Phil Heath’s Shoulder Mastery: Teaching Will Tennyson the Art of 3D Delts

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Phil Heath, the illustrious seven-time Mr. Olympia champion, stands as an icon in the world of bodybuilding. His reign of consecutive victories from 2011 to 2017 places him among the sport’s elite, alongside legends like Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, and Jay Cutler

While these champions are often associated with lifting immense weights, Phil Heath’s approach is characterized by his profound understanding of muscle fiber stimulation.

phil heath 7x mr olympia
via phil heath instagram

In a video released on September 3, 2023, on the YouTube channel of fitness influencer Will Tennyson, Phil Heath provided a masterclass in shoulder training. 

Their destination was the iconic ‘Mecca of Bodybuilding,’ Gold’s Gym in Venice, California. Let’s delve into their shoulder workout and learn the secrets of building those coveted 3D delts.

The Shoulder Workout – Phil Heath’s Blueprint

Phil Heath and Will Tennyson embarked on a shoulder workout designed to sculpt the deltoids for a 3D aesthetic. 

Their routine comprised five exercises that targeted various aspects of shoulder development:

phil heath shoulder workout
via phil heath instagram

Face Pulls

To kick off the session, Phil Heath identified that Tennyson’s posterior deltoids required attention. This imbalance affected Will Tennyson’s overall physique symmetry. 

They began with face pulls, using a rope attachment. Phil Heath pulled the handles apart during the concentric phase, emphasizing the rear deltoids. Each set consisted of 15-20 reps, with Heath focusing on a full contraction to promote hypertrophy.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Moving on to the medial deltoids, the duo executed dumbbell lateral raises. The starting position involved the dumbbells resting against the outside of Phil Heath’s thighs. 

While raising the dumbbells, Phil Heath maintained a slight elbow bend, lifting them on a diagonal path toward the gym’s upper corners. 

He accentuated the contraction by actively squeezing the dumbbell handles with his pinkies.

Dumbbell Front Raise

For this exercise, Phil Heath performed ten reps per shoulder. The first five reps employed a neutral grip on the right side, followed by a pronated grip for the remaining five reps. 

This balanced approach ensured the comprehensive development of the anterior deltoids.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

When it came to the dumbbell shoulder press, Phil Heath prioritized a specific range of motion. His arms formed a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement, and he pushed the dumbbells directly overhead without bringing them together. 

Throughout the exercise, Phil Heath maintained scapular depression and kept his elbows aligned, intensifying the focus on the anterior deltoids.

Machine Incline Shoulder Press

phil heath triceps workout
via phil heath instagram

Phil Heath strategically incorporated machine exercises towards the end of the workout. Machines offer stability, allowing for better isolation and muscle engagement. 

A 2018 study in the European Journal of Sport Science highlighted the importance of establishing a mind-muscle connection for hypertrophy.

In this exercise, Phil Heath utilized a wide grip on the handles, emphasizing a full grip over a false (thumbless) grip to ensure secure and effective pressing movements.

A Glimpse of Phil Heath’s Comeback?

Phil Heath’s last competitive appearance was at the 2020 Olympia. Recent discussions, including insights from bodybuilding coach Miloš Šarčev and Jay Cutler, hint at the possibility of Phil Heath’s return to the pro circuit at the 2024 Arnold Classic

Despite his illustrious career, Phil Heath has never claimed an Arnold Classic title, making this potential comeback an exciting prospect.

phil heath and will tennyson
via phil heath instagram

While speculation surrounds his return, one fact remains clear: As a former Mr. Olympia champion, Phil Heath holds a lifetime invitation to grace bodybuilding’s grandest stage. 

Whether he decides to make a triumphant return or continue sharing his wealth of knowledge, Phil Heath’s impact on the sport is indelible. 

His teachings, like this shoulder workout, serve as a testament to his dedication and mastery of the art of bodybuilding.

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