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PHAT Workout: Ultimate Power Hypertrophy Guide

Developed by the renowned physique coach and professional powerlifter, Dr. Layne Norton, the Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training (PHAT) program is a unique blend of powerlifting and bodybuilding techniques. Its primary objective is to enhance muscle size and strength by capitalizing on hypertrophy and progressive overload principles.

Hypertrophy, in simple terms, refers to the enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increase in size of its cells (1, 2, 3, 4). The PHAT regimen meticulously targets each muscle group, alternating between strength-focused exercises and hypertrophy-centric bodybuilding sessions.

For those aspiring to sculpt muscles without adding excessive bulk, the PHAT workout might be your ideal match. Dr. Norton's approach emphasizes a mix of high and low rep counts, ensuring muscle growth while facilitating adequate recovery.

The structure of the PHAT routine spans five days, beginning with two power-centric days, followed by a day of rest. The subsequent three days are dedicated to hypertrophy training, culminating in another day of relaxation.

Layne Norton's PHAT Workout Routine

Weekly Schedule:

  • Day 1: Upper Power Training
  • Day 2: Lower Power Training
  • Day 3: Rest and Recovery
  • Day 4: Hypertrophy Training for Back and Shoulders
  • Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy Training
  • Day 6: Hypertrophy Training for Chest and Arms
  • Day 7: Rest and Recovery

Detailed Breakdown:

Day 1 (Monday) – Upper Power Training

  • Bent Over: 3 sets x 4 reps
  • Weighted Pull Up: 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Rack Chin: 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Flat Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 4 reps
  • Weighted Dip: 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Cambered Bar Curl: 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Skull Crusher: 3 sets x 8 reps

Day 2 (Tuesday) – Lower Power Training

  • Squat: 3 sets x 4 reps
  • Hack Squat: 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Leg Extension: 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 3 sets x 7 reps
  • Glute Ham Raise: 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 2 sets x 8 reps

Day 3 (Wednesday)

  • Rest and Recovery

Day 4 (Thursday) – Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy

  • Bent Over: 6 sets x 4 reps
  • Rack Chin: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Cable Row: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Row: 2 sets x 13 reps
  • Close-Grip Pulldown: 2 sets x 18 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Upright Row: 2 sets x 13 reps
  • Side Lateral Raise (Dumbbell or Cables): 3 sets x 16 reps

Day 5 (Friday) – Lower Body Hypertrophy

  • Squat: 6 sets x 3 reps
  • Hack Squat: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Leg Press: 2 sets x 14 reps
  • Leg Extension: 3 sets x 18 reps
  • Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl: 2 sets x 14 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl: 3 sets x 18 reps
  • Donkey Calf Raise: 4 sets x 13 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets x 18 reps

Day 6 (Saturday) – Chest and Arms Hypertrophy

  • Flat Dumbbell Press: 6 sets x 3 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Hammer Strength Chest Press: 3 sets x 14 reps
  • Incline Cable Fly: 2 sets x 18 reps
  • Cambered Bar Preacher Curl: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curl: 2 sets x 14 reps
  • Spider Curl (Bracing Upper Body Against an Incline Bench): 2 sets x 18 reps
  • Seated Tricep Extension with Cambered Bar: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Cable Pressdown with Rope Attachment: 2 sets x 14 reps
  • Cable Kickbacks: 2 sets x 18 reps

Day 7 (Sunday)

  • Rest and Recovery

This routine offers a balanced blend of power and hypertrophy training, ensuring comprehensive muscle development and strength gains.

Workout Notes

PHAT

Power Training

The goal for the first two days is to build power and strength.

This will enable you to work on heavier loads during hypertrophy days.

During PHAT workout’s power training days, you’ll do compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and box squats.

It is best to maintain the 3-5 rep range for 3-5 working sets.

According to researchers, the best strategy for strength-building is to do a lower rep with higher (5).

If you’re a beginner, it’s important to take things slow.

The muscles you’re working on may not be used to the stress you’ll put on them. It is best to start with light weights and do slow movements.

Rest

During power training, it is recommended to take 3 minutes of rest or even longer between sets.

The goal is to be able to move a maximum weight. You can do shorter rest during hypertrophy exercises.

