Get inspired by Serge Nubret | Profile and work-out analysis

Welcome to this new “Get inspired by…” article. While this website is mainly for natural bodybuilders, it’s undeniable that old-school bodybuilders were inspiring and were in great condition on stage, steroids or not. It would be a shame not to get inspired from their stories and work ethic. 

We will go through a quick biography of the athlete presented and discuss their main beliefs and best training advice. Then, we will talk about their program and see what, as natural bodybuilders, we can learn from them.

This article will take you 6 minutes to read! Feel free to leave your questions in the comment section, they will be answered!

If you do not know Serge Nubret…

Serge Nubret is the type of guy who have had got that kind of titles:

  • 1958 – Mr. Guadeloupe
  • 1960 – IFBB World’s Most Muscular Man
  • 1970 – NABBA Mr. Universe 2nd
  • 1970 – IFBB Mr. Europe (Tall)
  • 1972 – IFBB Mr. Olympia (3rd)
  • 1974 – IFBB Mr. Olympia (2nd)
  • 1975 – IFBB Mr. Olympia (2nd)
  • 1976 – NABBA Pro Mr. Universe
  • 1976 – WBBG Mr. World (2nd)
  • 1977 – WBBG Mr. World
  • 1977 – WBBG Mr. Olympus
  • 1981 – WABBA Pro World Championships
  • 1982 – WABBA Pro World Championships


Serge Nubret or the “Black panther” was born in Guadaloupe in 1938 and passed away 9 years ago in Paris, France. He was a highly reputable bodybuilder and just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, was an actor but with a more humble career.

Just a few months after he started going to the gym, he had already started competing and won the title of Mr Guadeloupe. He carried on and got the title of “The most muscly man in the world” as he got the Mr World title in 1960. Thanks to his reputation, he will get his first opportunity to play in a movie from Italian producer Duccio Tessari. He will play in many movies in his career such as “Cesar and Rosalie” with the famous french singer Yves Montant and “Le professionel” along with famous french actor Jean Paul Belmondo, or “My son, the hero” in 1962.

Serge Nubret in movie my son, the hero
“My son, the hero” (1962)

The most reputable movie for all of us bodybuilders he has made an appearance in was Pumping Iron. But Serge Nubret did not make that many appearances in the movie. This is not something he wanted.

In 1976, Serge Nubret created the World Amateur Body Building Association (WABBA) which is still active to these days.

Serge Nubret founded the WABBA

Serge Nubret was an awesome bodybuilder and his training was inspiring. Serge Nubret mainly lifted light weights for what he could do but it is believable he wanted to play it safe and in the long term.

His sessions could go up to 5 or 6 hours in one day, splitted by two. This is similar to the kind of volume Arnold Schwarzenneger would perform. Serge Nubret was not there to joke, a true inspiration of hard work!

Let’s add a final note that Serge Nubret disliked the way bodybuilding was heading to with all the drugs and was happy to have been a bodybuilder at the time of the 70s and not after.

What was impressive about Serge Nubret?

Serge Nubret just like Frank Zane was an aesthetic freak. This is such an impressive physique. This is the type of physique everyone wants to see at the Olympia. If someone like Serge Nubret was making a come-back, no matter what the size of these dudes are, he would win easy!

It’s hard to spot any weak parts on Serge Nubret’s physique, maybe his legs as most old-school bodybuilders. It was just part of the aesthetic shape standards. If you look at his upper body, he has an exceptional shape overall. His chest was big so were his shoulders. Something quite rare to have both at the same time.

Serge Nubret old school pose
Serge Nubret’s massive chest
Serge Nubret chest and shoulders
Serge Nubret’s shoulders were impressive too

One thing which makes it probably even better than it actually is his tiny waist. This is the whole point of an aesthetic physique. While his shoulders and chest are both highly impressive, his tiny waist definitely emphasises that look.

He also had an INCREDIBLE back and insane biceps. It is definitely rare to be that “lucky”!

Serge Nubret' incredible back development
Serge Nubret V taper
Serge Nubret showing his biceps peak

Despite having long biceps, Serge Nubret still managed to get a great bicep peak.

Another impressive thing about Serge Nubret is his high volume type of workouts. Serge would always go for lighter weights and use very high repetitions. We could say that this type of work-out works better if you are enhanced. Risk of injuries are lower.

It is also totally possible to improve on a high rep scheme. People always fight over what you should exactly do. Truth is, if you go from 30x60kg on the benchpress to 40x60kg, you have improved, and you will build muscle! We will talk about his program in the next chapter.

Last impressive fact but not least, it has been said Serge Nubret could bench-press 225kg.

