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PHAT Workout Program

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Contents:

1. What Is PHAT Workout And How It Works?


2. Why PHAT Training?
3. Science Behind PHAT Workout Program
4. Fundamentals of PHAT Program
4.1 Power Days
4.2 Assistance exercises
4.3 Hypertrophy Days
4.4 Speed Work
4.5 Traditional Bodybuilder Style Training
4.6 Frequency
5. How To Use Train To Failure In PHAT Workout?
6. Deloading in PHAT Program
7. How to Incorporate Cardio into PHAT Routine?
8. How to Incorporate Deadlifts into PHAT Program?
9. Overtraining
10. PHAT Workout Routine
10.1 PHAT Workout Schedule
10.2 Warming Up for PHAT
10.3 PHAT Workout Plan

PHAT stands for Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training. PHAT workout program
is designed by the famous powerlifter and bodybuilder Layne Norton. He is a
renowned pro natural bodybuilder, 2x USA Powerlifting 93kg national champion and
2015 IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) silver medallist. He also has a PhD
in nutritional sciences with his thesis emphasis in muscle protein synthesis and a BS
in biochemistry.

What Is PHAT Workout And How It Works?

PHAT workout program is a combination of power lifting and bodybuilding.


Powerlifters use lower reps of high weight whereas bodybuilders aim for muscle
hypertrophy using higher reps of less weight. Layne Norton combined these two
different types of training methodologies into one. The advantage of PHAT workout
over other workouts is that instead of following on a specific training regimen
(hypertrophy/strength) individually for weeks at a time, you will perform workouts in
both the power lifting style (lower rep ranges) and bodybuilding style (higher rep
ranges) within the same given week.

Basically Power hypertrophy adaptive training is a 5 day workout program. PHAT


utilizes 2 of its workout days for strength training where you will be training with
heavy weight and the remaining 3 days are for hypertrophy training. The technique
of PHAT program is very simple you gain strength by lifting heavy weights and then
you maximize muscle size by following muscle hypertrophy training. With PHAT
program you will train each muscle groups twice per week.

Why PHAT Training?

When a powerlifter is training for strength, he definitely need to gain more muscle
once he hits a training plateau. At some point of his career he probably reach a
training plateau where he can no longer increase the lifting load without putting more
muscle mass. This is same for bodybuilder, every bodybuilder will eventually need to
gain more strength to add more muscle mass.
PHAT program designed in such a way that you will hit each muscle groups twice
per week in both traditional strength training and bodybuilding rep schemes. This
combination of high and low rep schemes will help you to maximize strength and
muscle growth, while still enabling enough recovery period.

Science Behind PHAT Workout Program

Why Separate Strength Training in PHAT Workout?

A research study conducted to find the effect of training volume and intensity on
improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance trained men shows that
high intensity, low volume weight training programs utilizing long rest intervals leads
to greater 1 rep max in bench press and lean muscle gains compared to moderate
intensity, high volume weight training program with short rest intervals between
working sets. These study findings also back the previous research studies in
resistance trained individuals showing lower rep schemes-higher weights programs
are the best way for boosting strength and power while producing similar magnitude
of muscle hypertrophy.

Reference: The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular


strength and size in resistance-trained men

Why Separate Muscle Hypertrophy Training in PHAT Program?

A recent study conducted to find the required training volume to maximize muscle
hypertrophy shows that 10+ sets per muscle per week seem to be an effective
starting training volume for those with hypertrophic-oriented resistance training
goals. This study also recommends increasing from 10 sets per muscle per week to
20 sets per muscle per week resistance training volumes over a period of several
months to maximize muscle hypertrophy and to eliminate the chance for
overtraining. It is also important to remember when certain training volume is
achieved, there will be no further muscle gains after that training volume. This may
explain why some studies reported similar muscle hypertrophy results independently
of the total number of sets of weight training.

Reference: Evidence-based guidelines for resistance training volume to maximize


muscle hypertrophy

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Fundamentals of PHAT Program


Power Days

The first two days of PHAT program is used for strength training. These days are
called power days. During these days you will train heavy compound exercises
aiming for 3-5 working sets of 3-5 reps. Core compound exercises like squat,
deadlift, military press, barbell row, bench press etc. are performed in these days.
Since the focus of power day training is in absolute strength gain the rest time
between sets are little bit longer than hypertrophy days. Here you can rest anywhere
from 3-6 minutes. The goal of power training is to lift maximum weight as possible,
so optimum rest is very essential. Make sure you are getting enough rest between
working sets to completely recover and be ready for your next big power movement.

Assistance exercises
You may also include few sets of assistance exercises to boost the effectiveness of
power day training. Assistance exercises are useful in targeting smaller muscle
groups like hamstrings calves, shoulders, and arms. Supplementary exercises would
include exercises like leg curl, leg extensions, glute ham raises, Bulgarian lunges,
standing calf rises and seated calf raises for legs and dumbbell fly, dumbbell
presses, barbell curls, dumbbell curls, lateral raises, front raises, skull crushers,
cable push down etc. for upper body.

