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
Split
Intermediate
12 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

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.

Muscle & Strengths Online Supplement Store

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

Join over 500k subscribers who receive weekly workouts, diet plans, videos and expert guides from Muscle & Strength.

4.5 STARS
374 VOTES
RATE THIS
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.

558 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:48
Dulmal

Thank you very much for sharing this exercise with us !! I have a question , Will this program help me in wight loss , I want to lose 15 pounds in 2 months and build muscle and be strong at the same time , is this program right for me?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:37
JoshEngland

Hi Dulmal,

It can help in all of those things definitely. But a lot of your success with those things will depend on your nutrition, how much sleep you get each night (7-9 hours each night), how well you recover from your workouts, and how consistent you are with your effort on all of these things.

To lose weight you'll want to be in a calorie deficit. To find out your calorie needs use our calculator here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Then subtract ~250-500 calories to create a calorie deficit for weight loss.

Hope this helps and good luck with your goals!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/21/2017 - 06:26
Gnis

Hello,

First I want to thank you for sharing this routine. I've made some significant increases in my strength. But after following the program for 10 weeks, I'm down to something new and challenging. Do you have another routine which is on the same 'level'? I would like to focus once more on both aspects: power and hypertrophy.

Thanks in advance.

Greets,

Gnis

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 09:56
JoshEngland

Hi Gnis,

If you're enjoying this program and still seeing progress, you don't necessarily have to change things up.

However, if you want to embark on a new routine, we have a 6 day push/pull/legs split that follows a similar rep and set count. I've provided it below if you'd like to check it out.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/6-day-powerbuilding-split-mea...

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:27
Anthony

Hi,
I just had a question: What would you recommend for ab work and how frequently would you recommend it?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/18/2017 - 09:15
JoshEngland

Hi Anthony,

You can add additional ab work to this program if you feel it will help with your individual goals, however it isn't necessary to do so.

I've provided a link to our ab workouts database below. Feel free to browse it until you find one that you like and you can either add it to the tailend of some of your workouts or your off days.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/abs

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/14/2017 - 23:12
Adrian

Hi,
I want to start a hybrid however I’m not sure if I’m ready for intermediate:

I have great strength for my squats, deadlift, and rows. My bench/overhead press are not the best. Do I need to bench X amount of weights before starting this intermediate program? I’ve been training for a little over a year.

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:34
JoshEngland

Adrian,

The experience level has more to do with the knowledge of the lifts and amount of muscular endurance you have built to handle the volume associated with it.

Everyone is different and has different levels of strength. You dont have to be able to bench X amount of weight to perform this program.

If you are knowledgeable about the exercises within the program (which after a year of training I'd assume you are) then you fit into the intermediate experience level category.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:30
Adrian

Hi Josh,

Yes, this helps. Thanks!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 05/13/2017 - 18:58
Simon

Hi, what could I do instead of db flies, db lateral raises and seated incline db curls ? These are all of a no go at the moment due to a shoulder injury, flies aren't too bad but definitely need a replacement for the other two. Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:30
JoshEngland

Hi Simon,

I'd recommend working with a professional in person. I'm sure it's not the answer you're hoping to hear, but it is the best to give. Anyone can blindly name substitution exercises over the internet, but without knowing the state of your injury, how it's affecting your movement patterns, and how far along you are along with your rehab, they could be putting you at risk for further injury.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/11/2017 - 03:35
Yondaime

Hi,
For how long do you think one should use this workout plan before having to shake things around and change?
And thank you for the excellent plan :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/11/2017 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Yondaime,

You can do this program for as long as you'd like so long as it is helping you reach your goals and you enjoy doing it. I'd say give it at least 6-8 weeks to determine if you're seeing the results you want and if you're enjoying the workouts.

Despite what a lot of people say, you dont have to change your workouts frequently. You just have to change variables within the workouts to make them more challenging (i.e. add reps and sets, adding weight, changing your rep tempo, shortening your rest intervals, etc.)

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/12/2017 - 04:13
Yondaime

It does !
Thanks Josh, already in week 1 and feeling sore as hell, great program :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/10/2017 - 18:34
matthew

how many weeks should I do this routine for before moving on to something else?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/11/2017 - 09:08
JoshEngland

Hi Matthew,

You can do this program for as long as you'd like so long as it is helping you reach your goals and you enjoy doing it.

