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.

488 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:37
Kunal

Hi..Looks like a fantastic program.
Just a quick question
I have been working out in and out for 3 years or so..And have gained decent mass and strength.
It has been a while around 6-7 months I have not been to gym because of certain reasons . Now I have started going from last 7 days. And have been doing mixed exercises. Just wanted to know if I start doing this program what weight range should I use and how should I increase and decrease the weight. I'm 5'9 around 65kgs and eat 3500 calories roughly during the day.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:53
JoshEngland

Hi Kunal,

For hypertrophy days, you'll want to use ~75-85% of your 1RM. For strength or power days you'll want to use ~85-100% of your 1RM.

Everyone has different levels of strength, so it's impossible to prescribed an exact weight amount. If you don't know your 1RM, pick a weight you know you can perform the prescribed rep ranges with. If it's too easy, increase the weight you're using, if it's too hard, decrease it.

Aim to increase the weight you use consistently over time. A good goal to shoot for is between 1-5lbs increase in weight used per week,

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 03/21/2017 - 13:37
Kunal

thanks brother :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/27/2017 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Nathan,

The key to fat loss is being in a caloric deficit. Intermittent Fasting can help, but it's not the end all be all of the dieting world. Calorie consumption is.

Find out how many calories you need here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Then subtract between 250-500 calories from that total and aim to eat that number of calories each day.

You should be fine doing this workout. While you can train efficiently in less than an hour, there's no harm in training for longer than an hour as long as you're fueling your body properly, resting/sleeping at night, and recovering on off days.

I've provided our fat loss expert guide and intermittent fasting guides down below. They should be helpful resources for you based on what you've stated to be your goals.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/diet-plans/intermittent-fasting-diet

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 03/23/2017 - 10:57
Orly

You guys are great. Thanks!!

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Posted Sat, 03/25/2017 - 08:38
Nathan

Hi.

I'm 5.6 tall and wheght 132 ib. My daily calory intake 2300. I am on intermittent fasting diet program. I fast for 16 hours and then only two meals per day containing the entire 2300 calories. I take the 1st meal then after 2 hours i go to the gym then i take my 2nd meal with my protein shake right after the workout. I do upper/lower split. I drink 4 liters of water a day. Do you think I am on ther right tracks. My goal is lower my body fat to 12% and increase my muscle mass in order to show my six packs. I am really considering following this program but it takes more than 1 hour to finish and i heard that training for more than 1 hour is very bad. Is it okay to skip abs and arm and do them on the 3rd day/offday. Please help me with this.

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Posted Tue, 03/21/2017 - 19:48
Orly

Can this be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday instead of 4 days a week? Example work AB work outs..ABA or BAB.?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/22/2017 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi Orly,

Yes, you're more than welcome to set it up this way. Or you could look into a 3 day split designed for similar goals. Check out the one below:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/total-package-workout

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:41
Sinh

Hello, I'm 5.77 feet 157 lbs
I am going to try this program from Tomorrow. I will eat 2300calo ( decifit 450 from my Tdee ) to Gain muscle and Lose my bodyfat. I sucessed Gain muscle and lose bodyfat from another hypertrophy program but it too slow ( Gain 4kg muscle and lose 3% bodyfat in 9 months, my bodyfat now is 15.7% )
Can you give me some advice please, Thank you and Sorry for my bad English.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 15:05
JoshEngland

Hi Sinh,

Looks like you're doing all the right things to accomplish your goal of losing bodyfat.

Make sure to focus on getting enough sleep and protein while in a calorie deficit. Other than that, keep striving forward.

Body recompisition is a long-term goal, it takes time. Keep at it and you'll accomplish your goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 15:11
Sinh

one more sir. how many protein is good in 2300 calo?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 15:38
JoshEngland

Hi Sinh,

Most recommend 1-1.2g of protein per lb of bodyweight per day while in a caloric deficit. Check out this link to building a fat loss meal plan:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/fat-loss-meal-plan

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Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 15:41
Sinh

Thank you very much!

