Phil Heath - The Gift A New Beginning (DVD) IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Phil Heath's long-awaited first DVD. This 2 DVD set follows IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Phil Heath 12 weeks out from his pro debut in Denver, Colorado. The DVD includes tons of training, lots of behind the scenes footage leading into the Colorado Pro, backstage at the show, the victory party and the photo shoot with Kevin Horton the next day. BUY IT NOW
The DVD started off with a collage of training footage to come later in the DVD. Phil was looking in good condition and his standout body parts appeared to be his arms and delts. His overall physique looked pro level, yet moderate in a way - at least compared to other pros like Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, and Markus Ruhl. It was already clear that Phil's physique was amazing.
Back - 12 Weeks Out, Mahany's Gym - Aurora, CO
Phil stated at the beginning that his lats were an area that he was seeking improvement on and the DVD started off with him training back. Phil said that he was only 215 at the USA and was trying to hit 222 at his first pro show. This continues to impress me because at a height of 5'9, some pros have competed at upwards of 275 pounds and Phil is proof that a pro can be competitive at a weight much lighter. Phil explained his training techniques in the DVD in between his working sets. After deadlifts he performed barbell rows on the Smith machine. This is an exercise I first saw performed by King Kamali and that I have not seen many pros perform other than him. King always had excellent back development so hopefully this is a good exercise for Phil to utilize. Phil went up to three plates per side (315 pounds) on this exercise. Afterwards Phil performed a drop set.
Phil's next exercise was wide grip cable rows using a long straight bar. Phil explained his routine a little more before his back routine was complete.
Biceps - Nine Weeks Out
For biceps, Phil started off with standing EZ bar curls. Afterwards he did alternate dumbbell curls on the incline bench. Phil's arms are ridiculously big and I think that his arms (and delts) are a huge part of his success while still being 222 pounds. Most pros would not be able to be competitive at his height without at least around 10 more pounds of muscle, but his incredible genetics for arms go a long way in giving him an amazing look that looks good even compared to pros of the same height who have more mass.
Phil took off his shirt to train in a tanktop next and the pump in his biceps was apparent. His arms were huge and in good condition and getting bigger with each successive set. Next Phil did concentration curls. This is one of my favourite biceps exercises and I have been using it during most workouts lately. Next Phil did standing double arm cable curls which is a great exercise both to keep tension on the biceps throughout the entire range of motion and to practice the front double biceps pose for competition. Next Phil did the same exercise using one arm at a time before warming up his triceps with rope pulldowns.
Phil continued with his triceps workout performing single arm overhead extensions with a dumbbell. Phil also used seated triceps pushdown machine for triceps. Phil hit some poses in between sets and was in good condition, but don't let it fool you - by contest time he was far more shredded. One thing I wonder is how realistic it would be for Phil to stay in the condition he was in nine weeks out during the whole year. Being in contest condition year long is unrealistic, but maybe being a little more offseason (higher in body fat) would be possible. Phil's look was ripped but not extremely depleted as he all bodybuilders get during contest day. Phil performed all of the mandatory poses and was looking great. I noticed that his abs and thigh pose was a lot like Flex Wheeler's in that it was a strong pose for him, but without the huge and flaring lats you see with some bodybuilders. Phil has a small waist and tight midsection and with a little more flare (mass) to his lats, that pose will be a knockout for him. As it is now, it is not a weak point, but will easily turn into a greater strength with time. Keep in mind Phil is still in his twenties (born December 18, 1979) and has plenty of time to make improvements. As it is now, he is more than likely top 10 in the world.
Legs - Six Weeks Out
Phil started his legs workout with leg extensions for his thighs and moved on to lying leg curls for hamstrings. Both exercises are good to include in any leg routine, and I particularly like lying leg curls for hamstrings. Phil also hit the leg press for quads and at some point joked about how bodybuilders always talk about being on low carb diets as being a reason for being weak. Heath loaded up the leg press with nine plates per side and did high rep sets (over 20 reps) but with a short range of motion. After the leg press, Phil did hack squats and performed them with a much deeper range of motion than his leg presses. He went up to five plates per side (450 pounds plus the weight of the sled) for reps. Phil then performed working sets on the leg extension machine doing one leg at a time. As Phil's workout continued, Phil continued to explain his routine as well as his physique goals. He moved on to plate loaded seated calf raises. His calves are not a strong point yet, but are strong enough to not be considered a weak point.
Phil hit some poses next and was improved from his nine week out poses. You could see that he was making progress and on track to be ready by the time of the show. He hit the mandatory poses and you could see definite improvements, for example, his triceps really came out compared to the previous posing session.
