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.

302 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 10/07/2015 - 21:44

Don't you guys think it would be better to make lower body days first? (Lower/Upper)

Because I was thinking if I do heavy bent over rows, it will take a toll on my deadlift the following day.

Do you also think it would be better for upper body days to alternate body parts? (Chest/Back/Chest/Back)

Hoping for replies. Thanks!

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 10/08/2015 - 09:40


I would generally recommend lower body days before upper for that exact reason.

For the upper body days you can set up your programming like that but it's not a necessity.

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Posted Sun, 10/04/2015 - 20:53

Lifting 101 question, but how long of a rest period between sets?

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Posted Thu, 10/01/2015 - 13:50

As a beginner with only 2 months in could I back squat on Friday. I usually do Olympic squats (high bar) . Everybody puts a lot of focus on squats in beginner routines and if I front squat I feel I'd be missing out on a lot of progress for squats.

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Posted Thu, 10/01/2015 - 13:23

Hey Brandon,
I will start this PHUL workout , but I would like to know can i change for the Upper Hypertrophy day instead of cable tricep extension to use overhead rope extension?

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Posted Thu, 10/01/2015 - 07:38
Kumara Ranathun...

Dear Brandon,
Your workout is very impressive and grate.I'm following it.Still i have a question about the reps and sets.For a example front squat 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps. What do you mean by this. Do i need to perform 3x8 or 4x12. please explain me about that and your guidance on this regards highly appreciated. Thank you.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 10/01/2015 - 09:24

He's referring to rep ranges. In other words, start with 3 sets of 8 and progressively work your way up to 4 sets of 12 over time.

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Posted Fri, 10/02/2015 - 07:56
Kumara Ranathun...

Dear MikeWines,
Thank you very much for the explanation

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2015 - 04:18

In compound movements the sets are with the same weight?

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Posted Sun, 09/06/2015 - 04:52

Could I do 4x12 on power days (thus turning all the workout into a hypertrophy program(? Would there be a difference?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 09/08/2015 - 12:06

Sure, you can always modify a program to only hypertrophy rep ranges but if your goal is to maximize hypertrophy AND strength then that would not be a wise option as adaptations within a certain rep range can lead to benefits in other rep ranges as well.

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Posted Fri, 08/14/2015 - 12:48

Anyone here doing this program that is adding cardio to it? I'm on a cut, and I dont really want to add cardio if I don't have to.

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Posted Fri, 08/14/2015 - 23:06

You should at least add half an hour of cardio to each workout per day. As long as you meet your appropriate calorie intake per day, you will be fine. Adding cardio will aid getting rid of unwanted fat as your body turns it to muscle at the same time during your workout. I box everyday for 1-2 hours , but I eat more.

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Posted Sat, 09/05/2015 - 19:34

'getting rid of unwanted fat as your body turns it to muscle at the same time '

Um, you can't turn fat to muscle.....

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Posted Tue, 08/04/2015 - 18:30

Just started this workout man making all kinds of gainz, can i substitute chin ups/pull ups or dips anywhere or for what exercises. Thanks!

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 08/05/2015 - 10:14

Chris jones, that you? haha

You can throw in some chins for the DB flys or lat pulldowns and substitute dips for any tricep work.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 08/10/2015 - 10:47

I would strongly recommend some soft tissue work with a foam roller and lacrosse ball. Research has consistently shown it's influence on decreasing DOMS and assisting in both passive and active recovery.

Also, as I've said in a few past articles, DOMS will decrease over time as you become acclimated to the frequency and volume:

"In strength and conditioning, we know the Repeated Bout Effect states: 'subsequent bouts of the same exercise, repeated within several days to several months, do not produce as much damage as the first bout.' Essentially, your body is good at adapting to stimuli in order to maintain homeostasis."

From this article: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dup-muscle-growth-workout

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Posted Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:44

Any tips on combating DOMS? just done the day 2 lower power and the calf raises killed me lol, I couldnt even walk and missed my next workout. I did stretch before and after and done some cardio, hopefully it just reduces over time

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Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 07:42
Jane Zlatogorav

How often do I increase the weight for the main lifts and by how much?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 15:18

That's depends on your level of experience. If you're fairly new to training, you could be increasing by 5lbs every other session but a more seasoned lifter might only increase 5lbs every month or so.

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Posted Thu, 07/30/2015 - 21:43

Hey Brandon! On what days do you think incorporating ab exercises be ideal?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 07/31/2015 - 09:15

Hey Jon,
I'm not Brandon but to quote the author: "Abdominals - Ab work can be done at the end of training or on off days."

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Posted Wed, 07/29/2015 - 17:44
Crystal Hanley

On the hypertrophy days do I lower the weight used?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 07/30/2015 - 09:29

Rep ranges will determine the amount of weight that can be used. So, for example, if you can DB bench 75s for a set of 4 then you'll have to drop roughly 10-15lbs in order to get a set of 10-12 reps in the hypertrophy rep range.

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Posted Thu, 07/30/2015 - 09:31

Ok! Sounds good. Also would this be an ok program if you are trying to burn fat as well? I know I have to eat a caloric deficit to lose fat.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 07/31/2015 - 09:21

Yep, it'd be fine. Just be aware that it's much tough to keep up with higher levels of volume when you're maintaining a caloric deficit.