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Posted Fri, 03/17/2017 - 23:03
Robert F.

Looks like a great program! I've been seriously lifting for upwards of 2 yrs. and recently hurt my lower back, so have backed off of squatting and deadlifting altogether for the time being and have replaced those lifts with ones that don't put too much stress on my back (split squats, etc..). Without doing those major lifts, do you feel like this would still be an appropriate split where I can make gains? Much appreciated and thanks in advance for your response!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:48
JoshEngland

Hi Robert,

Sure it's possible to make gains without those lifts, I know you probably don't want to hear this, but I'd recommend working with a professional in person to find alternatives that help you meet your goals, but also don't put you at risk for further injury.

Lower back injuries are usually caused by (as well as promote) muscle imbalances and faulty movements patterns. A professional can help you by recognizing these and aiming to correct them.

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Posted Thu, 03/16/2017 - 17:30
David

Hi, I like the look of this workout but is there anything I can swap for more shoulder exercises or should I add them on at the end? I feel my shoulders are lagging more than chest. Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 03/17/2017 - 09:19
JoshEngland

Hi David,

You're more than welcome to swap out a chest exercise for a shoulder exercise, or add additional shoulder exercises to this program if you feel that you need to and it wont affect your recovery.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 03/15/2017 - 03:20
Jay

Total "bro" question, but would it be okay to add extra arm work on upper body days? I would like to add one extra exercise for both triceps and biceps with similar sets/reps as prescribed for that day, but I am more concerned with my biceps if I had to choose...what are your thoughts on this extra volume? If these additions are acceptable, what exercises would you add to get arms more defined and ready for summer?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/15/2017 - 09:13
JoshEngland

Hi Jay,

Sure, you can do that if you like, however it's not necessary. You should see a decent amount of growth with the volume listed in this workout. The arms are smaller muscle groups and they get worked a lot indirectly. People think they need to work them out similarly to larger muscle groups to experience growth, but that's not the case.

I've provided links to our tricep exercises and bicep exercises databases down below. If you choose to add in extra arm work, these are good resources for ideas on what to add:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/biceps

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/triceps

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 03/14/2017 - 16:02
Josh

Looks and seems like a decent plan. but is there any way to incorporate cardio?

can i do 15 minutes after every weight training day and 45 minutes on rest days? or would that be overkill?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/14/2017 - 16:37
JoshEngland

Hi Josh,

Depends on the form of cardio :)

Regardless of the program, I always include 45-60 min recovery walks on off days as my cardio.

I'd say if you want to do 10-15 mins of HIIT on training days and 45-60 min of LISS on off days, you'll be fine. Give it a shot and see how it feels. If you think it's beginning to effect your performance and recovery, nix it.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 03/14/2017 - 13:55
JV

I'm planning on doing this workout on the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of my week. However, I play basketball for 2 hours on Wednesdays, so should I perhaps rest on Thursday and then continue the workout on Friday and Saturday, then rest on Sunday and back to the first workout day on Monday?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/14/2017 - 14:13
JoshEngland

Hi JV,

That would be a good idea so you can recover properly from your basketball session (which I'm assuming is strenuous not just a shoot around) before hitting another weight lifting session. You want to make sure you're fresh going into your weight lifting days, so you can increase your numbers and perform better in the weight room.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 03/11/2017 - 12:09
Jr

Do i have to go in the order they give? For instance, could i bench, bent over row, then overhead press, then do incline DB, lat pulldowns, etc? That way i can get the main lifts for those body parts before doing their assistance lifts

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/13/2017 - 09:31
JoshEngland

Hi JR,

Sure you could perform them in this order.

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Posted Fri, 03/10/2017 - 15:42
Sir

In order to progress to a higher weight do you need to hit the max number of sets and reps for each exercise?

