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
12 weeks
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

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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.

630 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 17:57
Mateus Vale

Great program.
What the optimal rest time for power and hypertrophy days?
What about forearm and traps. Can I add one exercise for both?
Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/25/2017 - 09:31

Hi Mateus,

3-5 minute rest periods for strength based lifts, 30-60 seconds for hypertrophy (although you could take up to 90 secs if you really need to).

Sure you could add in direct forearm and trap work if you like, but depending on your goals, it might not be necessary.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:00

Could I do this 4 days in a row, then take the next 3 off? If not, is there a way to modify it so I can structure it like that? My schedule works best at 4 in a row, and I would like to lift for both strength and Hypertrophy.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/21/2017 - 09:21

Hi Ron,

While it's not ideal, you can structure your workout in this manner if it is the only option you have available to you.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 07/16/2017 - 12:15

Any reason why there are no pull ups or face pulls/read delt flyes? Can I add these?


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:44

Hi Ad,

Sure, you're more than welcome to add them in if you feel it will help you accomplish your goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 07/16/2017 - 11:08

Can i use this for beginner ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:43

Hi Hai,

I'd recommend starting off with a beginner workout. I've provided a link to all of our beginner workouts below.


Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 06:28

can i use this workout for women ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 09:49

Hi DeeN,

Yes, absolutely!

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Posted Sun, 07/09/2017 - 17:30

hi, where can i find an advance version of this workout?, i've been following it to great results, and i feel it's time to take it up on a notch. thnx!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/10/2017 - 09:23

Hi irotinmyskin,

Below is a similar program that adds in 2 more workout days. It would be a good next step to this program.


You could also simply continue using this program but modify the weight you use, the rep temp, or rest periods to make it more challenging.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:52


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Posted Sat, 07/08/2017 - 19:18
Ray Morris

I'm not sure if this question will make sense or not, but I'm going to ask it anyway!

I am currently around 315lbs with roughly 89 pounds of fat to lose, as my muscle weight is 110 (according to the InBody scanner machine) and I've been mainly just going about doing my own thing the two days I work out at the gym, but circumstances have changed and I can now work out 4 days a week. Even eating at the deficit I've been at for over a year now (I've lost about 80lbs this year) do you reckon this will allow me to pack on some more muscle?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/10/2017 - 09:27

Hi Ray,

Yes this program with proper diet and adequate sleep can help you add muscle mass.

However, with your level of experience, I'd recommend consulting with a doctor and a personal trainer prior to starting a program such as this. These programs are templates and aren't perfect for everyone. Those 2 professionals will help you get started with a program perfectly designed for your individual needs.

Then, as you get more advanced, you can start using templates and modifying them based on your needs and goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 07/15/2017 - 22:28
Ray Morris

Thank you for your reply! I actually just saw this, lol, after having done the program for a week. I had a personal trainer for about a year this past year, but we just worked out, never really set out a plan for me to follow. I'm not sure if we can post links here, but I had my wife make a spreadsheet for me and this is what I did this week with the program:


(It's the latest post on my page.) I'm going back tomorrow for another body scan to see what's changed from last week!

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Posted Mon, 07/17/2017 - 14:32
Ray Morris

Just a quick update! Had my body scan done yesterday (Sunday) and I've lost about .6% body fat and muscle stayed at 111lbs for the week.

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Posted Fri, 07/07/2017 - 18:24
Y O Allen

Is it possible to switch the days from two power days and two hypertrophy days to upper power, lower hypertrophy, day off, upper hypertrophy, lower power, 2 days off?

Or lower power, upper hypertrophy, day off, lower hypertrophy, power upper, 2 days off?

2 power days in a row seems to be a bit taxing and may not allow for optimum recovery (in my opinion anyway)?

Thanks :-)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/10/2017 - 09:21

Hi Y O Allen,

Yes, all of those modification examples would be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 14:52

Hi, Can i ask you something ?
I'm on cutting right now . Can I use this program for cutting ?
thank for your answer

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 16:29

Hi DeeNg,

Sure, you can use this workout program while cutting. Cutting and bulking will have more to do with the amount of calories you are taking in vs the amount of calories you are burning during the day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 00:42

Hey, so I'm 21, 5'11 Low ass BF lol, Starting this program, Couple questions..

1. When working out each set, should I increase weight or stick with same weight?
Ex. Squat, doing a quarter plate for first set, then end up with 2 quarter plates by the 4th set.
2. In the Hypertrophy workouts, where the reps are 8-12 Does the weight I left need to by the same as the Power workouts? or should it be a light comfortable weight? and would I have to go up in weight each rep in the H.T. workouts as well?

Thanks! Starting tomorrow

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:55

Hi Lucky,

1. You can or you can perform with the same weight and aim to move up each week. This will depend on your own individual preferences and ability.

2. No, you'll want to use less weight for hypertrophy days. Pick a weight that is challenging for 8-12 reps. Increasing weight will follow the same protocol above.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 07/04/2017 - 00:20

Hello there I was wondering what set/reps and weights I should be starting at? I have lost quite a bit of weight from just eating healthier and doing some what of a upper and lower body split but it is mostly machines and the same work outs every time as i am a newbie at this. Down around 60 lbs and now want to starting building more muscle then i have and wanted to try this work out.

