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
12 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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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.

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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

848 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 02/16/2018 - 01:24
Alvin

Hi, I would like to know if it was possible to replace the skullcrusher by close grip bench press and barbell curl by chin up

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 02/16/2018 - 08:35
JoshEngland

Hi Alvin,

Sure, that should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:48
Alvin

Thanks you

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Posted Wed, 02/14/2018 - 15:45
Sal

Looks good! Can’t wait to try it! One question though. For the power days am I supposed to do heavy weights and then on the hypertrophy go lighter? If so how much lighter do you recommend? Or should use the same weight I did on the power days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:42
JoshEngland

Hi Sal,

Yes, your power days should be heavier than hypertrophy and accessory lifts.

Use 85-100% of your working max on 1-5 rep ranges and 75-85% your working max on hypertrophy and accessory lifts.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:28
Brc

Hello bro

Its possible for woman ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/13/2018 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi Brc,

Yes, women can perform this workout program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 02/11/2018 - 02:31
Marcus

I'm a 15 year old and were wondering if this is a good program for me or is it too advanced for me?
I did this program before https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/upper-lower-4-day-gym-bodybui...

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Posted Sun, 02/11/2018 - 00:02
Dan

I’m switching to this program and was wondering if I should be doing all the sets of an excercise in a row, or in a circuit style? I’ve been lifting in the circuit style but I’m willing to switch.

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Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:59
JoshEngland

Hi Dan,

You perform them as straight sets - not circuit sets.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/10/2018 - 15:08
zieg

Can i use this routine to shred some fat off?
I use to do the SS 5x5 and i would like to lose some fat while preserving the muscle and strength gains i achieved from it. I know a good diet is the main key but will this program help? Do i need to revise anything on this workout?
Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:02
JoshEngland

Hi Zieg,

You can f you're eating in a calorie deficit - however, this program is best used as a strength/muscle building program paired with a calorie durplus.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/09/2018 - 19:31
Benny

Will this cause DOMS? Cause I get that really easily and I was just wondering if this will cause it and if it will be just mild DOMS or will it take longer to heal?

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Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:08
JoshEngland

Hi Benny,

This program will certainly cause DOMs depending on your experience level and susceptibility to doms.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 02/07/2018 - 21:50
Oliver

Hi Josh,

Thanks for taking the time to answer all the questions on this thread, I've found your knowledge very useful. A couple of questions:

1. If I wanted to incorporate good mornings into this programme, do you have an opinion on which day I should do them? I was thinking on lower hypertrophy day for 4 sets of 12 reps?

2. Can you see any disadvantages from swapping the days for upper and lower? So, Mon: lower power; Tues: upper power; Thur: lower hyp, Friday: upper hyp.

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:07
JoshEngland

Hi Oliver,

You're welcome! Glad to help!

1. Sure you can, and yes lower hypertrophy day would be a good choice to incorporate them.

2. No disadvantages there at all!

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 02/07/2018 - 05:52
Darren

Moving from a bro split to PHUL, but usually I would go up in weight and down in reps each set of each exercise. Should I continue doing that or should I use the same weight for all 3 sets? Thanks

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Posted Wed, 02/07/2018 - 08:54
JoshEngland

Hi Darren,

Be prepared to experience some quality gainz with that transition :)

You can do either or. Whichever you are more comfortably with. When I've performed this program in the past, I've kept my hypertrophy and accessory lifts the same weight and ramped up the weight as I progressed with my strength (power) sets.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 15:00
Daniel

Hi, I was wondering if there is a particular diet program you could recommend when following this routine, I always struggle to correctly match diet to workout goals. I'm aiming to increase my size but let's say I have enough energy stores in my body at the moment.

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Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:05
JoshEngland

Hi Daniel,

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

If your goal is to add size, add 250-500 calories to that number.

Then, go here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-calculate-perfect-macros

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/30/2018 - 21:14
winston

Hi josh,

quick question for you.

how do i progress week to week? What i mean is, it asks for 3-4 sets 6-10 rep/3-5 reps. For these reps and sets ranges do i try to hit 4 sets and once i hit 10 or 5 reps i increase weight 5-10 lb depending on how i feel on a week to week basis? If every week i get something like
3-4 sets of 6-10 reps:

set 1 x6
set 2 x7
set 3 x7
set 4 x7

I stick with these weight until i can comfortably do 3-4 sets of 10 reps then add weight?

Thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/31/2018 - 15:01
JoshEngland

Hi Winston,

So long as you are increasing total training volume (Sets x Reps x Weight) over time, you'll see results. The example you have provided is a fine way to progress.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/30/2018 - 14:47
Mary

Hi - what kind of progression do you recommend for increasing weight? Also is there an advantage of keeping the two power days together or could they be split up/switched with the corresponding hyper day?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/31/2018 - 14:59
JoshEngland

Hi Mary,

Everyone progresses differently. So long as you are adding weight over time, you'll see results. Personally, I'd try to add 5lbs per lift on all of my big lifts each week and increase the smaller lifts when able.