To gauge it's effectiveness, give it a shot for 6-8 weeks. You should know if you it's helping you and if you enjoy the workouts by that point.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/07/2017 - 12:20
Simon

Is there anything I can substitute barbell bp, incline db press and incline barbell press as I am recovering from a shoulder injury. Any pressing movements still seem to give me some pain unless I go very light. Can I still do the program but go lighter or can I replace them with something else ? Due to get some physio very soon but want to get on with this program. Any pulling movements are fine. Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/08/2017 - 09:27
JoshEngland

Hi Simon,

I'd recommend working with a professional in person. I'm sure it's not the answer you're hoping to hear, but it is the best to give. Anyone can blindly name substitution exercises over the internet, but without knowing the state of your injury, how it's affecting your movement patterns, and how far along you are along with your rehab, they could be putting you at risk for further injury.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:37
Simon

Hi, starting this program Sunday and was wondering roughly what sort of % should I start with for the power and hypertrophy days ? Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:35
JoshEngland

Hi Simon,

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

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/04/2017 - 10:11
Simon

Excellent, thank you.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/18/2017 - 20:54
Anthony

Why would you want to start with trying to rep your 1rm for power days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/19/2017 - 09:07
JoshEngland

Hi Anthony,

Not sure I understand your question. You should start every workout with a sufficient warm up. Below is a link to a good place to start.

Outside of that, your power days are intended to be heavy days. Personally, I'd stick to 85% of my 1RM and aim for 4 sets of 5, but everyone is different. Some may set it up to do 5, 3, 1, 1 while others might shoot for singles, doubles, or triples.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/03/2017 - 22:35
Kevin Bagnato

On the upper hypertrophy day, why include both the seated cable row and the one arm db row?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:36
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

To increase volume targeting the mid back. Higher volume (to a certain extent) is a key driver to muscle hypertrophy.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/03/2017 - 18:54
Brandon

Hey I was doing full body workouts recently but it makes me feel like I'm over training so I wanted to try this program. My question is that with full body I would rotate out exercises every workout ex) preacher curls Monday drag curls Wednesday and hammer curls Friday. Same with big lifts like flat to decline bench could something like that work in this program? Just because I don't think doing the same 6-7 excersises for months or years would help too much.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:41
JoshEngland

Hi Brandon,

You can make slight variations if you like. Despite what people say, you don't have to change up the exercises within your workouts as frequently as you may think.

Simple changes in hand position, feet placement, equipment type (barbell, dumbbell, trap bar), etc will work for your big lifts.

I think you may find this article useful: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/micro-progressions-non-stop-g...

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/05/2017 - 09:51
Brandon

Yes that's helps thank you. I do have two more quick questions.
1. I wanted to do cardio twice a week on both leg days is that a good idea?
2. I heard decline bench is better for building muscle then flat bench especially if you pair it with incline to build up and lower chest is that true?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/08/2017 - 13:53
Brandon

Thanks for all the help sorry to keep asking but I wanted to know wouldn't it be better to do a mini push pull system in the program like instead of doing two chest exercises then two back to instead do one chest then back then chest then back? Same with tricep then bicep? Or is better doing all chest and all back together?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/05/2017 - 15:36
JoshEngland

Hi Brandon,

Sure, adding some cardio to this program shouldn't be an issue.

As for your bench press question, I'm sure you could ask hundreds of people which bench variation is the best and get so many different answers. Which one you choose isn't to important. What is important in growing a big chest is training it, recovering from your workouts properly, and giving it plenty of time to develop.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/28/2017 - 10:06
John

I train at home, I have a rack, adjustable bench, barbell, EZ Curl Bar and Dumbbells, but no machines.

Some of the exercises here require machines. What are some good alternatives to the following:

Leg Curl
Leg Press
Leg Extensions
Seated Cable Row
Cable Tricep Extension

For Leg Press I was thinking more squats with less weight due to the higher rep range, or Front Squats.
For Cable Tricep Extensions I was thinking Seated French Press, since the routine already includes Skullcrushers.

Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:16
JoshEngland

Hi John,

Check out our exercise database in the link below. You should be able to find several suitable alternatives to those exercises that utilize equipment you do have access to.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/26/2017 - 17:05
Sus

Hi
Is there any other workout I can do to change the incline dum curls, that gives the same benefit? Or objective

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:19
JoshEngland

Hi Sus,

Sure, any curl variation will provide a similar benefit. Although the angle the incline provides does make the incline dumbbell curl more challenging than some variations. Below is our complete exercise database for bicep exercises. Feel free to sub in a curl variation you prefer.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/biceps

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:13
Tom

Hi Josh,

I've been following this program for a couple of months now, and seen some solid progress. But it's only recently that I've started to properly monitor my diet and aim for a caloric surplus. I've opted for HIIT three times a week as I don't want to bulk too heavily, and I enjoy doing cardio too. My questions are: Would you recommend a target surplus in terms of calorie intake for a lean bulk? I'm aiming to eat around 3000 cals a day, which should put me at a surplus of around 300 cals, is this enough, or would you advise more? Secondly, do you think 3xHIIT per week is too much, or is it good to keep unwanted fat off during the bulk?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:44
JoshEngland

Hi Tom,

Congrats on your progress so far man!