Hypertrophy Training

The aim of the Layne Norton PHAT workout during hypertrophy training days is to induce stress on the muscles.

This will result in improved strength and muscle mass.

This can be done through some speed work or by doing 6-8 sets of 3 reps.

The idea of doing speed work is to move the weight as quickly as possible while maintaining proper form.

Make sure that the weight is not too heavy during hypertrophy training.

The recommended rest between sets is a maximum of 90 seconds.

Failure

It is recommended to use failure on the last 1 or 2 sets of each exercise once you’re already accustomed to the routine.

But, it is not advisable to take sets to failure during the first three weeks of PHAT workout.

Doing so will lead to quick burnout.

An option would be to stop 1-2 reps shy of failure.

Once you are used to the routine, you can add failure to your power/accessory movements.

Layne Norton PHAT program recommends avoiding the use of failure for more than six weeks in a row without a break.

Training to failure quite often will result in a decrease in strength, performance and hypertrophic capacity.

Also, it will reduce the volume that your body can endure.

Overtraining Factor

It’s normal to feel sore for the first few weeks, but after 4-6 weeks, your body will be used to the increase in frequency.

To help you adapt better to the PHAT workout routine, it is best for you to deload once every 6 to 12 weeks.

This would mean lifting at 60-70% of your normal weights for 1-3 weeks.

This will allow for sustained strength and better recovery.

Some factors to consider when deloading are your age, level of training and how fast your body can recuperate.

Deloading will enable you to push through with your training while giving your joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles a rest from heavy lifting.

PHAT Workout Progression

The key to seeing progress under the PHAT program is progressive overload.

This is done when you increase the overall resistance on the muscle without changing the number of repetitions.

Simply put, to progress, you’ll need to work on heavier weights but do lower reps. This will allow you to increase your strength.

Eventually, you’ll be able to work on heavier weights with an increased rep.

To make your progress consistent, you can also alternate your power movements every two to three weeks.

If you modify your exercises every week, it will be difficult for you to monitor your progress.

Changing movements every two to three week will give you a sufficient reference point.

You can do assistance exercises for smaller parts of the body such as the hamstrings, shoulders, calves, and arms.

Bear in mind that your muscles will only increase in size when put under stress.

If the stress factor is not increased, your muscles will have no reason to adapt or grow further.

Make sure to list down your changes. It will help you keep track of your PHAT workout progression.

Also, provide enough time for your body to adjust when you apply progressive overload to your training.

Here are some things you can do to ensure positive Layne Norton PHAT results:

  • Set realistic goals of what you want to accomplish in doing the program.
  • Start with low-volume training until you’re used to the PHAT workout progression. Choose a weight that will allow you to do 10-12 repetitions. If you’re having difficulty with the weight you’re currently using, it means it’s too heavy for you. Gradually increase the load as your progress through the program.
  • Do the routines with full concentration. Some do the lifts while concentrating on the number of reps. Experts say that concentrating on how your body feels during the workout will allow you to exercise effectively and avoid injuries.
  • The Layne Norton PHAT program requires training in proper form. If you’re not sure, ask an expert on how to do a specific correctly. It would be best if you can find a knowledgeable training buddy or if you can hire a trainer. They’ll help teach you how to do your routine the right way at least during the start of your training until you get familiar. Otherwise, you can purchase available resource materials such as DVDs or online videos to get more information on your routine.
  • Safety is a priority. You won’t be able to enjoy your PHAT workout results if you’re injured. So, make sure you have the lifting accessories that you’ll need such as gloves and straps and harness. Also, have a workout buddy who can help you in case you’ll have difficulty in lifting heavier loads.
  • Ensure you’re well-rested and get at least 7 hours of sleep to help your body recuperate well.
  • Monitor your PHAT workout transformation by looking at the mirror and taking some selfies. Doing so will also help you identify where you need to do more workout.
  • List down your Layne Norton PHAT routine and commit to accomplishing it.
  • Seek medical attention if you’re injured. Some people dismiss the impact of even a slight injury. While the body can recuperate on its own, make sure to listen to your body. If you’re unable to perform your routine at your best form due to an injury, consult your doctor.
  • Fill your diet with protein-rich food to help your muscles recover better. The recommended protein consumption is 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of bodyweight. Red meat, eggs, fish, cheese and chicken are good protein sources. Vegetables such as spinach, beans, and lentils are excellent sources of protein too.
  • Drink plenty of water. Any bodybuilding or strength workout can lead to water loss. Water loss can be due to the length and intensity of the workout or even the clothes you wear. A study shows that even 2% loss of body fluids can affect how you do your workout by 15-20%. Make sure to drink lots of fluids to get maximum gains during training.

