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Phil Heath forearms workout and training tips

Discover how The Gift built the most eye-popping forearms in modern bodybuilding.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 4th March 2021
Bodybuilder flexing his forearm

The forearm anatomy looks extremely impressive when it's fully developed. And in the history of bodybuilding, few competitors have been able to rival Phil Heath in the forearm department.

He jokingly quotes his forearm measurement when people ask him how big his arms are. And to their amazement, his forearms are often significantly larger than their upper arms.

Related post: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s forearm workout

How to get Phil Heath forearms

So, how can you get those incredible Phil Heath forearms for your own physique?

Well, he’s obviously got great genetics. But as he says, when talent works hard, the results just become crazy, which is to say, that genetics alone won’t earn you a Mr. Olympia caliber physique.

After all, it’s entirely possible that some people have similar forearm genetics to Phil Health—emphasis on some, it’s probably still a rarity. However, these individuals simply don’t have his muscularity because they haven’t put forth the effort in the gym to build the size.

Gear or no gear, you'll need exceptional forearm genetics to get lower arms like Phil Heath.

So to get forearms like those of Phil Heath, you’re going to need some crazy good genetics, yes. But you’re also going to need the discipline, not just to train hard, but to eat a calorie-dense, bodybuilding diet to support your new muscle growth.

If you’ve watched Phil Heath training forearms, then you’ll know that he doesn’t just do a few sets of wrist curls before calling it a day. He targets every area of his forearms when he's trying to add mass and detail, and it shows in his physique.

Does Phil Heath always train his forearms directly?

In one video I saw, The Gift says that he doesn’t always train his forearms since, like his upper arms, they’re already one of his best body parts.

This makes perfect sense since symmetry is a critical component of competitive bodybuilding. You might have the biggest muscles, but if they’re not in proportion, then you’re not going to score top points with the judges.

The practice of only training certain body parts now and again is common with many bodybuilders who have overly dominant muscle groups.

However, when it comes to the forearms, it makes perfect sense. This is because the forearms are very easy to maintain as they get worked during every back and bicep exercise that you perform.

Phil Heath forearm workout

I recommend watching the video of Phil Heath training forearms for yourself so that you can take notes on his form and training intensity. You’ll notice that he works every part of the forearm for complete development.

1A: EZ Curls — 3 x 10 reps

1B: Reverse EZ Curls — 3 x 10 reps

2: Behind the back wrist curl — 3 x 10 reps

3: Hammer curls (alternating) — 3 x 8-12 reps

Cambered bar curls

Interestingly, Heath starts with regular cambered bar curls and then supersets them with the reverse variation. Obviously, this setup results in a more intense muscle pump and greater workout efficiency.

But it may also stimulate faster muscle growth because by doing supersets for similar body parts, you’re ensuring that your muscles stay close to the point of failure, which is a great way to maximize your development.

He does 3 sets of 10 on each curl variation to get in plenty of volume.

Behind the back forearm curl

Man doing a behind the back forearm curl

I’ve been doing behind the back forearm curls for ages, so my eyes lit up when I realized that Phil Heath does the same drill. This movement, which he also does for 3 sets of 10, is one of the most effective because when the bar’s behind your back, it forces you to focus on the mind muscle connection rather than just moving weight for reps.

Hammer curls

Ripped bodybuilder doing hammer curls

The brachioradialis muscle on Heath’s physique is so developed that its sheer size might be hard to believe if you’re new to bodybuilding. But as the countless pictures and videos on the internet will show you, his forearms are indeed real.

So if you want Phil Heath forearm development, focus on the brachioradialis. He does both reverse curls and hammer curls, the latter being the final exercise in the routine, which he does for 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Read more: Bruce Lee forearm workout

Conclusion: Can the average guy get Phil Heath forearms?

Phil Heath definitely has freaky forearms. Even though we may never have lower arms his size, nor can we train for his genetics, we can still put his advice to good use. We still might be able to get our lower arms on the level of Sylvester Stallone’s forearms if we train consistently.

Notice how Phil Heath works all areas of his forearms. If you want full development, then you need to do the same for your forearms. I also recommend adding in some kind of reverse wrist curl to hammer the wrist extensors. But since his forearms are already so developed, I can see why he just does regular reverse curls.

References

  1. Branch, J. (2016, October 28). No One Is Looking at This Headline. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/sports/phil-heath-mr-olympia-bodybuilder.html
  2. Phil Health – From workout supplements and apparel to new forms of media. (n.d.). Phillip Heath. https://www.phillipheath.com/
  3. How Phil Heath Build His Forearms - Biceps And Forearm Workout For Mass and Definition. (2018, April 30). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBYaJ5r0nFo
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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