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

by Nader Qudimat
Updated November 2, 2021
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

The PHAT Routine

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.

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.


What Is PHAT?

PHAT Stands for power hypertrophy adaptive training. 

It's made by Dr. Layne Norton for athletes looking to gain muscle and strength. 

By focusing on both power and hypertrophy training days. 

It has 5 sessions per week, lasting for 12 weeks. comprised of 2 weeks, 1 week deload. 

Due to the volume and intensity, the deload is necessary.


Who Is PHAT For?

Muscle mass and strength, then try PHAT. 

But high volume, high intensity, and wide range of exercises makes it hard for beginners.

Beginners would make more gains using a linear progression program like candito linear program.

Deloading every third week is a waste of time for beginners but if you feel overtrained or run down, then you should deload. 

For aesthetic goals, this is a great program if you're comfortable with exercises.

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.

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 the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

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

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