Benefits of the Program

Strength training programs such as PHAT are essential in many ways.

PHAT slows down muscle loss that naturally occurs as people age.

It strengthens your muscles and connective tissues. It reduces the risk of injury and increases bone density. Also, it helps you manage arthritis pain.

Studies show that bodybuilding exercises also help improve balance and maintain blood-sugar control. Also, they help you sleep better and boost your mental health.

Reviews

Some reviews from social media consider PHAT workout as one of the best.

They say that although the routine will leave you sore for the first few weeks, once you’re accustomed to the workout, you’ll feel less painful eventually.

Some reviewers say that they like how the program is flexible. You can customize it based on your skills and goals. They mentioned they make some changes to the routine every six weeks to continue to have strength gains.

Other say they modify an exercise or two every 4 to 6 weeks so they won’t feel stuck and to keep the workout interesting.

Some reviewers advise committing to the PHAT workout only when you can find a spare time of 5 days a week.

According to experts, you’ll be able to notice your PHAT workout transformation after four to eight weeks of a continuous workout.

Can the PHUL Workout Program Help Achieve Power and Hypertrophy Goals like the PHAT Workout?

Yes, the PHUL workout for strength can help achieve power and hypertrophy goals similar to the PHAT workout. The PHUL program combines powerlifting and hypertrophy training to maximize strength and muscle growth. With its focus on compound lifts and strategic accessory work, it is an effective way to reach your fitness goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay for a Beginner to Do This Workout?

Yes. PHAT program emphasizes progressive strength training.

This means that you don’t need to start with heavy weights.

You can start with the weight that you’re comfortable to lift and work your way up.

How Does Layne Norton PHAT Program Work?

The PHAT workout is a bodybuilding and powerlifting combo.

It combines powerlifters’ strategy of using a lower rep with high weight and bodybuilders’ method of using higher reps of less weight.

What’s different in this workout – compared to other well-known training – is that it will allow you to do both powerlifting and body-lifting styles of training in the same week.

Usually, other training has a particular routine for specific muscles or muscle group for a week or even more.

How Can I Avoid Training Plateau?

Training plateau is when you stop seeing results in your workout (6).

As you lose weight, your metabolism will decline. This will cause you to burn fewer calories.

If you burn the same calories as you consume, you will reach a plateau.

You can increase your food intake and modify your power/accessory exercises to avoid training plateau.

The power exercises include squats and deadlifts. The accessory exercises are those performed with more reps. They include pull-ups and skull crushers.

Another option is working on Layne Norton PHAT routines that you’re having difficulty with.

You can strategize and find ways on how you can improve your performance in those routines.

Can I Include Cardio in the Routine?

It’s best to limit cardio to once a week at the start of the training until your body is accustomed to the PHAT workout.

You may opt for high-intensity cardio such as sprints, car pushes, sled dragging, and elliptical cardio.

What Warm-Up Exercises Can I Do?

Choose warm-up exercises that won’t stress your muscles. Low cardio warm-up exercises, foam rolling, and box jumps are good options.

Make sure to do a proper warm-up.

A proper warm-up is essential in stretching the parts of your body that will be worked during your routine.

Also, it opens up nerves and arteries so that blood can properly circulate in the target muscles.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to do more warm-up sets if you’ll be lifting heavier loads.

Summary

The realm of strength training and bodybuilding is vast, with numerous programs tailored to diverse goals.

The efficacy of the PHAT workout, like any regimen, is influenced by individual factors such as genetics, nutrition, and dedication.

It's crucial to understand that the results you derive from the PHAT program are directly proportional to your commitment and the effort you invest.

This program is meticulously designed to stimulate muscle growth, but success hinges on your ability to tune into your body, ensuring exercises are executed with precision and care.

For those intrigued by the principles of PHAT and seeking further exploration, our guide on the Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (PHUL) workout offers another avenue to muscle growth and strength.