Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (P.H.U.L.) Workout

Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (P.H.U.L.) Workout
Build both size and strength in this 4 day split based around basic compound movements. Get the best of both worlds with bodybuilding and powerlifting.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (PHUL) Workout

The PHUL workout is based around the basic principles of strength and size.  This 4 day program will allow you to maximize results on both fronts in an easy adaptable routine built off the following principles:

Frequency. Studies have shown muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to be elevated for up to 48 hours after training. That would make it ideal for you to hit each muscle more frequently than a typical once per week split. The PHUL program is designed to hit each muscle group twice within a week.

Compounds. The PHUL program focuses on the big compound movements for optimal progression. While isolation movements are included in this program as well, the main goal is to increase performance on the main lifts, as well as pack on pounds of muscle.

Power. This program uses 2 of it's 4 working days to focus on pure strength training. The key to getting stronger and bigger is to utilize progressive overload and time under tension. These 2 days will see that you'll be able to use more weight on your hypertrophy days.

Hypertrophy. In addition to 2 power days, your other 2 days on the PHUL program will focus on hypertrophy (bodybuilding) style training. This way, not only will you be seeing strength increases but you'll be building size as well.

PHUL Notes:

  1. Sets and Reps - When first beginning this program it is suggested to start with a lower amount of total volume until you become accustomed to the workload.
  2. Failure - Failure is a tool that should not be abused. All sets should be completed with at least 1 rep "left in the tank." Meaning you should struggle to complete your heavier sets, but not to the point where you're unable to get your goal reps.
  3. Exercise Selection - Main compounds should remain unchanged, however substitutions can be made for like exercises if desired.
  4. Abdominals - Ab work can be done at the end of training or on off days.
PHUL Schedule:
  • Day 1: Upper Power
  • Day 2: Lower Power
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Upper Hypertrophy
  • Day 5: Lower Hypertrophy
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off
Day 1
Upper Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Bench Press 3-4 3-5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3-4 6-10
Bent Over Row 3-4 3-5
Lat Pull Down 3-4 6-10
Overhead Press 2-3 5-8
Barbell Curl 2-3 6-10
Skullcrusher 2-3 6-10
Day 2
Lower Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3-4 3-5
Deadlift 3-4 3-5
Leg Press 3-5 10-15
Leg Curl 3-4 6-10
Calf Exercise 4 6-10
Day 4
Upper Hypertrophy
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Bench Press 3-4 8-12
Flat Bench Dumbbell Flye 3-4 8-12
Seated Cable Row 3-4 8-12
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3-4 8-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3-4 8-12
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl 3-4 8-12
Cable Tricep Extension 3-4 8-12
Day 5
Lower Hypertrophy
Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squat 3-4 8-12
Barbell Lunge 3-4 8-12
Leg Extension 3-4 10-15
Leg Curl 3-4 10-15
Seated Calf Raise 3-4 8-12
Calf Press 3-4 8-12
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About The Author
What initially started for Brandon as a way to improve sports performance has transformed into a life long passion of personal progression in strength and size.

397 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 12/05/2016 - 10:48
Daniel arocho

As far as the incline bench press goes, does it matter if its done on a smith machine.

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Posted Tue, 11/29/2016 - 10:48
ThailandXpress

I have a four day work schedule. Am I able to workout 4 days in a row without much negative impact? I will have 72 hours after my last hypertrophy day before getting to the power workouts again.

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 13:36
Dave

So on the first two days am I supposed to go heavier with the weight and the last two days go lighter?

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 13:41
JoshEngland

Hi Dave,

Yes. With the lower volume, you'll want to use heavier weight. For the hypertrophy days, you'll want to use a lighter weight, but still enough to where the rep count is challenging.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 11/04/2016 - 20:29
Chris

Is there a reason the 2 rest days in a row are after hypertrophy days, not after power days? Is there a benefit/reason for this?

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 17:01
JoshEngland

Hi Chris,

It's just how the program was written, you can certainly switch those days around if you prefer. Personally, I'd rather have the 2 recovery days prior to my strength days. That way I can tackle them with as much intensity as possible.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 10/01/2016 - 04:42
Morty

Hey guys, would this workout be okay if I'm trying to lose weight? I'm 5'5, 175 pounds.

Thanks.

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 16:59
JoshEngland

Hi Morty,

Absolutely! Especially if you pair it with good nutrition and enough sleep each night.

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Posted Fri, 09/30/2016 - 12:08
pijntje

Hi, if i work without spotter, how should i bench?
I see you do not want me to train to failure, if i can bench for example 3 times 100kg how much should i bench on power days? I mean, i have to stay in between 3/5 reps but i have to quit before my muscle had ended all power right? I never did that before. But maybe than it is more convient to bench alone aswell. Let me know! thnx.

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 16:55
JoshEngland

Hi Pijntje,

While having a spotter is ideal, if you have to bench without one it's important for you to use saftey pins in a rack. Check out the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Co6YCtRq6Q

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:32
Stenly

Hello,
Please advise about the diet plan during the period of this workout program. My personal goals are increasing of sizes. Also is it OK if finish every workout with 20-25 min cardio ( Incline walking) to improve fat burning?
Thanks !

