still don’t think a natural lifter is likely to succeed using a program like this because of the recovery factor though. Nubret obviously used steroids when he was lifting like this.[/quote]

Nobody said you have to use 350. You use whatever weight allows you to do the 8 sets of 142, and if you’re successful you add weight next time.


#13

[quote]knokkelezoute73 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]knokkelezoute73 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
God damn, those squats would be brutal. If I were to use my true 20 rep max, I’d be somewhere in the 350 range. 8 sets of 12 at 350 would be damn near impossible for me, and with 30-60 seconds in between? Fucking forget it! And I’m not even natural. This would be extraordinarily difficult with just 225 for me. I doubt I could even do that without some extra conditioning work.[/quote]

According to Nubret himself, it’s 90s in between sets of squats and 60s between sets of leg presses (and bench presses…30s is for back IIRC)
[/quote]

That seriously doesn’t help at all. If I was working with 350, I would need AT LEAST 5 minutes between sets after the first couple. And even with that much rest, I’m still not sure 8 sets is happening. The fact that you don’t seem to grasp how difficult this is makes me think you’re probably not a particularly advanced lifter.

EDIT: I should add, I’m not familiar with this programming outside of the info that’s been provided here. If the lifter is not trying to use his true 20 rep max for the squats, and can use a substantially lighter weight, this is more reasonable. I still don’t think a natural lifter is likely to succeed using a program like this because of the recovery factor though. Nubret obviously used steroids when he was lifting like this.[/quote]

Nobody said you have to use 350. You use whatever weight allows you to do the 8 sets of 142, and if you’re successful you add weight next time.
[/quote]

Well, the OP said that you pick a weight you can get 20 reps with. Maybe I took that the wrong way?


#14

Have you ever squatted 350 for twenty reps?


#15

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Have you ever squatted 350 for twenty reps? [/quote]

I did 315 for 20 (on video), and that was when my 1rm was about 80 lbs lighter (it was around 430-440 then, and I’ve hit 515 recently). So… 350ish seems like it’d be about right. When I did the 315 I had more in the tank as well. Wasn’t at absolute failure, although it was getting very difficult. I’ve also done 405 for 10.


#16

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]knokkelezoute73 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]knokkelezoute73 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
God damn, those squats would be brutal. If I were to use my true 20 rep max, I’d be somewhere in the 350 range. 8 sets of 12 at 350 would be damn near impossible for me, and with 30-60 seconds in between? Fucking forget it! And I’m not even natural. This would be extraordinarily difficult with just 225 for me. I doubt I could even do that without some extra conditioning work.[/quote]

According to Nubret himself, it’s 90s in between sets of squats and 60s between sets of leg presses (and bench presses…30s is for back IIRC)
[/quote]

That seriously doesn’t help at all. If I was working with 350, I would need AT LEAST 5 minutes between sets after the first couple. And even with that much rest, I’m still not sure 8 sets is happening. The fact that you don’t seem to grasp how difficult this is makes me think you’re probably not a particularly advanced lifter.

EDIT: I should add, I’m not familiar with this programming outside of the info that’s been provided here. If the lifter is not trying to use his true 20 rep max for the squats, and can use a substantially lighter weight, this is more reasonable. I still don’t think a natural lifter is likely to succeed using a program like this because of the recovery factor though. Nubret obviously used steroids when he was lifting like this.[/quote]

Nobody said you have to use 350. You use whatever weight allows you to do the 8 sets of 142, and if you’re successful you add weight next time.
[/quote]

Well, the OP said that you pick a weight you can get 20 reps with. Maybe I took that the wrong way?[/quote]

I’m not sure about what the OP meant, but Nubret himself said that you have to start the routine with a manageable weight…I think he also said somewhere that it’s usually a weight that you could lift 20 times, but that’s just a general guideline, depends on the lift, the individual…it’s just a starting point anyway. Reps are supposed to be done piston style, with constant tension, no resting at the top of every rep, by the way.


#17

20 straight through? Or 20 breathing reps?

EDIT: in reference to Flip’s 315lb 20rep squats.


#18

Bodybuilders back in the day squatted with a much different style than power lifters today. Close stance, really upright, knees way in front of the toes. They also used to squat with a 2×4 under their heels, to target the quads. I googled “Nubret Squat” and in both pictures dude had a high bar position with his heels elevated.

There was also an interview where he said he could bench 225kg, (for a French national record?), but used 70 or 100kg for his training.

Also Nubret talked about never doing cardio, just pumping out the weights and doing an hour of situps. The pump and the fast pace seem like the primary goal.

Anyway, I get the impression that Nubret was squatting much, much less than 365, or even 315.


#19

I think time would be an issue for most lifters who actually have a job to support themselves and their families. This routine looks like it would take several hours to just complete regardless of the rest periods. I’m in agreement that working your arms with this amount of volume is do able, but that quad day looks insane for anyone.

I’ve done the 1000 rep arm workout before (10 exercises, 5 sets of 20), it was not easy but it was incredible, the arm pump lasted for a day or 2. It’s not something I’d do on a weekly basis though. It took some time to recover from that.


#20

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
20 straight through? Or 20 breathing reps?

EDIT: in reference to Flip’s 315lb 20rep squats. [/quote]

somewhere in between I suppose. Closer to straight through than not. First 12 or so were without any hesitation, and the whole set only takes 1 minute.