If you have been in the bodybuilding and lifting game for a while now and are looking for something more intense than your regular workout program, you should give the PHUL workout a try.
With this training program, you will be working on increasing your strength and getting more muscles quickly.
The PHUL workout can be challenging, especially for people who haven’t worked out much in the past, because it concentrates on lifting heavy weights and doing isolated and compound exercises. Therefore, you need to keep in mind that it is not for someone who is just starting out.
If you are interested in learning about the PHUL workout, how it works, what training methods it encompasses, what are its benefits, what its full workout plan is and more, then make sure to read this guide. With that said, let’s get started!
If you don’t want to read, this video explains everything perfectly!
Understanding the PHUL Workout
First of all, you should know that this working program has been created by Dr. Layne Norton, who has been active in the bodybuilding and powerlifting world for more than 15 years, and is also the author of the PHAT workout.
The term PHUL is the abbreviation of ‘Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower’ Workout. This training is developed to maximize muscle hypertrophy and increase strength.
Simply put, the PHUL workout is a blend of strength and size exercises. Since PHUL is a strength oriented program, you will primarily work on compound lifts.
The PHUL Workout is an upper and lower split program where the workout is split into two days of upper body exercises and two days of lower body exercises. The whole program consists of four days where two days are purely strength days, while the remaining two days are dedicated to muscle and size gains.
The PHUL program has a very high-frequency mode of training, and because of that, you can keep your muscles in an anabolic state throughout the whole week.
Can Beginners Use This Method?
Unlike PHAT, the PHUL workout is not very beginner friendly, and it lies in between the intermediate and advanced level. The reason behind this is because of the intensity of the workout: the PHUL workout can be pretty heavy to handle for a beginner, and it also has a lot of different advanced exercises that can take some time to get used to.
Therefore, for beginners, it can get overwhelming to learn and perform all of the isolation and compound movements correctly, and to adapt to the progressive increase in intensity. However, that doesn’t mean that beginners cannot do it. It is just a bit more difficult for them than other, more straighforward workout programs.
Breakdown of Hypertrophy Days and Power Days
So, now that you know the fundamentals of the PHUL workout, it is time you learn about the two types of training that are done in this program: Power Days and Hypertrophy Days.
Out of a total of four days, two training days of the PHUL workout are reserved for strength training, also called ‘power days’. The first day of the power days is for the upper body workout and the second day is for the lower body workout.
The power day workouts typically incorporate compound lifts like squat, bench press, overhead press and deadlifts, that are usually done using heavy weights with low reps.
The remaining two days of the PHUL training are reserved for muscle hypertrophy training. The goal of this training is to get maximum muscle mass. In the hypertrophy days, your core focus will be on bodybuilding type movevement, that you will perform in isolation.
Though it is labelled as hypertrophy, the workouts in this plan also help you increase your strength. In these days, you will typically do three to four sets with 10 to 15 reps.
Benefits of the PHUL Workout
Exercise has tons of health benefits in general, but here, we are talking about the benefits that are exclusive to the PHUL workout program.
Though this workout is more geared towards intermediate lifters, its benefits are the same as the PHAT workout but with more intensity. Have a look at the benefits below:
- You will get education on how to train the correct way
- You will get knowledge about how to achieve more challenging routines
- You will get an increase in muscle size
- You will get an increase in strength
So these are the four primary benefits that you can expect with the PHUL workout, if you are doing it the right way. 😉
What to Do Before the Workout?
One of the most important parts of doing an intense workout like PHUL is the warm up. You cannot ignore it, or it may lead to some serious injuries, and you may not achieve the results you were expecting. You need to properly warm-up your muscles before starting the workout.
We recommend you start with low intensity cardio, such as 10 minutes on the elliptical. This will allow you to warm up your muscles without putting much stress on them.
Now, when you move towards the exercise, keep it simple. If you are doing bench and rows, start with low reps with 60 to 70 percent of your max lift and take longer rest. Then gradually increase the reps and max lift so you don’t put stress on your muscles.
PHUL Workout Plan
There are a total of four workout days in the PHUL program and the remaining three days (day three, six and seven) of the week will be your rest days. Let’s see the full schedule of the PHUL workout:
Day 1: Upper Power
- Barbell Bench Press: 3 to 4 sets with 3 to 5 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 to 4 sets with 6 to 10 reps
- Bent Over Row: 3 to 4 sets with 3 to 5 reps
- Lat Pull Down: 3 to 4 sets with 6 to 10 reps
- Overhead Press: 2 to 3 sets with 5 to 8 reps
- Barbell Curl: 2 to 3 sets with 6 to 10 reps
- Skullcrusher: 2 to 3 sets with 6 to 10 reps
Day 2: Lower Power
- Squat: 3 to 4 sets with 3 to 5 reps
- Deadlift : 3 to 4 sets with 3 to 5 reps
- Leg Press: 3 to 5 sets with 10 to 15 reps
- Leg Curl: 3 to 4 sets with 6 to 10 reps
- Calf Exercise: 4 sets with 6 to 10 reps
Day 3: Rest Day
Day 4: Upper Hypertrophy
- Incline Barbell Bench Press: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Flye: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Seated Cable Row: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- One Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Cable Tricep Extension: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
Day 5: Lower Hypertrophy
- Front Squat: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Barbell Lunge: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Leg Extension: 3 to 4 sets with 10 to 15 reps
- Leg Curl : 3 to 4 sets with 10 to 15 reps
- Seated Calf Raise: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
- Calf Press: 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps
Day 6: Rest Day
Day 7: Rest Day
Progression in the PHUL Workout
Progressing in the PHUL workout can be done by going through cycles.
Let’s take the example of the Overhead Press. At first, you are doing three sets with eight reps, and you do this for one to two weeks.
After the initial two weeks, you will cycle the set scheme and increase the weight. You can do this by increasing the sets and decreasing the reps, such as four sets of six reps.
This way, you will slowly progress and work with the increased weight for one to two weeks with increased sets and decreased reps. Once you get settled on the increased weight, you can then go back to the old pattern of three sets and eight reps.
Final Words – Is the PHUL workout for you?
If you correctly follow the PHUL workout plan, you will not only get stronger, but also achieve massive muscle gains. The program has been around for years now, and many lifters have tested it with success!
Also, another benefit of the program is that it will teach you how you can properly train and adapt to a more difficult routine while progressif on every movement.
Just make sure that you are properly sticking to the plan and not making any excuses. Furthermore, if you are finding it difficult to keep up with the plan, then you can increase the resting period and take more than one day off.
Have you tried the PHUL workout yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