Shoulders - Five Weeks Out
Phil started his shoulders routine with lateral raises. After his warmup, he started with his seated dumbbell presses, one of my favourite shoulder exercises. Phil went up to the 135 pound dumbbells which he handled for reps. Phil's next exercise was side laterals. For rear delts, Phil performed one of my favourite rear delt exercises - flyes on the reverse pec deck machine. He also performed some plate loaded military presses on a machine which I think was intended for that exercise but in a manner slightly different than the way he was using it. It is interesting to see how bodybuilders will vary techniques a little bit in order to do a movement in a slightly different manner. It's proof that bodybuilding is not an exact science. It's all good and it's all for you, so why not do it? Phil then did barbell shrugs on the Smith machine and then hit some poses. His condition was once again improved from the posing done six weeks out. It was once again obvious that he was going to be ready for his show. He looked especially good in some of the variations of the most muscular pose.
After Phil's posing session was complete, Phil went to a restaurant to eat a meal which was a little bit restricted due to his nearing contest.
Phil started his chest workout with incline dumbbell presses and quickly moved on to heavy dumbbells, going up to the 130s for reps. His next exercise was the seated chest press machine (plate loaded). Phil went up to seven plates total (315 pounds) and did it for reps then went down in weight in a drop set fashion. He next hit another incline machine press which I have never seen at any gym I train at and allows for a variety of grips to hit the chest muscles in different ways. Phil hit cable crossovers next and performed them without a shirt on. The striations in his delts and chest were out and he was looking even closer to contest condition than he had been in the previous posing session.
Phil did some crunches after his chest workout was complete and said he only does three sets for abs. He said he would do a lot of crunches as a kid and mentioned that the shape of the abs is genetically determined. After his workout was complete he hit some more poses and once again you could see his condition get better. He looked great and showed everyone more proof that he would be ready for his contest. He hit the mandatories looking full and sharp.
Massage & Adjustment
Able Wellness Center
Phil went to the Able Wellness Center for a massage by Jeanette Kelder (Able Wellness Doctor of Chiropractic). Phil then went on to have work performed by Deb Ponis, a CMT from the center.
Interview & Back - 10 Days Out
Phil started his back workout with long bar lat pulldowns. After Phil did his sets, he hit some poses and was looking sharp. Again, I should point out that the difference in his conditioning was clear as you could see his glutes through his tights.
Christine Marsh Designs
Next Phil went to Christine Marsh Designs. He hit some poses and was extremely close to contest condition at this point.
Red Bird Chicken - Two Days Out
Phil went to Red Bird Chicken and met with Lo Milke, the marketing director for Red Bird Farms. Phil bought 20 pounds of chicken and said he would go through that in one week during the offseason. Where I am from, that amount of chicken would cost me around $140, but where Phil is from, I am pretty sure the prices are much lower.
Colorado Pro Check In
Phil showed up for the check in at Shawn Ray's Colorado Pro Show. Phil talked about his expectations of the show and he seemed pretty humble in his commentary. He showed us some of the items he brought to the show including some meals and the Battle for the Olympia DVD which he said motivates him leading up to shows. Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman have that effect on many people.
Next, Phil was shown in the pump room getting ready for the show.
Colorado Pro Contest
At the Colorado Pro, it was between Phil Heath and Darrem Charles for the title. Both physiques were outstanding, but in my opinion, Phil was harder. It was very close, but ultimately the contest went to Phil! The crowd reacted well to Phil's first place announcement and Phil also received the fan's choice award from www.bodybuilding.com, so his first place finish was not exactly controversial by the looks of things.
Photoshoot with FLEX Magazine's Kevin Horton and Greg Merritt
Next Chris had a photoshoot for FLEX magazine and was in great condition. The shoot took place just after the show and to keep that level of conditioning year round would be very unrealistic. The DVD ended by announcing that Phil went on to win the 2007 New York Pro show, grace the cover of FLEX magazine, and sign an endorsement contract with Met-RX.
This DVD was a good video diary of Phil getting into contest condition. What was interesting was that you could see Phil's gradual improvements as he went forward with his diet and with each and every posing session, he became more and more shredded. Phil is one of the fastest rising stars of bodybuilding and in all of bodybuilding history, very few bodybuilding stars have risen so fast, let alone in such a highly competitive era. While pros like Darrem Charles have 10 years on Phil, he is still at or beyond their level and will only improve more in the future. I think if Phil competes at the Olympia this year he will be guaranteed to place in the top 6-10, and possibly even higher depending on certain variables which are too difficult to predict. I think he would have placed around the same in 2005 as well, and he has a great future in bodybuilding and it is not unrealistic to say that he will be a future Mr. Olympia and is now a fairly strong contender for the title in his current shape at only 27 years old. This DVD is no doubt one of many to come from Phil and the sound and video quality was top notch. I like the format where commentary is done by the featured bodybuilder, but in this DVD, Phil speaks about his training in between sets, which is similar, so that the DVD gives both a realistic look of Phil's precontest training, as well as instruction for those interested in learning more about bodybuilding and training. I'd like to thank Isaac Hinds of Lift Studios and Phil Heath for giving me a free review copy of the DVD at the 2007 Arnold Classic!