I.e. should you hit 4 sets of 5 reps before you increase the weight? Or as long as you hit minimum number of sets and reps can you progress in weight?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 03/10/2017 - 15:46
JoshEngland

Hi Sir,

That's how I would personally progress. Once you hit all the reps and sets, increase the weight by 5lbs and start over again until you can hit all the reps and sets with that weight.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 03/05/2017 - 19:38
John

On the Hypertrophy day is it okay to swap out the one arm dumbell row and swap it with chin ups, at the same time can i also add dumbell shoulder press, and Dumbell bench press to this day?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi John,

Sure, you could make that swap and add in chins.

As for adding the other lifts, you can add them in, although I personally wouldn't increase the volume in this workout. I'd focus more on increasing the weight being used in the program overtime. But, everyone is different. If you feel like you can add the volume while still recovering properly and see gains, then by all means go for it.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:03
David

I am 5,11, 151 pounds, and eat around 3400 calories per day, and follow my macros pretty decently. Starting lifting for about 8 months, at 138 pounds, was really skinny couldnt even lift the standard Olympic bar at first, but 12 lbs later
Bench is at 115 lb
Overhead press is at 85 lb
Rows at 90, seems to be progressing well

got pretty strong from where i started, but now starting to platue
In terms of program i made the phul program a 5x5 on the big heavy compounds only on the power days, but....i ran into a problem here. I am starting to platue in the upper power days, i cant even maintain a 5x5 when i go up in weight, even with a 2.5lb increase.
So i figured out a method, increase the weight by 5 lb or w.e, and do 5 sets of 3 reps, and work myself up to 5 reps overtime, can this work?
Also i should mention my dumbell incline bicep curl rarely progress at 25 lb, not sure how to fix this.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi David,

Congrats on the gains! Sure, that sort of progression could work. The important thing to keep in mind is you want to increase your total training volume over time. It can be thought of in this equation:

Sets x Reps x Weight Used = Total training volume

So long as your total training volume is continuing to increase each week, you should continue to see gains. Even if this number only increases 1lb each week, you'll be golden!

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 03/02/2017 - 04:10
Nuno

Hi Josh,

looks great this routine.. I only can workout 4 days in a row starting monday.. Can i workout 4 days in a row?

Big tahnks from Portugal! :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 03/02/2017 - 09:31
JoshEngland

Hi Nuno,

It's not ideal to do this workout 4 days in a row, but it is doable depending on your rate of recovery. Give it a shot and see how you feel.

If you feel like it's too tough or you aren't recovering properly, maybe try to take a 2 days on 1 day off 1 day on, rest approach. Then continue the next week starting off with the workout you were unable to do the week before.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 02/28/2017 - 18:28
JFritz

2 questions. For all these reps I just was not sure if after each rep do I increase the weight each time or just stay at one weight during the whole exercise. Second, how much rest time should I have in between each rep? Thank you very much!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/01/2017 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi JFritz,

A good goal is to increase the weight on all lifts by 5lbs every week or every other week depending on your experience and strength level.

For the big compound movements on power days rest for 2-3 minutes (you could go up to as high as 5 minutes if you need to) in between sets. For all other lifts aim to limit rest periods inbetween 45-90 secs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 03/01/2017 - 11:49
JFritz

Thank you for the quick reply! By big compound movements do you mean like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses? Also how many weeks should I continue this program for? I'm trying to cycle through different programs and the last month I have been doing negatives and wanted to try hypertrophy. Any advice? (My goal by the way is to lose more fat and gain muscle. I used to be 300 lbs but dropped all the way down to 185 and have excess fat around my waist and chest so I really wanna trim and get a little bigger due to the loose skin) Thank you again!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/01/2017 - 13:34
JoshEngland

Hi JFitz,

Yes. Any of the movements with the lower rep range require you to use heavier weight. This is quite taxing, so you will need a little longer of a rest period to properly recover before hitting your next set.

I'd suggest utilizing this program for 6-8 weeks before taking a week to deload. During this week ask yourself the following three questions:

1. Is this program still helping me achieve my goals/Has my goal changed?
2. Am I still progressing with this program?
3. Am I still having fun?

