Unfortunately, the cliche that "bodybuilders are weak and powerlifters look like crap" has some truth to an extent.
But as a fitness trainer with a decade of experience, I've always considered the PHAT routine one of the best training splits to help bodybuilders and powerlifters out of this trap.
To help my readers and clients understand it better, I did more research on it and discussed my findings with a physical therapist.
So here's what you need to know about a PHAT program.
- A PHAT workout routine includes two days of power training, a rest day, and three days of hypertrophy training before another day of rest.
- The PHAT workout routine combines elements of bodybuilding and powerlifting into a single program for muscle hypertrophy and strength benefits.
- The advantages of a PHAT workout program include ease of use, more rest days, and efficient use of your gym time.
What Is a PHAT workout?
A PHAT workout is a split that combines powerlifting and bodybuilding elements into a single workout program for muscle hypertrophy and strength building.
Dr. Layne Norton designed PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training) by combining the best of bodybuilding (muscle hypertrophy and aesthetics) and powerlifting (ability to lift heavy weights).
Norton developed a five-day-a-week PHAT program that trains each muscle group twice. In the PHAT training program, the first two days focus on upper and lower body power training, followed by a rest day and three consecutive days of hypertrophy training.
Let's get deeper.
"While pure bodybuilding style training may give you more growth over the short term, a combination of power and hypertrophy training over the long term is going to provide more muscle by increasing your growth potential. This is the basis for PHAT."
- Dr. Layne Norton, Powerlifter, Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences
PHAT Program Fundamentals
Before we get into the PHAT program, let's examine some basics.
As earlier noted, the first two days are for lower and upper body power training. As with any power-based workout, the focus here is on compound exercises.
We're talking about:
- Military Press
- Bench Press
- Barbell Row
- Weighted Dips
- Weighted Pull-Ups
Because optimum rest is necessary when lifting maximally, aim for about two to five minutes of rest .
To boost the effectiveness of your power days, feel free to include some assistance exercises targeting small muscle groups such as shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arms.
Here are a few supplementary exercises you should consider adding to your PHAT workout program:
- Leg Extensions
- Bulgarian Lunges
- Glute Ham Raises
- Standing Calf Raises
- Skull Crushers
- Cable Push Down
- Front Raise
After resting on the third day, the fourth, fifth, and sixth days are for pure muscle building.
In your hypertrophy days, start with some explosive speed work.
Make sure the weight you're using is light enough to move it explosively. Go for about 65–70% of the weight you lifted in your power workout.
After the explosive work, you can start training traditionally like a bodybuilder.
Remember, the goal here is not to break your lift records but to build muscle. So, shoot for a light weight of about 50–75% of what you lifted in your power days.
In addition, since it's a light weight, increase the number of reps to 12–20 reps and decrease your rest period to 1–2 minutes between sets.
PHAT Workout Schedule
Before we get to the benefits, let’s see what such a workout could look like.
Here's an example of a (PHAT) Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training workout schedule:
Day 1: Upper Body Power Day
- Bench Press (3 sets of 3–5 reps each)
- Horizontal rows (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Weighted Pull-Ups (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Weighted Dips (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Pendlay Rows (3 sets of 3–5 reps each)
- Skull Crushers (3 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Cambered Bar Curls (3 sets of 6–10 reps each)
Day 2: Lower Body Power Day
- Squats (3 sets of 3–5 reps each)
- Hack Squats (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Leg Extensions (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Leg Presses (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Lying Leg Curls (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Stiff-Legged Deadlifts (3 sets of 5–8 reps each)
- Seated Calf Raise (2 sets of 6–10 reps each)
- Standing Calf Raise (3 sets of 6–10 reps each)
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy Day
- Bent-Over Rows (4 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Dumbbell Rows (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Seated Cable Rows (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Weighted Pull-Ups (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Upright Rows (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Close Grip Pull-Downs (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Seated Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises (2 sets of 12–20 reps each)
Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy Day
- Lunges (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Squats (4 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Leg Extension (3 sets of 15–20 reps each)
- Leg Presses (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Stiff Legged Deadlifts (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Seated Leg Curls (2 sets of 15–20 reps each)
- Lying Leg Curls (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Standing Calf Raises (4 sets of 10–15 reps each)
- Seated Calf Raise (3 sets of 15–20 reps each)
Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy Day
- Incline Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Flat Dumbbell Press (4 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Incline Cable Flys (2 sets of 15–20 reps each)
- Hammer Strength Chest Press (3 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Cambered Bar Preacher Curls (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
- Spider Curls (2 sets of 15–20 reps each)
- Dumbbell Concentration Curls (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Cable Press Downs with Rope (2 sets of 12–15 reps each)
- Cable Kickbacks (2 sets of 15–20 reps each)
- Seated Tricep Extension with Cambered Bar (3 sets of 8–12 reps each)
Day 7: Rest
Benefits of This Routine
So why should you PHAT train? The first reason is evident up to this point.
Combining power training and bodybuilding into one workout helps you get an incredible physique and strength.
For bodybuilders, lifting more enables them to be stronger. In turn, they can use more weight when training for even more muscle growth.
On the other hand, powerlifters benefit from muscle growth. The bigger the muscle, the more potential there is to be stronger.
Other benefits include:
- It maximizes your time in the gym.
- It's simple and easy to do.
- Give you ample time to rest.
How Long Does PHAT Workout Take?
How long a PHAT workout takes depends on how long you rest and warm up. However, they typically take about one to two hours each day. That's because the program partly focuses on lifting volume.
Is PHAT Training Effective?
Yes, PHAT training is effective as it helps bodybuilders add strength and powerlifters build more mass.
Boost Your PHAT workout with a Supplement
Combining your PHAT workout routine with proper nutrition and adequate sleep can help you build strength and muscle mass simultaneously.
However, this may not get you the results you want fast enough. And that's why I suggest adding a protein powder supplement to the mix.
We've thoroughly tested a vast number of supplements and have included only the top ones that have yielded the best testing data results.
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