PHAT Workout Program: Powerbuilding Routine Made For Strength & Aesthetics (With Spreadsheet)

by Nader Qudimat
Updated June 20, 2023
Experience Level
Intermediate, advanced
Linear periodization
4 Weeks
Hybrid program for strength and bodybuilding
Increases strength while enhancing aesthetics

Bottom Line

PHAT stands for Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training, it's a 5-day power-building program for athletes for athlete and muscular development.

Made by Dr. Layne Norton, PHAT uses both hypertrophy and power work, making it for bodybuilders who want to gain size and who want to gain strength, looking more aesthetic without being weak.

Each PHAT session is around a major compound movement: squat, bench press, deadlift, DB press. 5 sessions per week: 2 power sessions, 3 hypertrophy sessions.

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet.

For how to save spreadsheet instructions on mobile and desktop.

PHAT is one of our favorite programs for both muscle and strength building. 

Hence why it's often referred as “powerbuilding” as it has a hybrid of both.

While it isn't the most demanding program, we recommend only intermediate to advanced trainees use this since it is a bit complex.  

Another powerbuilding program that you can consider is Kizen

PHAT Program (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training)

The PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training) program is a versatile workout routine designed by Dr. Layne Norton that combines the benefits of powerlifting and bodybuilding. It targets each muscle group twice a week with both power and hypertrophy training, promoting improvements in both strength and mass. Ideal for intermediate to advanced lifters, the PHAT program requires proper nutrition, rest, and progression to prevent overtraining and maximize results.

The PHAT Routine

Spreadsheet Access (Toggle Box)

NOTE: Please make a copy by clicking File > Make  (requesting edit access is incorrect). For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here. 


This is how the routine looks like:

Day 1: Upperbody power training
Day 2: Lower body power training
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Back and shoulders hypertrophy training
Day 5: Lower body hypertrophy training
Day 6: Chest and arms hypertrophy training
Day 7: Rest

Download the spreadsheet from here and make a copy to save it to your account and make edits. 

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet.

For how to save spreadsheet instructions on mobile, click here, or desktop, here. 

The PHAT Program Overview

In the PHAT program, each power day contains 3 sets of 3-5 reps, 70-80% of 1rep max.

Each hypertrophy day contains the primary movement of the power day.

For example, squats are used for both hypertrophy and power day.

But the weight will be lower, 70% for hypertrophy, 6 sets of 3.

Speed movements means the weight be light, and rest periods should be all 1-2 minutes. 

Stop at 1-2 reps before failure or you will feel overtrained.

For hypertrophy workouts, you'll notice “speed sets”. 

These should be explosive to engage fast twitch muscle to maximize all around muscular development. 

These sets will be 60-70% of the weight used on power day. 

So if you used 160 for rowing on your power day, then you'll lift around 100lbs for hypertrophy.

For power days, you'll have 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. 

Avoid doing two compound lifts for power sets in the same workout, for example back squats and front squats. 

The excel sheet marks power and hypertrophy sets. 

Here's some important notes to keep in mind to succeed with PHAT:

  • The rest periods are recommended to be between 1-2 minutes, but for power sets, you can take 3-5 minutes to ensure recovery. 
  • Power days should be demanding but stop short 2-3 reps of failure.
  • Accessory volume is included but weights should be light as the body adjusts. 
  • Deloading every 6-12 weeks, using 1-3 weeks to lift 60-70% of normal weight.
  • Skipping a auxiliary exercise for the first few weeks as your body gets used to the higher volume and demand is a good idea to allow for maximum recovery and decreasing the chance of injury.

Some programs that can be used before PHAT are Madcow 5×5, Wendler 531 Workout or nSuns 531.

Understanding The PHAT Program

So, what exactly is the PHAT program?

Well, it's a workout routine that aims to maximize both strength and muscle mass.

The underlying philosophy of PHAT is to combine the benefits of powerlifting and bodybuilding.

This means integrating the development of maximal strength in the 3 major barbell lifts of powerlifting with the hypertrophy principles of bodybuilding.

The result?

A workout split that promotes improvements in strength and mass that will benefit a wide range of users.

The PHAT program is structured into 5 training days.

Day 1 and 2 are designated as power days for the upper and lower body respectively.

The focus here should be on large compound lifts, like front squats and deadlifts for lower body and barbell presses and weighted pull-ups for upper body.

These exercises are performed in a smaller rep range for maximum weight.

