PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training): The Ultimate Guide

leg curl

Photo credit: Zoe-lee

As far as our training is concerned, we all have different goals and targets in mind because we all want different things in life.

Some of us simply want to look a little healthier, some of us want to be absolutely shredded and in the best shape of our lives, some of us want to be huge mass monsters, whilst others don’t care how we look as long as our bodies are functional and assist us in various ways.

If you walk into a gym, for example, you’ll see people training in different ways, and if you and they are regulars, you’ll notice that their training is consistently different to your own methods.

For example, you’ll probably see huge bodybuilders lifting heavy weights, performing a lot of compound lifts and screaming the gym down as they do so.

If you were to walk into the cardio section, however, you’d see guys running on the treadmill, with much leaner physiques.

They train in this way because it works for them and it allows them to meet their goals much quicker.

One form of training, however, that is taking the health and fitness world by storm, is one known as PHAT training, and it is PHAT Workout which we’ll be looking at in great detail right now.

What is PHAT Training?

PHAT training stands for Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training and it was created by bodybuilder and powerlifter Layne Norton, who is well respected in the bodybuilding, health, and fitness community.

To be precise, it is actually Doctor Layne Norton, but we digress, so let’s learn more about his program. PHAT training incorporates various elements of not only bodybuilding workout, but also Powerlifting training as well, so it is almost like a two in one program.

The basic premise behind PHAT training is that you not only perform various exercises in low rep ranges and heavy weights, but that you also perform exercises in high rep ranges with lighter weights, so you’re constantly mixing things up.

What’s more, you don’t change this every few weeks, I.E low reps for 1 – 3 weeks, high reps for another 3 weeks, you mix things up in the same week, so one session will be a low rep session, whilst the next will be a high rep session.

Users accomplish this by dividing their training days into: ‘hypertrophy days’ and ‘power days’, which ensures that each muscle group gets trained not once, but twice each week.

Some people may think this may be extreme, especially if you’re lifting heavy on power days, and may be concerned about overtraining, but it is a tried and tested training principle that works, and works incredibly well.

To begin with, it will be tough, especially if you’ve been following a traditional 5-day split and working one body part per week.

After a few weeks, however, the body will adapt and will begin responding extremely favorably, allowing you to optimize your muscle growth and definition in the process.

What Is a Typical PHAT Training Routine?

Now that we know the basic principles behind PHAT training, let’s now take a look at what a typical training routine looks like.

As mentioned, PHAT Workout is split into two categories: Power days, and hypertrophy days:

Power Days

During days one and two of your programs, these will be your heavy power days.

You will perform heavy compound exercises aiming for 3 – 5 working sets, of 3 – 5 repetitions.

Typical exercises include: squats, bench presses, deadlifts, military presses, bent over rows etc.

Here you’re looking to increase strength, so you will take an extended rest period between sets, which can be anything from 3 – 5 minutes.

Remember, your objective is to lift as heavy a weight as possible, so optimal rest is essential.

Hypertrophy Days

Days 4 and 5 are hypertrophy days, which follow a day’s rest.

Now you will be lifting like a bodybuilder with higher reps and much shorter periods of rest between working sets.

This increase in intensity will get your heart rate up and should give you a much greater post-workout pump.

Before you begin the workouts, however, you should ideally begin by performing 6 – 8 sets of the compound exercises which you performed on your power days, but for 3 quick repetitions per set.

So, if you trained chest on power days, you will begin with the flat bench press of around 65 – 70% of your 3 – 5 repetition max you performed previously.

After the “speed round” you can then focus on muscle hypertrophy.

Your exercises will be around 12 – 20 reps of 3 – 4 sets, with just 1 – 2 minutes of rest in between sets.

The Layne Norton PHAT Workout

Day 1 – Power – upper body

Bent-Over Rows (3 sets of 3-5 reps) – Pulling power Movement
Weighted Pull Ups (4 sets of 6-10 reps) – Assistance Movement
Flat Dumbbell presses (3sets of  3-5 reps) – Power movement
Weighted Dips (2sets of 6-10 reps) – Assistance Movement
Seated Dumbbell shoulder presses (3sets of 6-10 reps) – Assistance Movement
Cambered Bar curls (3sets of 6-10 reps) – Auxiliary Movement
Skull Crushers (3sets of 6-10 reps) – Auxiliary Extension Movement

Day 2 – Power – lower body

Squats (3 sets of 3-5 reps) – Pressing Power Movement
Leg Presses (2 sets of 6-10reps) – Assistance Movement
Leg Extensions (2 sets of 6-10reps) – Assistance Movement
Stiff Legged Deadlifts (3 sets of 5-8reps) – Assistance Movement
Lying Leg Curls (2 sets of 6-10 reps) – Assistance Curling/Pulling Movement
Standing Calf Raise (3 sets Of 6-10 reps) – Auxiliary Movement
Seated Calf Raise (2 sets of 6-10 reps) – Auxiliary Movement

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Hypertrophy – Back and shoulders

Bent Over Rows (4 sets of 8-12 reps) – Pulling Power Exercise
Weighted Pull Ups (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Seated Cable Row (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Dumbbell Rows (2 sets of 12-15 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Close Grip Pull Downs (2 sets of 15-20 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Seated Dumbbell Presses (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Uprights Rows (2 sets of 12-15 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Side Lateral raises with dumbbells (3 sets of 12-20reps) – Hypertrophy movement

Day 5 – Hypertrophy – Lower body

Squats Exercises (4 sets of 8-12 reps) – Lower body power exercise
Lunges (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Leg presses (2 sets of 12-15 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Leg Extensions (3 sets of  15-20 reps) –  Hypertrophy movement
Stiff legged deadlifts (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Lying leg curls (2 sets of 12-15 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Seated Leg curls (2 sets of 15-20 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Standing Calf raises (4 sets of 10- 15 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Seated Calf Raises (3 sets of 15-20 reps)- Hypertrophy movement

Day 6 – Hypertrophy – Chest and arms

Flat Dumbbell presses (4 sets of 8-12 reps) – Power Exercise
Incline Dumbbell presses (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Hammer Strength chest press (3 sets of 12-15 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Incline Dumbbell Flies (2 sets of 15-20 reps) – Hypertrophy movement
Cambered Bar Preacher Curls (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy exercise
Dumbbell concentration Curls (2 sets of 12-15 reps) – Hypertrophy exercise
Spider Curls (2 sets of 15-20 reps) – Hypertrophy exercise
Seated Triceps Extensions (3 sets of 8-12 reps) – Hypertrophy exercise
Cable Press Downs with rope(2sets of 12-15reps) – Hypertrophy exercise
Cable Kickbacks (2 sets of 15-20 reps) – Hypertrophy exercise

Day 7 – Rest

PHAT Training Program Overview:

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