So, it is important to keep in mind that when bulking (or in any surplus) some form of fat gain is to be expected. Although, it's not the end of the world as you should be able to see increases in lean mass as well.

Everyone is different. The target goal most recommend is 250-500 to minimize the risk of fat gain.

3 HIIT sessions per week should be fine and depending on the form of HIIT you're performing, could even aid in building more lean muscle. The important thing though is to plan your cardio sessions with your weight lifting sessions in mind. You want to make sure you're recovery popularly to ensure you actually do grow.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/02/2017 - 06:20
Tom

Thanks for your response Josh! I'm actually considering adding in a fifth workout day on Saturday (my workout currently runs Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri) to target my upper body. Not a huge number of new exercises, but just a couple targeting chest, back and maybe one for shoulders. Would you recommend adding in some variations that focus on heavy weight/low reps, or lower weight/high reps, or a combination of the two?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/02/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi Tom,

You're welcome! You can add a 5th day in if you feel that it will help you achieve your goals and won't prohibit you from recovering properly from your workouts. And you could do either or with this program in terms of rep ranges. Personally though, I'm not sure that it is necessary. You're getting plenty of work within this workout alone. You may be better off doing some form of active recovery outside of the gym for that 5th workout.

Hope this help!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:49
Karen

What does 1 RM mean when deciding how heavy a weight to use.
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:58
JoshEngland

Hi Karen,

1RM = 1 Rep Max

This means the maximum amount of weight you can do for just one rep.

There's some controversy about completely maxing out to determine your 1RM, as a lot of times there is a break down in form to ensure you get the weight up. Thus, a lot of people recommend finding a weight you'll fail with within the 3-5 range and entering it into a 1RM calculator to find your 1RM. Below is a link to our 1RM calculator if you want to give it a shot yourself.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bench-press-calculator

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/23/2017 - 22:29
Jonathan

If I've only been working out for a couple of months, will this program still be beneficial to me?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/24/2017 - 09:36
JoshEngland

Hi Jonathan,

Sure, if you feel like you can do each of these exercises for the amount of prescribed volume (reps/set) with perfect form, you should be fine performing this workout program.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/23/2017 - 16:39
SUD

I have question about cardio in this program, during buik, how many times should I do cardio and also is this program is good for cutting?

Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/24/2017 - 09:35
JoshEngland

Hi SUD,

That's up to you and depends on your goals. I know some people who perform low intensity cardio everyday even while on a bulk. The important thing while bulking is to be in a slight caloric surplus to add lean muscle.

Yes, this program can be used to aid in fat loss during a cut. Bulking and cutting is more dependent on the calories you're consuming rather than the workouts you are performing. Grant it, certain workouts will allow you to burn more calories than others.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/20/2017 - 14:50
John

am 18 years old (for bonus with my first comment)

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/20/2017 - 14:49
John

Hi.
i Have a question about exercises.
Its enought to train for example biceps only with 1 exercises?
I try push/pull and i have something around 3-4 exercises per muscle (upper body) and train muscle 2times per week.
I will be thankfull for answer :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:32
JoshEngland

Hi John,

The arms tend to get targeted indirectly with a lot of lifts. They are also a smaller muscle group. Thus, they don't need as much direct work as a lot of the larger muscle groups.

So long as you are training in a progressive manner, you should see progress.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/12/2017 - 15:52
Ryan

I play soccer Wednesday nights and Sundays I was thinking of giving this routine a shot and maybe doing my power lower on fridays and hypertrophy lower on mondays. Do you think this is wise?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/12/2017 - 16:59
JoshEngland

Hi Ryan,

It depends on how well you recover and how strenuous your soccer games are. It may be difficult to go from a soccer game Sunday night to a leg focused workout on Monday, but everyone is different.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/11/2017 - 11:09
Ron

Since this is considered an intermediate routine, are there minimum weights I should be lifting for squats, deads, bench, etc.?