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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1.3K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 10/15/2019 - 16:27

Is it okay to do only 6 reps on the strength days ? For example the leg curls 4x6 on lower strength day

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Posted Tue, 10/01/2019 - 14:24

I want ask about the upper power with benchpress it would be 3/4 set with 3-5 reps? It would be using a heaviest load?

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 19:01

Yes. I put heavy enough weight where i can just get the 5 reps. Once i can comfortably do 4 sets of 5 reps with this weight I will than move up in weight. I'm not an expert but following this workout this is what i am doing.

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Posted Tue, 10/01/2019 - 13:56
Fransisco leandrio

Is there some workout can i do in offday?

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Posted Wed, 09/25/2019 - 23:58

What should be the intensity breakdown?

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Posted Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:41

would you recommend some changes for females and what would it be?

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Posted Wed, 08/28/2019 - 23:21

Can i add one more day to this program and work out on mainly shoulders and forearms? Also, can I add dips instead of lateral raise on upper hypertrophy days? Because I am thinking adding lateral raise on extra day in which I am going to work shoulders and forearms.

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2019 - 16:14

Hi Hazar,

Sure, if you feel it's necessary to do so to meet your goals. That's fine.

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Posted Mon, 08/26/2019 - 13:45
mohamed elsayad

Hi, is this program suitable for the skinny fat body type?

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2019 - 16:19

Hi Mohamed,

This program is suitable for most.

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2019 - 17:42
mohamed elsayad


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Posted Wed, 08/14/2019 - 17:31

Hey I was wondering if I could switch the incline barbell press on hypotrophy day to a dumbbell flat chest press? I really like it better and was hoping it wouldn’t screw up the routine. Was also wondering if switching the later raises with the overhead press would be okay because most of my strength is depleted by the time I get to it in the power day, so moving it to the second upper day and starting with that would I think benefit me more. Does this work?

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Posted Mon, 08/19/2019 - 20:23

So does the like mean this is okay? Haha

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Posted Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:12

Please critique my PHUL workout routine. I modified some stuff from the default one and im just wondering what you guys think and if i need some adjustments in the workout. Im looking to gain muscle strength and size

PHUL Workout Program

Day 1
Upper Power:

Barbell Bench Press 3x5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3x10
Bent Over Row 3x5
Lat Pull Down 3x10
Overhead Press 3x5
Bicep Curl 3x10
Skullcrusher 3x10
Face Pulls 3x10

Day 2
Lower Power:

Squat 3x5
Deadlift 3x5
Hyperextension 2x15
Leg Press 3x10
Leg Extension 3x10
Calf Exercise 4x10

Day 4
Upper Hypertrophy:

Incline Barbell Bench Press 3x10
Machine Chest Fly 3x10
Seated Cable Row 3x10
Chin-Ups 3xF
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3x10
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl 3x10
Cable Tricep Extension 3x10

Day 5
Lower Hypertrophy:

Squat 3x5
Deadlift 1x5
Barbell Lunge 3x10
Hyperextension 2x15
Leg Extention 3x10
Seated Calf Raise 3x10
Sandbag Lunge 3x15 steps
Abs exercises 5 minutes

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Posted Tue, 07/23/2019 - 16:59

Hello guys.
I'm 19, 175 cm tall and 60.3 kg,
Can anybody tell me if this plan is a good plan for me, I've already been working out for 3-4 months periodically, I haven't been in Gym since February.
I started gym today so I'm looking for a plan to gain some muscles and power.

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Posted Sun, 07/21/2019 - 21:29
Matthew White

Hi Josh,
What could exercise could I use to supplement Skullcrusher ? And also what exercise could I use to supplement lat pull down

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Posted Mon, 07/22/2019 - 11:43

Hi Matthew,

Depends... what're your reasons for substituting the exercises?

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Posted Sun, 07/14/2019 - 17:32

Hi, I've been lifting for awhile 5-6x a week using muscle group splits (chest/shoulders, back/arms, legs/core), hypertrophy focused. I've just been doing my own thing and not following a progressive, proven program. I'm getting great results but think I should move to a proven program. I like the way PHUL looks, but my current routine is more than PHUL calls for--more total exercises, more sets, etc. I assume there's a good reason for the way PHUL is written and I probably need more rest/recovery than I'm getting now. My question is will I lose my progress by switching to only 4 days and doing less overall in the gym? Lifting heavier has made awesome changes in my physique, so I'm just worried about changing my routine. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2019 - 13:20
Mads Huke Hjelmeland

I am one month in and my progress on my compounds on upper day have seemed to stall, not progressing in weights, not even reps. However my other exercise seems to progress decently, any tips?