If you answer yes to all three of those questions then you have no need to change programs. If you answer no, then it might be time to look for something else.

At a certain point, it becomes nearly impossible to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously (around 2 years or so of continuous training). At that point you need to pick a goal and stick with it for 6-8 weeks. Building muscle requires you to be in a caloric surplus. Losing body fat requires you to be in a caloric deficit.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/27/2017 - 04:34
Simon

So, two questions.

I've replaced Tricep Pulls and Lat Pulls with Tricep Dips and Weighted Pull Ups, because these exercises are important to me. I really want to get my reps up with these and also value weight training greatly. Do you think that'll be alright?

Also, I habe ambitions in calisthenics and am training towards Levers and Flags and such. So a lotta abdominal and tension-based training. Do you recommend that before or after the rest of the workout? Will it kill dem gainnnz?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/27/2017 - 09:36
JoshEngland

Hi Simon,

Yea that should be fine. I'd try to include your calisthenics work either after the leg days or on the Wednesday and Saturday off days. The important thing here is you don't want it to affect your ability to move weight in the gym. Adding them on those days will give you the best opportunity to recover properly in my opinion.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 02/26/2017 - 09:48
Graham

Hey just a quick question.. am i ok to alter the order of the exercises like for instance day 1.. flat bench.. bent over row... inc dumbells... lat pull down etc or should i keep it as its set out on here thanks :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/27/2017 - 09:32
JoshEngland

Hi Graham,

You can alter it to fit your needs if need be, but I'd try to keep all compound movements toward the beginning of your workout.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 02/28/2017 - 04:31
Graham

Hey josh yes thats perfect thank you for your reply.. its basically for the upper day so i can do chest back chest back.. the actual order for each body part ill be keeping the same :) one more thing.. can i add flat barbell at the beginnig of upper hypertrophy day as an extra exercise too.. just to help bump my bench press up a bit faster as i was still gaining great doibg it twice a week on my old 5x5 routine??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/28/2017 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi Graham,

You can, although I'm not sure it's necessary. This program has plenty of volume targeting the chest. I think you'd be better off progressing by adding weight to exercises each week instead of adding more volume.

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Posted Sun, 02/26/2017 - 04:02
Viraang Shah

Hi, I am 18 years old and weigh 70kgs, with body fat of 20%, is this ideal for me?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/27/2017 - 09:32
JoshEngland

Hi Viraang,

Sure you could use this program as part of your fat loss goal. The important thing to keep in mind is that you stay in a calorie deficit. -250-500 below your maintenance calorie level should do the trick. To find out your maintenance level, check out this calculator:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

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Posted Tue, 02/21/2017 - 16:49
Dawn

Any harm to doing upper before lower (so my DOMS is gone for my Day 3 cardio)?
So...
Day 1: Lower Power
Day 2: Upper Power
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Lower Hypertrophy
Day 5: Upper Hypertrophy
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/21/2017 - 16:52
JoshEngland

Hi Dawn,

No harm done at all!

Well except to your muscles being broken down by the workouts, but you'll recover afterwards. :)

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/18/2017 - 11:34
David G

Hi.

I'm not sure if this was clearly addressed a few comments down, so I'd appreciate it if you could clarify.

I'm 49 yo and have just returned to lifting after 7 months of BW / TRX training. I'm finding that I recover better when lifting 3 times per week, which also gives me time for low impact conditioning a few days a week.

Anyway, will this program work well if I do something like:
Week 1: UP / Off / LP / Off / UH / Off / Off
Week 2: LH / Off / UP / Off / LP / Off / Off

And so on.....

Thank you.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/20/2017 - 09:57
JoshEngland

Hi David,

Yes, you can structure the workout in this way and still get great results.

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Posted Mon, 02/20/2017 - 10:01
David G

Thanks for your prompt response. Much appreciated.