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Phil Heath's Olympia-Winning Chest Routine

How The Gift built a perfectly proportioned set of pecs.

Whether you’re in a T-shirt by the pool or onstage in posing trunks, peoples’ eyes are going to be drawn to your chest. And when you’re onstage at the Mr. Olympia competition, owning a well-developed, perfectly proportioned set of pecs is critical to standing out among a crowded field of competitors. Just ask many past champs who’ve sported amazing chests: Sergio Oliva, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Lee Haney, Ronnie Coleman. 

Six-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath wasn’t known for his chest early on in his professional career. The knock on Heath was that his arms and delts overpowered his pecs. People forget, however, that “the Gift” turned pro a little more than a year after he began competing—and that was only three years after he began lifting for the stage. “My first few years as a pro,” he says, “I was creating more roundness, creating more of what people saw of me at the 2006 Colorado and New York Pro shows.” (He won both.) This future Mr. Olympia filled out his physique as he rose to dominance in the pro ranks. “I think [in 2006] I showed people I had a good physique, that I was more on the aesthetic side,” notes Heath. “Now I’m a hybrid who can beat up on larger, structurally bigger guys.” 

At the ’06 New York Pro, he also won the individual body-part awards for legs and arms. The improvements he’s made in chest thickness, density, and fullness are nothing short of extraordinary. As the current Mr. Olympia, he shares the tools, both physical and mental, that he used and continues to use to sculpt a chest worthy of six Sandows.

 


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