What would you suggest as a starting point ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:00

Hi Duy,

It's tough to give you an individualized starting point not working with you in person and not knowing your individual movement patterns. I'm sure it's not the answer you'd like to hear, but for a good starting point specifically for you, it might be worth consulting with a personal trainer in person.

They'll be able to adapt a program to fit your exact needs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 07/03/2017 - 15:23


Currently doing SL 5x5 and moving onto this routine but my gym does not have a leg curl machine or seated calf raise. Are there any alternatives for these exercises? Also can I do lunges with dumbbels instead of barbell? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:57

Hi Jamie,

You can swap out the leg curls for another hamstring focused exercise. See our complete database of hamstring exercise demonstration vids here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/hamstrings

Calves here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/calves

And yes, that should be a fine adaptation.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 22:56

I like to pull a bench over to the cables and use a strap, typically used for hanging leg raises, to do lying leg curls. Adjust cables so the strap is close to the floor, lock your feet into the strap, lie face down on the bench and lift legs up bending at the knee only. Don't require much weight to feel the impact.

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Posted Wed, 06/28/2017 - 17:01

Hi thinking of starting this program but need help with diet. I'm 26 ,6ft and 90kg and see myself as skinny fat. I'm unsure wether I should recomp or do a small surplus as see no point in cutting as don't have muscle and don't see the benefits of cutting. My main goal is to build lean muscle.


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/29/2017 - 09:23

Hi Stillk,

This article goes into depth about being "skinny fat", how to avoid it, and how to fix it: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/skinny-fat

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/27/2017 - 14:32

how can i priority arms in that routine should i add one more excercise to these upper days ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/27/2017 - 14:49

Hi Eltleka,

Sure, adding in an additional arm exercise to your upper body day should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 06/24/2017 - 11:52

Hi,Is it ok to do heavy deadlift after a heavy squat?i was thinking about
Week 1 Lower power - Heavy Squat,light deadlift+all the others
Week 2 lower power - light squat,heavy deadlift+all the others
what do you think?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 09:22

Hi Nati,

Yes, it is fine to do heavy deadlifts and heavy squats on the same day for most lifters.

If you'd like to set up your workout program this way, I don't think there will be any issue. So long as you are consistent with your approach over time, you'll see long-term results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 06/21/2017 - 22:50

Can you use the same exercises on hypertrophy days that you use on power days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:14

Hi Eddy,

You could, but some of the exercises won't target the muscle group exactly the same. You should be fine in doing this if you really want to though.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 06/21/2017 - 01:39

So on the Power days with lower reps do we lift heavier than the hypertrophy days? So were always near failure on the last rep of any workout on any of the days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:19

Hi Sean,

Yes, that is correct. You'll want to use 85-100% of your 1rm on those lifts and have a spotter around during the lifts.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:47

It looks like a very small volume for me...
it isnt?
im fairly new to gym...2years...

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 16:24

Hi Thanos,

I'd say this program has a decent amount of volume. Definitely not as much as some bodybuilding specific routines, but still enough to elicit a muscle building response.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 23:30

Today was the first day starting this workout. Personally I don't feel beat up enough. I went light on bench,skullcrusher since I was afraid to hurt myself. I'm also pretty weak when doing some of these workouts. Any tips?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:13

Hi Austin,

That's a good thing. You shouldn't feel beat up.

Be consistent, stay the path, and increase the weight you use as you feel comfortable enough to do so. Consistency is what will get you results in the long run.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 17:47


Looks like a great workout so will be starting after Ramadhan is up! :)

Just a quick question on the weight during training - what percentage of our 1RM do we use during the strength and hypertrophy days, and do we keep it the same over the 12 weeks. On the strength days, do we increase the weight each set (like DUP) or keep the weight the same?

Thanks in advance


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:12

Hi Muhammad,

Utilize 75-85% of your 1RM max for hypertrophy lifts and 85-100% of your 1RM for power lifts.

You can do either in terms of weight progression. I'd recommend testing both options out and figuring out which works best for you. So long as you are increasing the weight you use over time, you'll see results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:25
Muhammad Sameja

Thanks Josh, I will try that :)

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Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 13:13

For the strength days, are we supposed to run a linear progression with a certain amount of weight added every time or does it follow a certain program? By the looks of it, it seems that it's a linear progression right?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 15:02

Hi Ekron,

Yes, try to implement a linear progression with this routine for as long as you can. As most veteran lifter's will tell you, progression isn't always linear. If progress stalls, don't get disheartened.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/18/2017 - 12:23
Grant Fender

Can you tell me if I'm understanding this correctly? So we keep doing the same exercises and rep/set for the 12 weeks? Like just these exercises or are there others for different weeks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 10:09

Hi Grant,

Yes that is correct, do these exercises on their prescribed days for a 12 week period.

After those 12 weeks take a week to deload. You can then reassess your goals and determine if you'd like to make changes to your workout program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 06/15/2017 - 16:10

Is this good to combine with intermittent fasting?