How Phil Heath Trains for Wide Lats and a Detailed Back

Is Phil Heath’s back-training philosophy all about going as heavy as possible with high-intensity and high volume? No. In fact, his top priority is back health.

“My overall approach to back training is knowing that a bigger muscle is a strong muscle; however, back health is No. 1 for you to be able to do this,” says Heath. “Sometimes you have to crawl before you walk. So when getting ready for a show, for me it’s all about time under tension and gradually building up. By the end of the prep I’m actually at my strongest. My body is now more mature to where I can handle that kind of poundage throughout. But it’s all because I take a very disciplined, detailed approach.”

Check out the 7-time Mr. Olympia’s back-breaking workout, which he’ll hope carries him to a record-tying eighth title this December in Las Vegas.

Phil Heath’s Massive Back Workout

Neutral Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown 4 8-12
Plate-loaded Lat Pulldown Machine 4 8-12
Reverse-grip Lat Pulldown 3 8-12
Barbell Bentover Row (underhand grip) 4 10
Seated Cable Row 3 8-12
Machine Pullover 4 10-12
Weighted Back Extension 4 10
**Rest 30 seconds between sets, per FST-7 protocol.**

NOTE: This workout was designed by Hany Rambod, creator of FST-7. “Phil is posing in between every set to really maximize time under tension,” says Rambod. “So he’ll do a front- or rear-lat spread or a back double-biceps shot between sets during his back workout.”

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