Hypertrophy Days

After taking a rest, you will train to pack more muscle. Day 4, day 5 and day 6 are
hypertrophy days. During hypertrophy days training reps will be higher and resting
will be shorter between sets. Which is vital for a good pump. Hypertrophy style
training is very important to induce an adaptive stress on muscle 2-3 times each
week to boost overall muscle growth. Muscle hypertrophy training is also helpful in
isolating small muscle groups.

Speed Work

Start hypertrophy training by doing some explosive speed work (6-8 sets of 3 reps)
with 65-70% of your 3-5 rep max with the heavy power exercise that you used earlier
in power days. Speed work should be explosive so do not go too heavy on your
speed work. Make sure the weight that you chose is light so that you can move it
explosively. You can also use chains/band to impart explosive nature to speed work.

Traditional Bodybuilder Style Training

After completing explosive speed work, you can train like a traditional bodybuilder.
The goal of this training portion is in incorporating higher volume, so pick a weight
approximately 50-75% of your 3-5 rep max. Allowable rest interval in hypertrophy
training is shorter than that of power training. Here you can rest anywhere from 1-2
minutes between sets.

• After the speed work pick a weight 50-70% of your 3-5 rep max and do 3-4 sets of
12-20 reps.

Frequency
In a traditional 5 day split workout routine you will train each body part once per
week. But in the case of PHAT program there are 2 power days and 3 hypertrophy
days. Because of this style of training you will train each body part 2x/week.

A research study compared the muscle growth and strength gain of experienced
athletes training with three sets once per week vs. one set three times per week, for
12 weeks. The study results shows that muscle growth is 62% higher for the high
frequency group.

“High frequency training keeps anabolic effect throughout the week and which
increases muscle protein synthesis to help you build more muscle.”
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How To Use Train To Failure In PHAT Workout?

Make sure you are not using training to muscle failure in each sets. For the first 2-4
weeks never train to failure. This will help you to maintain your maximum power
output throughout the workout and to prevent neural fatigue and burnout. Once you
have adapted to PHAT workout program you can use training to muscle failure in the
last 1-2 sets of your power exercises and accessory exercises. Overuse of train to
failure will affect your strength and performance. So never train to failure
continuously more than 6 weeks.

“A research study demonstrated that, sets taken near, but not to failure are almost
effective as training to failure on inducing muscle growth. Also they do not burnout
your nervous system to the point where it reduces your strength and performance.”

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Deloading in PHAT Program

Deloading is a planned workout period for recovery. It is the reduction in training


intensity and volume for the better recovery, to prevent injury before another weight
training period of high intensity training with heavier loading and volume. A typical
deloading phase lasts for 1-3 weeks. Our recommendation is to plan a deload week
every 6 to 12 weeks.

• The deloading period in the PHAT program consist of training with 60-70% of your
normal weights for 1-3 weeks.

How to Incorporate Cardio into PHAT Routine?


In the beginning limit your cardio workout to 1x/week. After you get adapted to the
intensity and training volume of PHAT program you can incorporate more cardio into
workout regimen. But it will take some time. Once you get adapted to the PHAT
regimen you can incorporate 1-2 days of high intensity cardio/week. You can include
sled dragging, car pushes, sprint with a sprint parachute, elliptical intervals, HIIT
spinning workout, rowing etc. for cardio. If you find your muscles overly sore you can
use moderate slow intensity cardio to pump more blood to muscles or perhaps you
can skip cardio for that week.

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How to Incorporate Deadlifts into PHAT Program?

Dr Norton recommends putting deadlifts on lower power day. But the probability for
overtraining and burnout is higher if you do heavy conventional deadlift and squat
both on lower power day along with all the other higher intensity accessory
exercises.

He recommends to switch between the two exercises after a few weeks of training.
After few weeks of training replace heavy squats with heavy deadlifts.

• Switch between squats and deadlifts every 2-3 weeks on your lower power days. On
squat day, do RDLs or stiff leg deadlifts, on deadlift day, do hack squats or front
squats. It is better to avoid squats and deadlifts on same day.

Overtraining

PHAT workout program is very intense, training volume is high. So you will
have to push all your past experienced limits. For the first few weeks
muscle soreness will be higher, you may feel tired for whole day. It is totally
fine, your body needs time to adapt. After 4-6 weeks of training your body
will adapt to the increased frequency and volume. After that everything will
be fine and you will see the exponential rise in your strength. If you feel
yourself taking it too extreme, take a rest for a day or two. You know your
body so be smart. Remember an injury can set you back months to years.