This is then followed by 3 days of exercises in lighter weights for higher volume to promote optimal hypertrophy.

These can also be split into different body areas such as chest, back, and lower body days.

The end goal of the PHAT routine is for each muscle group to be exposed to both power and hypertrophy training every week.

This targets each muscle group a total of 2 times weekly.

Who is the PHAT Program For?

Now, you might be wondering, "Is the PHAT program right for me?"

Well, the PHAT routine is well-suited for a wide range of weightlifters.

Whether you're a bodybuilder looking to increase your strength or a powerlifter wanting to build more muscle mass, the PHAT program has something to offer.

By harnessing the benefits of both traditions, lifters from both camps can benefit from the use of the PHAT workout.

However, it's important to note that PHAT is a demanding workout regimen.

So, if you're only in the very beginnings of your workout journey, you might want to start with a more accessible program.

Once you've built up a solid foundation, you can then transition to the PHAT program.

Getting Started with PHAT

Ready to get started with the PHAT program?


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to implement the PHAT program effectively.

First, it's crucial to select the right weights for your exercises.

Remember, the goal here is to maximize both strength and muscle mass.

So, you want to choose weights that are challenging but manageable.

This means weights that you can lift with proper form for the prescribed number of reps.

Speaking of form, it's absolutely essential to maintain proper form throughout your exercises.

This not only ensures that you're effectively targeting the right muscles but also minimizes your risk of injury.

So, take the time to learn and practice the correct form for each exercise before you start adding heavy weights.

And remember, it's always better to lift lighter weights with proper form than to lift heavy weights with poor form.

Maximizing Your PHAT Results

Now that you're all set with your PHAT routine, let's talk about how to maximize your results.

First and foremost, listen to your body.

The PHAT program is intense, and it's crucial to prevent overtraining and burnout.

So, if you're feeling excessively tired or if your performance is declining, it might be a sign that you need to take a break.

Remember, rest is just as important as your workouts for muscle recovery and growth.

Next, let's talk about lifestyle considerations to support your PHAT program.

Proper nutrition is key to fueling your workouts and promoting muscle recovery and growth.

So, make sure you're eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Sleep is another crucial factor for recovery.

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to give your body the rest it needs to recover and grow.

Finally, let's talk about progression.

As you get stronger and more comfortable with the PHAT program, it's important to gradually increase your load.

This ensures that you continue to challenge your muscles and promote growth.

However, remember to increase your load gradually and maintain proper form.

Warm Up

For warm up, perform cardio until you feel warm or sweat (usually 7-10 minutes)

Then move into light exercises that are like your workout (like bench press with barbell or squatting without any weight)

Cool down and stretching:

  • Take 5 minutes to cool with cardio.

Stretching after a workout can help with recovery, optimizing through diet and sleep can ensure further recovery.

Too Much Volume / I Feel Burned Out

It's a demanding program.

If you still feel burned out with 2 weeks on, and 1 week deloading, but if that doesn't then try a different program like phul, lyle's GBR.

This may be too demanding for cutting. Less demanding than Nsuns.

Definitely not made for beginners.

Signs of Burnout?

Most injuries are preventable and most can be prevented by paying attention to the signs that your body gives you.

Here are some overtraining signs to look out for:

  • Pain at joints like knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.
  • Soreness at distal portion of muscle.
  • Like feeling sore near joints.
  • Lack of proper sleep
  • Suddenly feeling sick or a cold coming on- immune system is compromised.
  • Loss of libido
  • Depression

If you ignore these signs and keep exercising, you will eventually hit a plateau and will increase chance of injury.

Ways To Deload

Deloading is important because then you can let your body recover and at the same time you can still workout. 

Layne Norton recommends at least 1 week for deloading for every 4 weeks of using the PHAT program, or 2-3 weeks for every 8-12 weeks. 

Here's a few ways to deload:

  • Decrease volume (reps, sets)
  • Reduce intensity (less weight, more rest)
  • Change up your exercises

You will feel stronger when you come back to this program.

It's smarter to take a break when you don't feel like you need one in order to prevent and reduce injuries.

Take a week to deload after 3-4 weeks of training, but the longer you train, the more the deloading you need (2-3 weeks).


PHUL has strength and size days. 2 power days, 2 hypertrophy days.

The only difference is that PHUL has less volume, less total reps and sets.

In fact, PHAT has twice the volume for reps.

