The story of Sergio "The Myth" Oliva started in 1941 when he was born in Cuba. He worked with his father in the sugar cane fields in Guanabacoa until he was 16 when his father convinced a recruiting officer that he was old enough to enlist in the Fulgencio Batista army.
It was during his army service before losing his country to Fidel Castro's communist power that he was introduced to weight-lifting. In 1962 he entered his first national weight-lifting championship and placed second. The same year the person who had beaten him got injured and he was selected to compete at the Central American and Caribbean Games which was hosted in Kingston, Jamaica.
It was during this competition that Sergio managed to sneak out of the training facilities and run towards the American consulate where he asked for asylum. He was later joined by 65 other Cuban nationals requesting asylum where he started in Miami Florida working as a TV repair man.
A year later he moved to Chicago Illinois where he managed to get work at the local mill working 12 hours a day but somehow managed to train at the local YMCA gym. A friend convinced him to enter his first bodybuilding competition which he won in 1963 Mr. Chicagoland.
He then joined the IFBB and in 1967 won Mr. World and two Mr. Universe titles. Sergio is one of the very few bodybuilders that can say he beat Arnold Schwarzenegger and winning three Mr. Olympia titles in a row. Ironically he was banned from competing against Arnold the year after that because he had entered the 1971 NABBA Mr. Universe.
Sergio always had problems with IFBB and he finally decided to compete in other non-sanctioned events where he won Mr. Galaxy in 1972 and in 1973, the WBBG Mr. Olympus 1975 to 1978, the WABBA Professional World Championships 1977 and 1980 plus the WABBA Professional World Cup which he won in 1980 and 1981.
Sergio Oliva Workout Routine
Sergio worked as a police officer in Chicago for 25 years and led extremely disciplined and structured lifestyle training with high volume, supersets, antagonistic training, 5x5 work and doing 20 rep squat workouts with a heavy weight hitting each body-part twice a week.
The weeks training routine listed below is a typical workout that Sergio would do always trying to train outside his comfort zone constantly pushing a heavier weight than he lifted when he last trained that body-part.
Bench-press super-set with Chin-ups
Bench-press 7 X 8
Chin-ups 7 X 15 or failure
DB Flyes super-set with Dips
D/B flyes 5 X 15
Weighted Dips 5 X 15 or failure
Shoulder press superset 5 X 5
Heavy barbell curls 5 X 5
French Curls 5 X 5 reps
Scott (Curls) Bench 5 X 10 reps
Scott (Curls) Bench with D/B 5 X 5 reps
Seated Triceps ext 5 X 5 reps superset with Triceps Press-downs
Sit-ups 10 X 50 reps
Leg Raises 5 X 20 reps
Side Bends with Bar 5 X 200 reps
Squats 5 X 5
Standing Calf Raises 10 X 8 reps
Bench-press 5 X 5
B/B Military Press 5 X 5
Seated D/B Press superset with dips 5 X 8 reps
Seated D/B Press 3 X 5 reps
Extending Heavy B/B Curls 3 X 5 reps
French Curls 3 X 5 reps
Scott Bench for Triceps 3 X 5 reps
Scott Bench for Triceps with D/B 3 X 5 reps superset with Triceps Push -downs.
Chinning Behind Neck 5 X 5 reps
Chinning Bar with Closed Hands 5 X 5 reps superset with Triceps Machine Pushdowns
Sit-ups 5 X 10 reps
Leg Raises 5 X 10 reps
Side Bends with Bar 5 X 50 reps
Squats 4 X 3, 6, 8, 20
Front Squats 5 X 10 reps
Seated calf raises 5 X 5 reps