Q: I’ve been blown away by the photos of Phil Heath winning the Mr. Olympia. Are there special exercises and routines the pros use that will enable me to build a physique something like theirs?
A: If you were to see Phil in the flesh, you’d be blown away even more. Photography is one thing, reality is something else.
My obsession with bodybuilding started when I was 14, and lasted many years. Phil bowled you over just as Arnold, Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane and some others of the 1970s bowled me over when I was a teenager. The same desire you have for building a great physique is what I had when I was a kid—and for many years thereafter. I used to ask the same question that you asked, but the answer is the same today as it was back then.
Some of the exercises that built Phil’s muscles are the same ones that can build your muscles; but because of his exceptional responsiveness to training and his freaky potential for growth, he progressed on some exercises that won’t help you.
Although his training routines worked for him, that doesn’t mean they will work for you. You could try his routines, the way I tried Arnold’s and Sergio’s and Frank’s. But unless you have an exceptional genetic gift for bodybuilding or are into steroids—which I most certainly don’t recommend—you won’t respond well to Phil’s routines; just as I didn’t respond well to champ programs. I didn’t have their genetic advantages for bodybuilding. I could have gotten into drugs to try to compensate, but I had the sense not to. It’s madness.
If you follow the guidelines I promote in this column, you’ll give yourself the best chance of finding routines appropriate for you. How far they will take you will depend on your level of dedication and your genetic potential for bodybuilding.
Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new 638-page opus on bodybuilding Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great, available from Home Gym Warehouse (800) 447-0008 or www.Home-Gym.com.