The PHAT Workout – Perfect for Muscle and Strength Gains?

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The PHAT workout is a training routine that is taking the world of bodybuilding by storm. The program involves exercising five days a week with two rest days and is split into two types of workout, where one is for strength, and the other is for muscle gains.

If you want to know more about the PHAT workout, its benefits, its training plan, and more, then make sure to read this guide till the end.

Understanding the PHAT Workout

PHAT is an abbreviation of ‘Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training’ which is a workout style focused on maximizing the strength and size through the use of progressive overload and hypertrophy. The training was developed by powerlifter and bodybuilder Layne Norton, who has a PhD in the field of Nutritional Sciences.

Layne Norton PHAT Workout

The training encompasses several components of both powerlifting and bodybuilding, the purpose being  mixing different styles of workouts for bigger and faster gains.

This program is designed to hit each muscle of the body twice a week through both bodybuilding hypertrophy and rep schemes and traditional strength methods.

Can Beginners Use This Method?

Yes! The workout is absolutely beginner friendly as Dr. Layne Norton said himself. The reason is simple: because it is a progressive workout, weight on the bar is not the only important aspect of the training.

The essential part of PHAT is the workout split where each session targets a specific muscle group. The days of training are divided into two types:

  • Hypertrophy Days
  • Power Days

Each of these workouts trains each muscle differently, twice per week, with one power day and one hypertrophy day.

Breakdown of Hypertrophy Days and Power Days

Now that you know the fundamental principles behind the PHAT workout, let’s have a look at the typical routine of this training. As you know, the PHAT workout is divided into two categories: power days and hypertrophy days.

Power Days

The first and second day of your workout will be the heavy power days. You will perform heavy compound exercises where you will ideally do three to five working sets of three to five repetitions each. Some typical exercises of this routine include:

  • Bench presses
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bent over rows
  • Military Presses
  • Dips (weighted)
  • Pull-ups (weighted)
  • Leg press

Power days are about increasing your strength which means you will take more rest between sets, usually from three to five minutes.  Your objective here is to lift as heavy as possible so the heavier you lift, the more rest you will need.

Hypertrophy Days

After the first and second days, the third day will be a rest day. Then on the fourth and fifth day, you will be focusing on hypertrophy. You will train like a bodybuilder, where you will lift to get an increase in size and a massive pump from the workout.

You will work on higher reps and will take shorter rest periods between working sets, usually from one to two minutes. This will increase your heart rate, and you will get a greater post-workout pump.

Before you start with your hypertrophy workout, you need to warm up by performing six to eight sets of the compound exercises that you performed on your power days, but make sure to only do three reps per set: this is a warm-up.

On hypertrophy days, you will do 12 to 20 reps and three to four sets.

Benefits of the PHAT Workout

The PHAT workout is primarily aimed at increasing your strength, while still growing your muscles. If you stay consistent with your workout, you will get:

  • An increase in raw strength
  • Hypertrophy stimulation
  • A solid foundation of conditioning and strength
  • A solid knowledge of the principles of strength

Layne Norton PHAT

What to Do Before the Workout?

One of the most dangerous things someone could do is to directly jump into the workout without warming up their body. DO NOT DO THIS! This can lead to severe injuries and hinder your results. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Warm up Your Body: Do some low impact cardio and then some exercises related to your workout. You can start with incline walking, elliptical or slow stair climber and then you can move to a specific exercise. For instance, you can do light pushing exercises to warm up your muscles if you are going to bench.
  • Cool Down Your Body: This is simple: just move to low impact cardio machines and slow down your heart rate. Once your heart rate is back to normal, move towards stretching.
  • Stretch Your Body: Many bodybuilders avoid it but honestly, stretching is one of the most crucial parts of a full strength workout. According to research; when your muscles are stretched to their fullest during an exercise, you can get more power out of them.

Make sure to always perform these three steps to make sure that your body is ready for the PHAT workout.

Full PHAT Workout Plan

Days 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 will be workout days, while days 3 and 7 will be rest days. Let’s have a look at the schedule of the PHAT Workout:

Day 1: Upper Body Power

  • Bent-Over Rows: 3 sets with 3 to 5 reps
  • Weighted Pull Ups: 4 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Flat Dumbbell Presses: 3 sets with 3 to 5 reps
  • Weighted Dips: 2 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 3 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Cambered Bar Curls: 3 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Skull Crushers: 3 sets with 6 to 10 reps

Day 2: Lower Body Power

  • Squats: 3 sets with 3 to 5 reps
  • Leg Presses: 4 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Leg Extensions 2 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 sets with 5 to 8 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls: 2 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets with 6 to 10 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 2 sets with 6 to 10 reps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back and Shoulder Hypertrophy

  • Bent Over Rows: 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Weighted Pull Ups: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Seated Cable Row: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Rows: 2 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Close Grip Pull Downs: 2 sets with 15 to 20 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Presses: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Uprights Rows: 2 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Side Lateral Raises with Dumbbells: 3 sets with 12 to 20 reps

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy

  • Squats: 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Lunges: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Leg Presses: 2 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets with 15 to 20 reps
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls: 2 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Seated Leg curls: 2 sets with 15 to 20 reps
  • Standing Calf raises: 4 sets with 10 to 15 reps
  • Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets with 15 to 20 rep

Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy

  • Flat Dumbbell Presses: 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Presses: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Hammer Strength Chest Press: 3 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Flies: 2 sets with 15 to 20 reps
  • Cambered Bar Preacher Curls: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curls: 2 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Spider Curls: 2 sets with 15 to 20 reps
  • Seated Triceps Extensions: 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps
  • Cable Press Downs with Rope: 2 sets with 12 to 15 reps
  • Cable Kickbacks: 2 sets with 15 to 20 reps

Day 7: Rest

Progression with the PHAT Workout

The workout split has a duration of only one week, and therefore, you need to understand a simple method of progression, called Progressive Overload.

Using this simple method, you increase the overall resistance on your muscle each workout, by either adding weight (for the same number of reps as the previous workout), or increasing the number of reps, while keeping the same weight.

Final Words – Is the PHAT Workout for You?

The PHAT workout is ideal for people who are hitting the gym consistently but are not seeing much progress in terms of strength and muscle gains. By leveraging this training program by Dr. Layne Norton, you will definitely be able to see progress with your training. The PHAT workout has been around for several years, and it has received great feedback.

Keep in mind that the first three to four weeks can be very difficult and if you find it hard to keep up with the workout, take longer rests and get back to it again. Don’t give up, this is one of the very best programs around! 😉

Any thoughts on the PHAT workout? Let us know below!

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