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Posted Tue, 09/20/2016 - 08:21
Makis

Hello,

For how long should I keep doing this program?
Is it a 4-week program?

Thanks!

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Posted Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:18
JoshEngland

Makis,

This depends on a number of factors.

Are you still seeing results? Are you enjoying the program? etc. If the answers to those two questions are yes, then there is no need to put a minimum on the duration of this workout.

To really gauge whether you're seeing results, you should probably give the program 8 weeks before making a switch to a new program.

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Posted Fri, 09/16/2016 - 09:35
Yoris

Hai bro. I want to ask how if i do lower body first? Is it okay?
Thank you

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Posted Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:08
JoshEngland

Yoris,

Of course! Just make sure to keep enough days in between the lower body workouts to recover properly.

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Posted Mon, 08/29/2016 - 18:54
Samuel Brown

Recommended rest on both power and hypertrophy days? (Rest in between sets)

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Posted Fri, 09/02/2016 - 14:23
JoshEngland

Hi Samuel,

Strength and power training rest periods are best limited to between 2-3 minutes.

Hypertrophy training rest periods are best limited to between 45-90 seconds.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 08/17/2016 - 14:17
John

After completing the main lifts, should I superset the next lifts? If yes, how should I superset them?

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Posted Fri, 09/02/2016 - 14:33
JoshEngland

John,

You could superset the remaining lifts on your hypertrophy days. However, that is not how the PHUL program was written. I would avoid supersetting while running this program.

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Posted Mon, 08/01/2016 - 23:51
Andrew

Quick question: When people say to increase about 5 pounds per week, do they mean add 5 lb plates on each side, making it 10, or add 2.5 lbs on each side, making it an actual 5 lbs per week?

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Posted Wed, 08/03/2016 - 16:00
Luke Read

I would be documenting every set you do (including how many reps and the weight used) and letting that dictate when it's time to move up in weight. If you can do all the sets of that exercise and hit the max reps then I would put on more weight next time. If you can't hit the minimum reps for all sets the next time you workout then you've put on too much weight.

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Posted Sun, 08/07/2016 - 11:25
Jim

5 lbs total. As in, 2.5 lbs per side. So if you did 100lbs one week the next week would be 105lbs, not 110lbs.

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Posted Tue, 07/19/2016 - 17:52
Jose

For how long should I rest between sets?

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Posted Fri, 09/02/2016 - 14:34
JoshEngland

Hi Jose,

Strength and power training rest periods are best limited to between 2-3 minutes.

Hypertrophy training rest periods are best limited to between 45-90 seconds.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/15/2016 - 19:30
Dale

Hi this is probably a silly questioned but not sure how to plan this out for each week. I was just wondering do I increase the reps or sets or weight each week or all of the above or just the weight until I can't do anymore then change program or what

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Posted Wed, 08/03/2016 - 15:55
Luke Read

You always want to stay with in the rep range provided. you will know when it's time to up the weight if you are easily hitting the max reps. I would suggest keeping to any program for about 6 - 8 weeks, then look at moving on. Theres no reason not to come back to this program after using another program for 6-8 weeks. Depends on your results and how much you enjoy it

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Posted Tue, 07/12/2016 - 22:17
Albert

When do I know when to add weights to the PHUL Workout? Should I add 5 lbs to each exercise like StrongLifts 5X5? How long should I rest between each sets? Thank you

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Posted Sun, 07/10/2016 - 08:45
Robert

What Is the optimal rest time between sets and exercises for strenght days and Hypertrophy days ?

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Posted Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:54
Con

started this a few weeks ago and wasn't sure on how results would be, as I was used to 3-4 days upper body, with 1 day lower.. Results great so far. Have added to bench, squat, deadlift and can perform a lot more pull ups than when I started! Will keep on this for the next 3 months and re assess. Have also noticed a decrease in stomach fat (I changed my diet also, but the added strength training must be helping)

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Posted Sun, 06/26/2016 - 12:17
Vitor

I would like an explanation, in the power workout, why there are series with 10-15 reps, such as the leg press. This would not be a resistance training? Or even 6-10, they would not fit in hypertrophy? Sorry for English.

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Posted Wed, 06/01/2016 - 10:35
DVongola

Is there a significant difference between the incline dumbell and bench press? Same thing about the regular and the front squat?

Is there a guideline of how much weight to increase by? I came from GSLP which had a set weight increase and AMRAP which helped for the future if you failed the last set.

Lastly why are there range of reps and sets? Like I have a choice of doing 3 or 4 sets of an exercise I could do 8 to 12 reps? Or is it that every week I should increase the number of set/reps?

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Posted Mon, 05/16/2016 - 01:39
Andy

Would doing supersets for chest/back be more beneficial?

