Where has seven-time Mr. Olympia champion Phil Heath been? In the gym, of course. Although “The Gift” chose not to compete at the 2021 Mr. Olympia contest after his seven-year win streak was stunted in 2018 by Shawn Rhoden, followed by a third-place finish in 2020 behind 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry and two-time reigning champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, Heath is still training hard and sharing his knowledge of hypertrophy.
Heath took to his YouTube channel on Feb. 9, 2022, to share his chest, shoulder, and triceps workout. He expressed his appreciation for lifting machines for the added stability while training alone, as he often did during his legendary bodybuilding career. Following his training, he shared tips on why he focuses on eccentric work, the value of pre-exhaustion, and a breakdown of each movement he performed. Check out the entire workout in the video below:
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Phil Heath’s Chest Workout
Heath opened his training session with a warm-up consisting of four supersets of seated chest flyes and seated presses on the converging chest press machine without any rest in between. Once he pre-exhausted his muscles a bit and got some blood flowing, he loaded 90 pounds onto each sleeve of the incline bench press machine.
Heath positioned his seat fairly low so that the handles aligned with his lower chest at the bottom of the press. His second set tacked on an additional 50 pounds, and his third set capped off at three 45-pound plates lifted by each arm. His reps are relatively fast throughout the whole movement.
Once Heath felt the pump, his sweater came off, and he moved on to work lower chest, again on a machine rather than free weights. He positioned his grip towards the base of the handles to get a more lengthened position at the bottom of each rep. He superset those with standard seated chest presses.
Following a quick check in the mirror of his side-chest pose, the seven-time Mr. Olympia champ continued his chest work in the lengthened position with additional seated chest flyes, this time on the cable machine.
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Phil Heath’s Shoulder Workout
After a quick rest, he performed a dumbbell front raise medley consisting of five reps with a neutral grip — working each arm individually — followed by five reps on each side with a pronated grip. He continued unbroken with another set with his neutral grip and then hit the pronated grip front raises with both arms simultaneously — a total of 40 reps.
Despite Heath’s wide structure, he felt comfortable using a narrow V-bar attachment for triceps pushdowns. It appeared that he managed to achieve full contraction on each rep with his back based against a pad — again, for stability.
Training Alone? Use Machines
During Heath’s recap of his workout, he says, “there’s not much you can screw up” when it comes to technique using machines. The value of machines over free weights is that the former removes stability as a limiting factor and will likely allow an athlete to load more weight.
For Heath, machines aligning his form is also a significant benefit when training alone — something he says he did “during his career, 99 percent of the time.” Heath advocates for the incline press as his first move post-warm-up on chest day to accentuate that “shelf look” while posing in profile.
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To stay lean, Heath closes his workouts with cardio and refuels with a protein shake. While it is unlikely we’ll see Heath compete on bodybuilding’s grandest stage again, we will likely see him ramp up how often he uploads training videos to his YouTube channel. Aspiring IFBB bodybuilders and pros alike can probably find value in the nuances used in the gym by the seven-time Olympia champ.
Featured image: @philheath on Instagram