Legendary Backs: Phil Heath

When Phil The Gift Heath first entered the Mr. Olympia title chase in 2008 he already had 6 years of bodybuilding under his belt. Becoming the first novice to place in the top three, he was considered the favorite the following year. However, it will take him three years to get in the bodybuilding pantheon.  When he finally won his first Sandow trophy in 2011, beating his fierce competitor and mentor Jay Cutler, the title had been decided when he locked his double biceps, and spread his rear lats.

Just the year before he came second, with his back regarded as his greatest weakness. So, how did The Gift managed to transform his back from weakness to strength in just one short year? With sheer determination and right training protocol.

Here, we offer you the recipe that handed Phil’s his first of four consecutive titles.


1. Front Pulldown: 3-4 sets 10-12 reps
2. Underhand barbell row: 3-4 sets 10-12 reps
3. High pully row: 3-4 sets 10-12 reps
4. T-bar row: 4 sets 12 reps
5. Seated cable row: 7 sets 10-12 reps*
6. Pulover: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
7. Shrug: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

*“Sevens” (FST-7 technique), 7 sets with 20–30 sec. rest between sets.

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