You can alter the sequence however you see fit.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 17:14
Sam

Great workout! Can't wait to get started on it. I'm contemplating working a short intense cardio session in there (sprints) to tone, and also because rest days are boring... Could that work? Would it impede my recovery or muscle gain? If not, when would be ideal to have it in the schedule? Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/30/2018 - 08:58
JoshEngland

Hi Sam,

Should be fine. If you notice you're tired or not recovering from your workouts though, simply dial back on the cardio.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 01/28/2018 - 08:51
Rick85

Spectacular this training. Does doing this lower / upper / off / lower / upper workout in any way hurt the gains in this workout routine? I'm sorry for English.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Rick,

Absolutely not. And if you're a natty lifter who's been performing a body part split for a while, this program might be the change of pace you need to build more muscle.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 01/27/2018 - 14:29
Juan Gutierrez

Have to say - i took this workout and made it my own - but the sore body after just day 1 told me everything. Was going for 3 months straight and i never felt this sore. completely missed so many muscle groups.

Had to improvise on some exercises to fit my needs but what a workout - i honestly cant wait to see what Day 4 gonna feel. The rest days are too much for me so i keep them as rest/cardio days like some others here commented too, Keeping the blood flowing.

Wanted to have abs in this routine - where would you place it?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 09:12
JoshEngland

Hi Juan,

Feel free to ab training wherever you see fit. Personally, I'd prob add it to my Tue and Fri workouts.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 01/26/2018 - 05:32
Romy

Hi, i am not progressing on my squats anymore. I do each set to almost failure or sometime leaving 1 rep in tank. What should the proper load or %rm be?

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Posted Thu, 01/25/2018 - 13:18
fdgvsfd

hello !
can i add one extra exercice for biceps and one for triceps in the days of upper body ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 01/26/2018 - 15:32
JoshEngland

Hi fdgcsfd,

Sure, that should be fine if it helps you in accomplishing your goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:03
Ken

Hello,
How necessary is the rest day between power and hypotrophy days? I spend one of the 3 rest days doing cardio and abs, but was wondering if there is a reason it is split into 2. Would doing a 4 day in a row PHUL split, followed by 2 rest days, then a cardio day, then starting over the 4 dayPHUL split again be ok?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 16:33
JoshEngland

Hi Ken,

Sure, you could do it that way.Some people simply like to have a rest day mid week to help aid in recovery, especially considering the amount of effort one must give on power days.

That being said, feel free to modify the template to best meet your needs and your individual recovery rate.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 14:04
Sandro

I'm just here to corroborate that this routine is effective as hell. I switched from SS 5x5 to this once I had stagnated and I have never grown in size and strength so fast before. In just 4 weeks, with proper rest and nutrition I've visibly grown in size following this routine.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:52
JoshEngland

Hi Sandro,

Glad to hear you're out there making gains! Keep after it!

Thanks for supporting Muscle & Strength!

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Posted Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:49
Saqlain

Hi I m 16 year old and have 110 lb ,5.10 height and I joined gym plz give me special advice

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 08:57
JoshEngland

Hi Saqlain,

Eat according to your goals consistently. Sleep well consistently. And utilize perfect form on each exercise during an appropriate workout for your individual goals consistently.

Do all that consistently and you'll achieve all of your goals. That's my most special advice.

Cheers!

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Posted Sat, 01/20/2018 - 16:28
Vince

Why is there not as much direct focus on shoulders compared to other body parts?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 08:59
JoshEngland

Hi Vince,

I can't speak for the program designer, but personally, I don't always incorporate the most direct shoulder work into my own programs because the shoulder is a very fragile area that gets worked indirectly when training the back and chest. No need to blast it with absurd amounts of volume to get it to grow. Just stick to the minimum direct work, it's already getting worked plenty.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:22
Thinh

Hi Josh,
Do i need to add 1 or 2 warming set before working sest?
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/16/2018 - 09:02
JoshEngland

Hi Thinh,

For warm ups, start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:38
Joe

What kind of cardio/conditioning would be acceptable to incorporate into this program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:49
JoshEngland

Hi Joe,

Any type that you feel won't inhibit your ability to recover from your workouts or perform at your highest level.

Personally, I like to go with something low intensity such as walking/hiking. Takes a little longer to accomplish, but feels great and promotes both recovery and performance.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:40
JoshEngland

Hi Joe,

Sure! That would be a fine addition if you feel you have the energy to execute.

That said, unless you're a beginner you're going to have a tough time building muscle and losing fat at the same time. They require different variables to achieve. It's generally best to pick one of the two and execute on that goal for a phase at a time.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/17/2018 - 20:10
Joe

Thanks Josh, appreciate the response. I obviously know this is a muscle building workout but I’d like to lose some fat, which I know is a diet adjustment. But I also want to feel like I’m getting some conditioning in along the way.
Would you add a small conditioning set at the end of the lifting part? If the energy is there!

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Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:01
Yin tak lee

Hi, love the layout of this program. I was wondering if you could you substitute the hytrophy bit and say do 2 power sesssions a week instead?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:35
JoshEngland

Hi Yin,

Sure, that should be fine depending on your goals and ability to recover from your workouts.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:52
Kenneth Egbuji

Hello,
My upper legs are already pretty large due to genetics I believe, so I only really want to build strength there with minimal hypertrophy. On the other hand my upper body could use some size. Would you recommend doing two lower power days, one focusing on dead lift and one on squat, both with accessory leg movements aswell?