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
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
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.

436 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 23:55

Hello! Quick stats.. I have 5'9.. 155 pounds male. I am around 7% body fat and want to build muscle and strength. Good workout for me ? My girlfriend wants to workout with me.. she is 150 pounds and around 5'8. She has a wide hip shape to her.. she is probably around 20% body fat. She is looking to lose some fat on her thighs arms calfs and abs. Would this be a good workout for me and her? And then on Wednesday or after certain days she would want to do an ab workout. Is this a good workout for us ?

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Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 13:45

for rep ranges of say 3-5.. can I just shoot for 3 sets by 4 reps? and on the final set.. do as much as possible and decide every week to move the weight up based on how many reps I did?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 15:51

Hi Colto,

Yes. Doing it that way would fall within the rep ranges recommended in this workout program. You'll only want to increase the weight when you are able to hit the prescribed amount of reps easily and with perfect form.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:23

Thank you!! Just for clarification. I just completely formed up the workout routine. I have it for 8 weeks.. 4 days a week and the workouts for each day listed in the workout. The plan is this ; first excersize is barbell bench press. I have 3 sets by 4 reps each set. Now say I do 135 for the first set. 135 for the second set. And then for the final 3rd set.. I will aim for 4 reps. I will do absolutely as many as I can. So if I can do 135x 10 reps say, on the third set... I would bump up the weight the next week and keep doing it that way. Does that sound like a good way to do it ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:37

In this scenario, yes. You would increase the weight the following week. However, you want to make each set challenging, not just the last. When you perform 3 sets of 4, you want to use a weight that makes those 4 reps difficult to complete on all 3 sets.

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Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 17:12

Yeah I forgot to add that. Thank you! That's what I was going to do.

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Posted Sat, 02/11/2017 - 08:58

Are there any other excersices i should add to this routine except Abs? And also, what day/s should i do Abs?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/13/2017 - 09:50

Hi Thomas,

You do not need to add any exercises to this routine unless you feel like you have a lagging muscle group that you hope to target a little more with slightly more volume.

You can add in abs where you see fit. Personally, I would add them on to the tailend of the workout days.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:59

I'm into my 6th week of this program. It's really good! All of my weights have gone up. Keep a stopwatch with you so you're honest with your rest periods. I've also been doing 40mins of cardio on Day 3.

I plan to complete 8 weeks and deload for a week. Again, this is a good program...even for this 56 year old!

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 15:15

Hi, should I be lifting the same amount of weights on power and hypertrophy days? Or should they be differed?

Thank you

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Posted Sun, 02/05/2017 - 15:49

Obviously diff, you can't lift your 3 rep weights for 10 reps suddenly lol. You go heavy low reps like 80-90% of 1RM, then on hypo you can go 65-80%

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Posted Wed, 02/08/2017 - 14:26

Much thanks!

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:39

Hey, I have a question about strengt day. After warming up you do 4 sets of max you can (like 5x5) or build it up? Kinda same with bodybuilding days. what wheight do you use? and do you build up?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:44

Hi James,

This is a general recommendation but for the strength day aim to use ~85-95% of your max and on hypertrophy days aim for 75-85% of your max.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/31/2017 - 12:26

Hey, i did this workout for the first time and is it normal that i feel more pain on my chest than on my back? second question is, if i have trouble with around 15 kg( yeah i know its not much) and i repeat it often will my muscles eventually increase the capability to like 20 kg. Could you tell me how to progress from a lower weight to higher like maybe 3 sets 15 kg and 20 kg for example is that a thing?

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:47

I can't speak to your soreness, but if you're just starting out, it will get easier - just make sure you warm-up first.

As for increasing weight, when you can do the max reps given for every set, increase by 5 lbs (or the kg equivalent). If you cannot do at least the minimum number of reps for all sets, decrease your weight until you can.

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Posted Fri, 01/27/2017 - 14:10

Can I add a trap and rear delt exercise, or would that be too much?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 01/27/2017 - 14:13

Hey Ron,

Sure, that should be fine.

