Training

Gifted Guns

How Phil Heath built two of the best arms on the planet.

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PHIL'S TIPS: PREACHER CURLS

“Back in the day, they used to say that you could lengthen short biceps by doing preachers, but we all know that’s a myth. You’re born with your muscle attachments and nothing you do can change that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve on what nature gave you. Because of the angle, these will thicken the lower part of your biceps and make your arms appear fuller.”

“We’re all told to use a full range of motion, but in some cases, like with preacher curls, it could be dangerous to take that too far. I notice that when I let my arms straighten out at the bottom, I get a pain in the biceps tendons. I’m not trying to strain the tendons, so I stop just short of full extension, which also keeps constant tension on the muscles and makes them work that much harder.”

“I’ll do these with an EZ bar or a dumbbell. With the bar, I can obviously go heavier, but with a dumbbell, I can work each side independently and really isolate each arm. I’ll throw in machine preachers every now and then for variety. It all depends on how I feel. Also, because I travel a lot for guest appearances, it depends on the type of equipment the gym has.”

PHIL'S TIPS: LYING EXTENSIONS

“These are almost like barbell curls for triceps. You can go pretty heavy, and the triceps do all the work. I like the cambered bar because it’s a little easier on the joints. Hany [Rambod, Heath’s trainer and nutritionist] has a different way of doing these. At the top, instead of holding the bar above my chest, Hany has me keep it slightly angled behind my head. This keeps constant tension on the muscles.”

“Keep your elbows stationary to keep your delts out of the movement. Sometimes, afer reaching failure, I’ll do a few reps of close-grip bench presses with the same barbell to flush more blood into the muscles. Occasionally, I use dumbbells.”

PHIL'S TIPS: OVERHEAD DUMBBELL EXTENSIONS

“This is one of my favorites. It gives me a really great stretch at the bottom. These emphasize the long head of the triceps, which gives you that sweeping, hanging look in the front and rear double biceps poses.”

“I don’t point my elbow straight up toward the ceiling. I like keeping it at about a 45-degree angle to minimize pressure on my joints. It just feels more comfortable to me, and I’m keeping tension on the muscles the whole time, so I know it’s working.” - FLEX

 

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