PHAT Workout Routine

PHAT Workout Schedule

• Monday: Upper Power Day


• Tuesday: Lower Power Day
• Wednesday: Rest day
• Thursday: Back and Shoulder Hypertrophy
• Friday: Lower Body Hypertrophy
• Saturday: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy
• Sunday: Rest day
Note:

• First of all let me clear one thing PHAT program is not for beginners.
If you are a novice lifter stay away from this training program, you
can try 3 day beginner programs or upper/lower splits etc. Don’t
injure yourself.
• PHAT program is very dynamic it is not a strict program. Basically it
is a template so you can modify it. If you don’t like one exercise
replace it with another. If you find one exercise less effective, replace
it with more effective one. But follow the sets and rep scheme of
PHAT program. For example it is totally fine to replace bent over
rows with any other compound exercise, but you still need to be
doing a pulling movement in your hypertrophy workout.
• Abs workouts can be done on rest days

Warming Up for PHAT

Warm up very well before you begin workout. Warming up before you begin
workout can actually prevent injury. Also it prepares your muscle for
intense training by pumping more blood to your muscle. Warming up
loosen the stiffness of muscles and it makes them more flexible.

• Include warm up sets before each heavy movement. It is always


beneficial to warm up before every heavy exercises; get the blood
flowing and prevent injuries.

PHAT Workout Plan


Training Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Rest between sets:

• Power days: 3-6 minutes


• Muscle hypertrophy days: 1-2 minutes
Monday: Upper Power Day

No. Type Exercise Sets Reps

1 Pulling power movement Bent over or Pendlay rows 3 3-5

2 Assistance pulling movement Weighted Pull ups 2 6-10

3 Auxiliary pulling movement Rack chins 2 6-10

4 Pressing power movement Flat dumbbell presses 3 3-5

5 Assistance pressing movement Weighted dips 2 6-10

6 Assistance pressing movement Seated dumbbell shoulder presses 3 6-10

7 Auxiliary curling movement Cambered bar curls 3 6-10

8 Auxiliary extension movement Skull crushers 3 6-10

Tuesday: Lower Power Day

No. Type Exercise Sets Reps

1 Pressing Power Movement Squats 3 3-5

2 Assistance pressing movement Hack Squats 2 6-10

3 Assistance extension movement Leg extensions 2 6-10

4 Assistance pulling movement Stiff legged deadlifts 3 5-8

5 Assistance pulling/curling movement Glute ham raises or lying leg curls 2 6-10

6 Auxiliary calf movement Standing calf raise 3 6-10

7 Auxiliary calf movement Seated calf raise 2 6-10

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Back and Shoulder Hypertrophy

No. Type Exercise Sets Reps

1 Pulling power exercise speed work Bent over or Pendlay rows 6 3


(65-70%
of normal
3-5 rep max)

2 Hypertrophy pulling movement Rack chins 3 8-12


3 Hypertrophy pulling movement Seated cable row 3 8-12

4 Hypertrophy pulling movement Dumbbell rows or shrugs bracing 2 12-


upper body against an incline bench 15

5 Hypertrophy pulling movement Close grip pull downs 2 15-


20

6 Hypertrophy shoulder movement Seated dumbbell presses 3 8-12

7 Hypertrophy shoulder movement Upright rows 2 12-


15

8 Hypertrophy shoulder movement Side lateral raises with dumbbells 3 12-


or cables 20

Friday: Lower Body Hypertrophy

No Type Exercise Sets Reps

1 Lower Body Power Exercise speed Squats 6 3


work (65-70% of normal
3-5 rep max)

2 Hypertrophy pressing movement Hack squats 3 8-12

3 Hypertrophy pressing movement Leg presses 2 12-


15

4 Hypertrophy extension movement Leg extensions 3 15-


20

5 Hypertrophy pulling movement Romanian deadlifts 3 8-12

6 Hypertrophy curling movement Lying leg curls 2 12-


15

7 Hypertrophy curling movement Seated leg curls 2 15-


20

8 Hypertrophy calf movement Donkey calf raises 4 10-


15

9 Hypertrophy calf movement Seated calf raises 3 15-


20

Saturday: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy

No. Type Exercise Sets Reps


1 Pressing Power Exercise speed Flat dumbbell presses 6 3
work (65-70% of
normal
3-5 rep max)

2 Hypertrophy pressing movement Incline dumbbell presses 3 8-12

3 Hypertrophy pressing movement Hammer strength chest press 3 12-


15

4 Hypertrophy fly movement Incline cable flyes 2 15-


20

5 Hypertrophy curling exercise Cambered bar preacher curls 3 8-12

6 Hypertrophy curling exercise Dumbbell concentration curls 2 12-


15

7 Hypertrophy curling exercise Spider curls bracing 2 15-


upper body against 20
an incline bench

8 Hypertrophy extension exercise Seated tricep 3 8-12


extension
with cambered bar

9 Hypertrophy extension exercise Cable press downs with rope 2 12-


attachment 15

10 Hypertrophy extension exercise Cable kickbacks 2 15-


20

Sunday: Rest day

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