Both PHAT and PHUL cover the same muscles. 

PHUL is made by a YouTube celebrity: Mr Brandon Campbell.

Dr Layne Norton has educational qualifications, while Brandon seems to base his program on experience.

Differences between PHAT and PHUL

PHAT and PHUL are not made for beginners, can be overwhelming for beginners.

You'll quit within a month because it's overwhelming and demanding.

Beginners should focus on building strength with a 3 day per week split like Starting Strength.

PHAT and PHUL are both effective, but PHUL is more geared towards strength training. 

If you want to build a complete physique for the aesthetics, then go for PHAT. 

PHUL is great if you don't have time to lift 5 times week. 

It's also a great way to start into the style training of PHAT before actually getting into it.

The point is:

Stick to a program you can do consistently, otherwise you'll fail to find a program that works for you. 

You need to make it work by committing to a number of days per week. 

PHAT and PHUL have the same training style.

Variations of PHAT

No official ones from Dr. Layne Norton, but if you want to make some variation, you can. 

However you should keep in mind that the exercises placed here are placed to prevent imbalances.

If you make variations, keep this mind and look out for anything that can be undertrained, over trained, or missing.

Should I use dumbbells or barbells?

You can use either. 

Dumbbells will ensure equal distribution and prevent imbalances while being healthier for the shoulders.

If you have previous history of shoulders injuries, than avoid barbell bench press.

Otherwise you can use DB on hypertrophy days, and barbell on strength days to maximize overall development.


How should I warm up for a PHAT workout?

A good warm-up for a PHAT workout should include both general and specific components.

Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio to raise your body temperature and get your blood flowing.

Then, do some dynamic stretches and mobility exercises that target the muscles you'll be working on during your workout.

Finally, do a few warm-up sets of your first exercise with lighter weights.

How can I prevent overtraining on PHAT?

The key to preventing overtraining on PHAT is to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs.

This includes taking rest days, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet.

Also, remember to start with manageable weights and increase your load gradually.

When should I do cardio on PHAT?

Cardio can be done on your rest days or after your workouts.

Just remember that the main focus of the PHAT program is strength and hypertrophy, so don't let your cardio sessions interfere with your recovery or performance on your lifting days.

How should I eat on PHAT?

To support your workouts and promote muscle growth and recovery, eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Also, ensure you're eating enough calories to support your increased activity level.

What kind of results can I expect from the PHAT program?

The PHAT program is designed to improve both strength and muscle mass. With consistent training, proper nutrition, and adequate rest, you can expect to see significant improvements in these areas over time.

Can beginners do the PHAT program?

While the PHAT program can be modified for beginners, it's generally recommended for intermediate to advanced lifters due to its high volume and intensity.

How long does each PHAT workout take?

Each PHAT workout can take between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the individual's speed and rest periods.

Can I do the PHAT program at home?

The PHAT program involves a variety of exercises, many of which require gym equipment. However, with some creativity and modification, it can be adapted for home workouts.

Can I do the PHAT program while cutting?

Yes, you can do the PHAT program while cutting. However, you may need to adjust the volume and intensity to match your reduced caloric intake.

How much rest should I take between sets in the PHAT program?

For power days, rest periods can be 2-3 minutes to allow for full recovery. For hypertrophy days, rest periods can be shorter, around 1-2 minutes.

Can I substitute exercises in the PHAT program?

Yes, exercises can be substituted in the PHAT program as long as they target the same muscle group and adhere to the power/hypertrophy principle of the day.

How should I progress in the PHAT program?

Progression in the PHAT program can be achieved by gradually increasing the weight you lift, increasing the number of reps or sets, or decreasing your rest time between sets.

What should I do if I miss a workout in the PHAT program?

If you miss a workout in the PHAT program, simply continue with the program where you left off. Do not try to "make up" for the missed workout by doubling up on your exercises the next day.

Can women do the PHAT program?

Absolutely! The PHAT program is suitable for both men and women. The principles of progressive overload, hypertrophy, and strength training apply to everyone, regardless of gender.

Bottom Line: Is PHAT The Right Program For Me?

Dr. Layne Norton designed this program for intermediate to advanced trainee's.

If you want to not only look strong, but to be strong, then this is for you.

But if you don't have time for 5 workouts per week, or if you're a beginner, then you should look at something else with either less frequency or simpler workouts (or both).

Use this page for help on selecting a program for bodybuilding.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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