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Posted Tue, 01/24/2017 - 19:28

Why is OHP put so low down on the list of exercises.. if you're going for increasing strength you should do Bench then OHP, then all the other exercises, so you aren't tired when you come to it. Sometimes people have no clue what they're doing..

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Posted Mon, 02/06/2017 - 13:33

So what your saying is, you don't understand the concept of muscle imbalance. The Bench is the opposite of the row. Overhead press gets the upper chest and front delts. Go heavy enough in bench and you work your front delts and upper chest as support. So by going stronger on just your chest, you're weaker on your backrow which balances the muscles that keep your muscles from causing shoulder and join pain down the line when you look lopsided.

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Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:28

I have torn both my ACLs and my physiotherapist does not want me to do leg extensions. Which exercise do you recommend I substitute for leg extensions?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:34

Hey Ryan,

With this degree of injury, I'd recommend working with a professional in person. Someone could give you poor advice over the internet that will only exacerbate your prior injury. It is important that you work with a professional in person so they can better diagnose your movement patterns and prescribe appropriate replacement exercises.

I know it's probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but it's better than one that would lead to reinjury.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/24/2017 - 15:06

Hi Josh,

I worked with a physiotherapist for a long time. I have been fully recovered and working out on my own now for over 2 years. The only exercise she recommended I stay away from was the leg extension. Just looking for a close push isolation substitute to that will fit in well for this plan.

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Posted Thu, 01/19/2017 - 10:28

Can the spilt be done
monday- upper power
wednesday- lower power
thursday - off
friday- upper hypertrophy
saturday - off
sunday- lower hypertrophy

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/19/2017 - 10:58


Yes, you can perform this split with that schedule.

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Posted Mon, 01/16/2017 - 14:52

Can i add an extra exercise ?

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Posted Sun, 01/15/2017 - 22:16

Would it be okay to just take the power portion of this work out and do that twice a week?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/16/2017 - 09:29

Hi Miguel,

So, make the program look like this:
M- Upper Power
T Lower Power
Th- Upper Power
Fr- Lower Power?

That should be fine.

If you're referring to simply training twice a week though and eliminating the power portion all together, I wouldn't recommend splitting your workouts. Instead, I'd recommend a couple of full body workouts spaced a few days a part from one another.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/03/2017 - 17:10

Can i turn all the compound lifts like, benching,squating, overhead press, deadlifts. To a 5x5?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/04/2017 - 09:25

Hey David,

Sure that will be a fine adaptation to the program.

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Posted Tue, 01/03/2017 - 14:20

Is there anyway you would suggest adding or switching something out in this program for weighted dips and pull-ups?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/03/2017 - 15:18

Hey Matthew,

You could either swap them in for lat pull down on Day 1 and cable tricep extension on Day 4, or add one of the exercises into both workout days (ex add pullups on Day 1 and add Dips on Day 4 or vice versa).

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Posted Thu, 12/22/2016 - 11:14

I have a powerlifting routine with a great group of guys that I don't want to vary from, so I plan on tweaking this plan a little bit to fit heavy deadlifts Mon, heavy bench wed, heavy squats fri. Is it detrimental to dedicate one day, say Saturday to doing both upper and lower hypertrophy so I can rest on Sunday?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 12/22/2016 - 11:42

Hi Noah,

I don't see why not as long as you're giving yourself enough time to recover between workouts. Honestly, you could look into doing a program similar to the on I've provided below. 3 full body days focused on hypertrophy with a strength based compound lift split.


Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 12/15/2016 - 13:14

Don't deadlifts hit a lot of upper body muscles (back, traps, arms)? Should they really be done the day after upper body, when those muscles are supposed to be resting?

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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 Thu, 12/22/2016 - 13:52

I would suggest using as much free bar/dumbell work as possible to help develop more strength overall unless you have an injury that makes it potentially injurious to do overhead barbell or dumbell work.

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

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

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

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

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

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?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 17:01

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

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


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

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

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.

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

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:


Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/10/2017 - 16:48

This is a great idea and I've been doing it!

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

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


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


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:18


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.