What can you learn from Serge Nubret?

Just like in others “get inspired” articles, we will get a few quotes from Serge Nubret and see what we can learn from him.

Trust me when you love something you don’t need motivation

That is certainly 100% true. If you love bodybuilding and have a plan ahead, this won’t feel like a chore. A lot of people complain about working out and how hard this is. Truth is, they might just not want to get into training yet. One good advice if you are struggling with getting started is that you might hate it at first but once you see results, you will love it! Your body gets used to training and just like when you get quick dopamine reward from watching TV, you will get dopamine and endorphins reward from completing your workout. The key here is to get started, force yourself, you will love it in the end.

“Genetics help to some degree, but the most important thing is the mind and the spirit. These two are even more powerful than physical characteristics that are passed on”

Serge Nubret is totally right there, genetics are not all. If you train very hard with awesome genetics you will be place amongst the best. But it does not mean you do not have a chance to stand up with not so good genetics. Work on something else, your condition on stage, how ripped you are, how confident you are to the judges.

“Eat a lot and train hard, I am sure that you will succeed”

There it is. Eat a lot and train hard. Not much else to be said in bodybuilding. If you are a “hard-gainer”, please read this article. You are probably missing a few key points! We also have an extreme guide on how to get big fast!

What was Serge Nubret’s workout?

Nubret was working each of his muscles twice a week. He did not think training once a week for each muscle group was enough for muscle growth to happen and to burn fat. Serge Nubret would basically do such long sessions that he would consider this as his cardio.

At the end of the day, cardio is not necessary to lose weight. As explained in our nutrition guide, cardio just helps burning calories. You can do cardio if you enjoy it and for the keep-up of your heart. Just know that you can simply loose weight by being at a calorie deficit.

Many people will say you need full rest days for recovery. Serge Nubret was not part of this idea and trained 6 days per week with abs on Sunday. Surely Serge Nubret used some substances, but it is still definitely possible to train everyday if you are an advanced natural bodybuilder. He was completely right in his approach as a professional.

His routine was highly splitted. On Mondays, he would do chest and quads and on Tuesdays, back and hamstrings.

Let’s actually just see what his full program was like and what we can get out of it as natural bodybuilders.

Serge Nubret was doing crunches every morning, 7 days per week and this for an hour straight. That’s around 2000 crunches without a pause.

Serge Nubret training routine

Serge Nubret’s Routine:

What can we learn as natural bodybuilders and apply from Serge Nubret’s routine?

One thing just like we saw with Arnold Schwarzenegger is that Serge Nubret was doing a high volume type of workout. Of course, substances might have helped but it is good to remind that as natural bodybuilders, the better you get, the more resitant you are. You can definitely do a lot while being natural and this should not be an excuse not to push it.

One thing we love about Serge Nubret’s routine is that he is specialising. We made an article on speciliasing which basically means doing the right exercise selection. Surely Nubret does a lot of exercises for one muscle compared to the average natural bodybuilder, but he still seems to focus on doing a lot of sets instead of doing more “pointless” exercises.

He goes onto doing 8 sets for some muscles. This is exactly what you should do to get better. Just hammer the exercises which are good for you. Why do 4 sets of one exercise and 4 sets of another similar one. Just pick one and do 8 sets instead!

The last thing we want to point out is sticking to the basics. That’s very important. Too many bodybuilders try new techniques and things which they think will make them improve faster. There is no magic, it’s always about the basics even at an advanced level.

You just have to get better at them. Looking at his routine, it’s pretty straight forward. He repeats the exact same routine over and over. His chest and quad days are the same as all other days.

We made an article on why you should stick to the same routine to improve. This is because you get good at what you do the most and once you have found something which works, why changing?

You can’t really find any fancy superset/dropset in his program apart from his arm training session.

Serge Nubret had a very smart routine!

Arnold also did the same days over and over!

What has Serge Nubret become?

Serge Nubret was still in shape as he got older. In this video, he was 70 years old and still had huge 20″ arms. This video is pretty funny, Serge Nubret just randomly pulls out a measure tape from his pocket and a fan measures his arms.

Unfortunately, Serge Nubret left us in 2011 at age 72. Up until his death, Serge Nubret on an interview for said he would still train 2 hours a day, 6 times per week. A real passionate bodybuilder.

May he rest in peace!


What’s to remember about Serge Nubret and his routine?

Key points:

  • Stick to the same routine once you have found what works
  • Do high reps if this is what works for you and you can improve doing so
  • Stick to the basics even at an advanced level
  • You have a very long way to go before hitting your natural limit!