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IFBB Pro 7x Mr. Olympia Champion Phil “The Gift” Heath Shares “10 Exercises” Needed To Build Up Insane And Crazy Muscles

Phillip “The Gift” Heath is an American IFBB professional bodybuilder. He is a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner, having won the competition every year from 2011 to 2017.

His latest victory tied him with Arnold Schwarzenegger for the joint-second number of all-time Mr. Olympia wins, behind Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney, who are joint-first with eight wins each. His physique is considered one of the best and most well-balanced bodybuilding physiques of all time.

Phil Heath was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1979 he faced adversity early on. With his parents working tirelessly to support the family, he often found himself alone and forced to fend for himself”.

There has been a small trend started by bodybuilders where they are naming the only 10 exercises they would use to build muscle. Recently, Nick Walker responded to Chris Bumstead’s list with his own. Now, during a recent interview, Phil Heath was asked this question and gave his list of 10 exercises.

Heath totaled seven Olympia titles over the course of his career. In 2020, he stepped on stage for the final time but has been active in the gym ever since. “During the 2020 show, Heath finished third and fans have been waiting for his return ever since. His seven titles is second all-time to Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney, who are tied at the top for eight. Many wonder if Heath would return in hopes of matching this all-time record”.

Despite keeping his physique in championship shape, Heath ruled out a return in 2023 back in May. This does not mean that it is off the table for 2024. Heath has provided many updates showing off his progress to this point.

Heath continues to train at a high level in the gym and is one of the best fitness minds there is. During an appearance with Chris Williamson, he got a chance to go in depth about his favorite exercises.

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IFBB Pro 7x Mr. Olympia Champion Phil “The Gift” Heath’s 10 Best Muscle-Building Exercises

When asked this question, Phil Heath went into detail on his decisions and narrowed his list down to 10 exercises:

Incline Dumbbell Presses

Phil Heath began his list with incline dumbbell presses. He focused on muscle building with this list and this exercise gives the size and shape needed.

“Dumbbell more than likely because you can do a lot with a dumbbell over a barbell, right? I always want that shelf up here. It looks great in t-shirts. If you’re hitting a side shot, you want the upper pec development to exist.”

Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise

When performing side lateral raises, Heath warned against lifting your shoulders up because it takes away from the muscle. It is important to focus on the form.

“To the side. More just with arms. As you did that, your traps moved. I don’t need that. I don’t want that.”

One-Arm Preacher Curls

Heath said that preachers curls can either be done with a dumbbell or on a machine. Either way, he likes to isolate this exercise to make sure he is getting the most out of it with each arm.

“It could be on a machine or dumbbell…I can concentrate more on one arm then two. I can also isolate and understand ‘why is one arm stronger than the other?’ And ‘am I performing the rep the same on either arm?’ If I’m in a fixed position, I can’t tell. I need to see and I need to feel.”

Hack Squats

Hack squats are an incredible exercise to build strength and size in your quads. Heath feels strongest on this machine and used it often during his career.

“It just feels incredibly strong to be in that position. I love it. I did a lot of damage on that machine.”

Rope Face Pulls

For this exercise, Heath focused on the bar delts and chose face pulls. When asked about where to come with the extension, he points to his forehead and said to pull there.

Rope Tricep Extensions

While the rope attachment was out, Heath added rope tricep extensions. He was asked about performing them overhead but chose to go traditional and downward.

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Heath highlighted incline when choosing his two exercises for chest. With flyes, it comes with a great stretch.

“I’m getting a good stretch and able to contract as well, working that same plane.”

Underhand Bent-Over Barbell Rows

Phil Heath chose underhand barbell rows compared to overhand because it brings a larger range of motion.

“I’ve noticed that overhand, initially you’re going to feel it in your forearms, and I’m only going to get so much. There’s more margin for error. If you’re coming here, I’m not feeling it as much. And I’m simulating what I do on stage, pulling the elbows back.”

Overhand Wide-Grip Pull-Ups

Pull-ups can be done in many ways with many grips. Heath opted for wide-grip pull-ups when building his back.


Finally, the stepmill was the final machine chosen by Heath.

“I can carve out the legs. I can do glutes with that. I wore a weight vest for, what show was that, it was earlier in my career and we’d wear weight vests and ankle weight. I was using e-stim units while I was doing cardio. I use Complex on stepmill.”

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