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Posted Wed, 08/07/2019 - 11:23

You’ve obviously hit a plateau. There’s a few things you could try to break through it. Maybe give cluster sets a try. For example, if you’re stuck on 8 reps for bench. Try doing 3 then rack weight for 15 seconds, do another 3 and rack the weight again for 15 then smash out another 3. Just one example. You could also lower the weight all together and just go above the required reps by a few and then increase by 5-10lbs the next workout and do a few more than required again. You’ll eventually be able to lift more than you initially could. Hope this helps

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2019 - 04:00

If I were to incorporate ab work at the end of my work session how many ab exercises should I do? 2-3 different ones?

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2019 - 13:50

Hi Dan,

That should do the trick.

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2019 - 09:09

Hi Josh!
Excellent workout. One question. My lower back doesn't like it very much when I do have squats and deads on the same day. Is there a work around or do I go a little lighter and let my body adjust to the new workload?

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2019 - 15:26

Hi Ray,

Thanks! Although, it's not my program :)

You could do variations that put your body in a more favorable position such as the trap bar deadlift and the goblet or landmine squat.

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Posted Mon, 07/08/2019 - 19:32
Zaid Memon

Hi, two things is it smart to do this workout while attempting to maintain weight and how much rest should I give between sets.

Thank you

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2019 - 11:10

Hi Josh,
Really excellent program. But I wonder how much intensity should each set goes? Reps are unstable in my opinion cause I dont know how much percents of 1RM would works.
(Im not an English native speaker, hope I have made myself clear )

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Posted Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:09

Hi Xu,

I'd recommend 85-95% intensity on strength lifts and 75-85% intensity on hypertrophy lifts.

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Posted Sun, 06/16/2019 - 11:17
Jules Sabourin

Just wondering what are the rest times in between sets for the strength and hypertrophy days ??

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2019 - 11:11
Roger Fanti

At least 2-5 min you want to have enough fuel in the tank for the next set.

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Posted Thu, 06/13/2019 - 15:00

Is it a good idea to switch the front squat and and back squat , therefore I can do my heavy squat on the hypertrophy day instead of doing heavy dead’s and heavy squat on same day.

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2019 - 11:12
Roger Fanti

Sure, go for it.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2019 - 21:35

Hey. Thanks for this awesome program, I am three weeks in and have already seen some great results one question tho. My biceps are not feeling the same pump as everywhere else and seems to be growing less. Is there some different or extra exercises I could do or should I do more reps or sets? Any help would be much appreciated..
Thanks again

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2019 - 11:13
Roger Fanti

Add additional sets.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:41

1. I wondered if this would be a great program for a beginner? If not what program can work for a person that have worked out for almost a year but haven't made that much progress in that year 2. When deadlifitng should it be sumo or conventinal? 3. What rest times between sets?

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2019 - 11:18
Roger Fanti

For beginners, I always recommend sumo since glutes are almost always the weakest muscle and the most crucial for overall strength. If you are training regularly for at least six to 12 months, you are not considered a beginner. I would stick to a 2-5 minutes rest o more no less.

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2019 - 12:12
Roger Fanti

For beginners, I always recommend sumo since glutes are almost always the weakest muscle and the most crucial for overall strength. If you are training regularly for at least six to 12 months, you are not considered a beginner. I would stick to a 2-5 minutes rest o more no less.

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Posted Sun, 06/09/2019 - 17:45

I was wondering how you progress during this program? I am heavily debating on starting this program, it will be the first program I have tried, so really exited.

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Posted Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:59

Hi Mads,

The recommended form of progression with this workout would be adding weight when able to do so as the weeks progress.

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Posted Fri, 06/07/2019 - 03:33

The program duration says 12 weeks, im curious what you recommend we do after the 12 weeks is over? Thank you

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 07:40

Hey Josh,

Do you recommend any sort of cardio with this program post workout?

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 09:20

Hi Cody,

Depends on your goals and lifestyle tbh. I feel it's always beneficial to do some form of cardio throughout the week. type, frequency, and duration will depend on your individual goals.