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Posted Thu, 05/26/2016 - 05:01
pete

In the sense of doing first chest exercise than first back and so on? IMO no problem at all. You even have a greater pause/"recovery" between exercises, which gives you a bit more strength for the following second exercise.
But if you mean in like one set chest one set back, not a big fan. First off your sets will feel like hell because in your rest periode between sets you are doing another exercise instead of resting. Second of all you block two pieces of equipment, as a gym owner not a big fan:P

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Posted Sat, 05/07/2016 - 17:53
JOE

What about Included weights on sets plz؟

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Posted Sat, 05/14/2016 - 18:32
Guy

That will depend individually on what you can lift within those rep ranges, i myself have been doing this exact split for quite some time and love it, best routine ive come across

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Posted Mon, 05/16/2016 - 16:21
Harrison

What is "quite some time"? 3 months? 6 months?

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Posted Tue, 05/17/2016 - 16:09
Guy

Ive been running it for about 4 months and havent looked back the progression in the routine is amazing you wont regret it...

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Posted Sat, 04/16/2016 - 09:16
Lass

I've heard so many good things about PHUL and I'd love to transition over from coolcicada's PPL, but damn as an already boyish-looking chick, I'm honestly afraid to start it.

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Posted Thu, 04/14/2016 - 13:38
Ajitesh Sharma

One more question. Can i replace lat pulldowns with Pullups and Incline Bench With dips on power days???
Will it still be good enough. Or should i stick to routine without alteration

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Posted Tue, 04/19/2016 - 09:22
Will

Swapping Lat pull-downs with pull-ups if possible work your way up to weighted pull-ups is fine. I wouldn't recommend swapping incline press for dips because dips like decline bench focus on the lower chest... Maybe add some Dips into your routine.

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Posted Sat, 05/14/2016 - 18:37
Guy

ive been doing this exact routine, and ive changed it up to get more bang for my buck so i did switch pulldowns for widegrip pullups because they are more of a mass building movement and another example is keeping skullcrushers on power days or straight bar cable push downs and cable extensions or single arm ones on hypertrophy days because they are more of a hyper movement, just make sure you keep track of what your doing within you routine so you know where you stand each sesh with your training, hope this was

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Posted Fri, 04/01/2016 - 00:42
Kyle

I was wondering about the weight progression in this workout - I'm very used to linear progression programs like SS or SL5x5 and they require you to progress by at least 5 lbs every day. How would it work for this? Increase the compound lifts every 3-4 weeks?

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Posted Thu, 03/31/2016 - 11:51
Ajitesh Sharma

Mike,
Just one question..Will dead lifting and squating heavy on same day cause problem...
Because both seem to be very taxing exercises and will target similar muscle group

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Posted Thu, 03/31/2016 - 13:48
MikeWines

Ajitesh,
People do chest and triceps or back and biceps all the time without batting an eyelash. Those work the same muscle groups and don't cause an excessive amount of problems.

Squats and deadlifts are more neurologically taxing but you can do them together if you're smart with your programming and you understand how to use autoregulation effectively.

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Posted Thu, 03/31/2016 - 11:39
Orreboi

Hey! I've Modified this program a bit for my own goals. I've added 5 sets of rear delt flyes to my UpperPower day aswell as changed the reps of the back and arm exersises to a hypertrophy rep range since i don't really see the point in doing below 8 reps on these. On UpperHyper day i've added seated dumbell press for 3 sets. Should i be fine recovering from this or am i over doing it since i've added few extra sets for my delts, also i might add 2-3 sets of a bicep/tricep(weakpoint) superset finisher to one of my hyperdays. Lower days will stay pretty much the same in terms of volume. Thoughts?

Sorry if double post, can't see if my previous post made it.

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Posted Thu, 03/31/2016 - 11:36
Orreboi

Hey! I've Modified this program a bit for my own goals. I've added 5 sets of rear delt flyes to my UpperPower day aswell as changed the reps of the back and arm exersises to a hypertrophy rep range since i don't really see the point in doing below 8 reps on these. On UpperHyper day i've added seated dumbell press for 3 sets. Should i be fine recovering from this or am i over doing it since i've added few extra sets for my delts, also i might add 2-3 sets of a bicep/tricep(weakpoint) superset finisher to one of my hyperdays. Lower days will stay pretty much the same in terms of volume. Thoughts?

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Posted Sat, 03/26/2016 - 17:17
Martijn

This looks like a great workout, I'm going to try this one. Because of back issues (scoliosis), deadlifting, front squats and for example Bent Over Row can cause some problems. Can I replace this exercises with other? Thanks for any advice!

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Posted Mon, 03/28/2016 - 11:10
MikeWines

Martjin,
Of course. If something causes pain or aggravates a pre-existing condition, then by all means, drop it or replace it.

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Posted Fri, 03/25/2016 - 08:53
Denise

Is this program good while im cutting?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 03/25/2016 - 10:54
MikeWines

Denise,
Any program can be good for cutting, it depends on a huge number of factors - MRV (maximal recoverable volume), stress levels, lifestyle factors, hormonal status, etc.