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2015 - 05:52

Hi, Brandon. Can I incorporate running on off days with this program? I have started the program already and would love to do some cardio like running. thank you for your time

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 07/28/2015 - 09:54

I would look into non weight bearing options such as biking, swimming, or rowing first. If those don't inhibit your recovery then you could potentially try out some light jogging as long as the pace isn't too drastic. I would hold off on any sprinting for now though as that will definitely impact that quality and intensity of your lower body sessions.

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Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 09:30

Can do this one even when im on a strict deff?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 10:15

Are you referring to a strict deficit? If so, then it wouldn't be ideal if you were looking to maximize the hypertrophy component of this program.

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Posted Sun, 07/19/2015 - 15:51

Well, im going to cut from 210 lb to around 170 lb in half a year i belive. Im eating around 2400 kcal in order to lose 1lb a week.

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Posted Thu, 07/02/2015 - 14:38

Hey Brandon!

I was wondering if it's okay to deadlift on fridays aswell and if there are any negatives to it.

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Posted Thu, 07/02/2015 - 12:19

Hey Mark!

I love Deadlifting, so i'm wondering if its okay to add it to fridays workout aswell. What do you think?

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Posted Mon, 06/29/2015 - 14:15
Max Roegiest

As a beginner, is using this programme for the first year or 2 a good idea? I want to make some gaiins.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 06/29/2015 - 15:27

Sure, try it out and let us know how things go.

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Posted Mon, 09/14/2015 - 19:20

i would like to know also!

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Posted Sun, 08/23/2015 - 21:51

How has this been going for you?

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Posted Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:50

I will come back to this post and reply the results in a few months.

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Posted Fri, 05/22/2015 - 00:15
Kaylee Miller

When I started this program in March, I was squatting 115 for 5 reps (I'm 20 y/o, relatively new female lifter). A few days ago, I squatted 135 for 5 reps easy - next week is 140. I can definitely attribute my progression to the 2x per week lower body training. Best feeling ever. Thank-you Brandon.

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Posted Sun, 05/03/2015 - 07:02

Hi mr Campbell, ill make this quick. i will start this workout program ina a month or so when i start my bulk.
My problem is shoulder and chest development. Can i add on hypetrophy days more volume on these specific groups, since i find it hard to hit my chest like other muscles. Thanks :)

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Posted Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:52

This program looks like a dream to me. I'm not used to squatting and dead lifting on the same day but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I've been looking for something that still allows me to focus on power, but with enough hypertrophy work to build a bit of muscle, yet not so much that the workout becomes convoluted and ridiculously long. Do you think this will be a good program to work a recomp with?

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Posted Sat, 04/18/2015 - 02:40

great looking routine was looking for something similar to phat but not as many days. Was wondering how only one bicep and tricep exercise om power and hypotrophy days and no trap work. Can extra be added in? Many thanks

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Posted Tue, 04/14/2015 - 17:21
Luke Tedesco

I really like the look of this program, especially because I have some time off now that I'm graduating to seriously dedicate myself to a program and get into a routine.
I've got some meat to work off, anybody have any experience cutting on this program? I can see myself getting exhausted real fast, but I figure if I eat sedentary maintenance and don't add on calories for exercise I should be good to go. Load a few hours before the workout and get dem carbs and protons shortly after.

Anybody have any insight on this plan?

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Posted Wed, 04/08/2015 - 11:33

Hey! I broke my L1 and L2 vertebrae a couple years ago. Any of these exercises you suggest I avoid?

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Posted Tue, 04/07/2015 - 17:14

What is the rationale for only having 2 shoulder exercises per week? This seems a little light

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Posted Sun, 04/05/2015 - 12:58

What about the amount of weight for each exercise? For a specific exercise do I keep the amount of weight same for the working sets or do I pyramid them? Thanks.

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Posted Sun, 04/05/2015 - 10:57
Jay Garrett

No shrugs ? My traps are indocile they need shrugs. And no, deadlifts don't help them grow lol I've been on that route already. Where can I throw shrugs in?

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Posted Mon, 06/01/2015 - 23:46
Marcelious Wyatt

Hey Jay, not sure if you got an answer yet, but I have been on PHUL for almost a month and also wanted some trap work. I throw them in (usually shrugs, but whatever works for you) on Upper body days, both of them. I like to hit them after lats or triceps.

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Posted Sun, 04/05/2015 - 09:33

I fail to understand how this has anything to do with power? Looks more like a strength - hypertrophy split to me?

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Posted Mon, 03/30/2015 - 11:26
Red Hood

Thanks for the program, looks like it may hold my interest a bit better than a "standard" pure power upper/lower since its time to move on from my 3 day full body beginner stage.

Id like to ask about progression, does this seem like a good rate to aim for?
"big" exercises ( those in 3-5 range) increase weight for upper 5lbs and lower 10lbs every 2 weeks.
"small"(8+ range) increase reps by 1 each week until you can do 12 ( or 15 for the leg exercises) then increase the weight and drop the reps back to 8

I have autism and ocd so hopefully getting an opinion from the creator of a program before I commit to it would greatly help my planning.