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 10:58

Goals are mostly fat loss focused while still retaining/building a little bit of muscle. Was thinking 10-15 minutes of HIIT twice a week. Thoughts?

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Posted Tue, 06/04/2019 - 16:24

Hi Cody,

Sure, you can add in HIIT. However, fat loss and muscle retention will be accomplished mostly through being in a calorie deficit while consuming adequate protein and performing strength based lifts.

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Posted Fri, 05/31/2019 - 11:53

Hi Josh. Loving this workout so far. One question: what are the acc lifts on the power days? Trying to get all my rest times in line. Thanks!

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Posted Fri, 05/31/2019 - 16:43

Hi Mike,

Awesome! Glad you like it so far. Anything with >5 reps is an accessory.

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Posted Wed, 05/29/2019 - 10:52
David Cho

First of all thank you for provide this nice workout program.
While I try to make workout routine based on this program, I have few questions that I need to ask you.

First, Unfortunately, I am working out in the gym which doesn't have squat rack untill next Jaunuary due to my personal situation... So what I try to replace is that ,on power lower workout day, squat and deadlift to 5x5 sumo deadlift and maybe add goblet squat 2-3 set 15reps to fill the volume.
On lower hypertrophy day, try to replace front squat to sumo deadlift. How it is gonna work?

Second, Is it fine to replace seated cable row to pendlay row?

I am looking forward to hearing from you!

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Posted Fri, 05/24/2019 - 05:04

I was wondering about the short rest times on hypertrophy days. A study published in 2016 found that longer rests are better for size ie group that rested 3 minutes between compound sets got significantly stronger and bigger than the group that rested for 1min. What do you guys think? On hypertrophy days the recommended rest time is between 1-2min. Resting only one minute won't allow me to get maximum volume (weight*reps*sets) and I have to use lighter weight on subsequent sets to hit target rep ranges. What's the consensus here, do you follow the rest times outlined in this program or rest longer?

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Posted Wed, 05/22/2019 - 22:02

Would if be ok if I move swap some of the strength and hypertrophy (volume) exercises to help with exhaustion? Not that I don’t exhaust the muscles on hypertrophy days, but for example I included dips and the amount of compound movements on strength days makes it ver hard to finish. Below is an example of what I was thinking:

Day 1 lower strength-
(exercise/sets/rep range)
Squat / 3-4 / 3-5 “strength”
Deadlift / 3-4 / 3-5 “strength”
Leg curl / 3-4 / 6-10 “strength”
Dumbbell goblet squat / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Calf work / 3-4 / 6-10
Ab work

Day 2 upper strength-
Lat pull down / 3-4 / 6-10 “strength”
Barb bell bench press / 3-4 / 3-5 “strength”
Bent over row / 3-4 / 3-5 “strength”
Overhead press / 3-4 / 5-8 “strength”
Incline dumbbell press / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Skull crushers / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Hammer curl / 3-4 / 6-8 “strength”
Cable push down / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”

Day 3 lower hypertrophy-
Front squat / 3-4 / 4-6 “power”
Dumbbell squat / 3-4 / 10-15 “hypertrophy”
Leg extensions / 3-4 / 10-15 “hypertrophy”
Leg curl / 3-4 / 10-15 “hypertrophy”
Calf work / 3-4 / 12-16
Ab work

Day 4 upper hypertrophy-
Dips / 3-4 / 6-10 “strength”
Incline barbell press / 3-4 / 6-8 “strength
Cable flies / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Seated cable row / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
One arm dumbbell row /3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Dumbbell lat raise / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Seated incline dumbbell curl / 3-4 / 8-12 “hypertrophy”
Wide grip barbell curl / 3-4 /8-12

As you can see I’ve added in 1 bicep and 1 tricep exercises. I also removed one “strength” exercise (leg press) and replaced it with a “hypertrophy” exercise (dumbbell squats) as I don’t have a leg press (really want one!) and do not like the substitutes.

I greatly appreciate any responses regarding this restructure. I just don’t know if there is a negative effect of not doing all “strength” reps and all “hypertrophy” reps on the same day.


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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 14:54

Hi Josh,

Looks like a solid modification to the program's template to me!

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Posted Mon, 05/20/2019 - 03:25

I'm confused by the number of people saying there's not enough exercises for the shoulders or arms. In just the first workout listed there's heavy delt, triceps and (to a slightly lesser extent) biceps work as well. That's what a compound movement is...