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.

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, 05/14/2019 - 22:34

Nutritionally, would any benefit come doing this workout while cutting/in fat loss caloric range....or would it be better to wait until I'm in maintenance or bulking calorie range?

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Posted Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:16

How would we progress the weight? Will it be every week?

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Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 13:42

Great work out josh been waiting for a great split and you’ve nailed it 4 weeks in and misses can see a change and for that I thank you would to see a diet plan from you soooooooon as you are now my marriage canceller x

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 16:43

Hi Billy,

Glad I could help! I'll definitely see what we can do in the future. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 10:33
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 Sat, 05/11/2019 - 10:55

If i dont have access to a machine park, what would be good exercises to replace leg extension and leg curl with?

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Posted Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:19
Edward Johnson

Would this program be great for beginners?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/09/2019 - 09:49

Hi Edward,

It's not ideal for beginners. I'd suggest one of these: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

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Posted Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:43

I prefer 6 days of lifting with Sunday as rest. Would you recommend repeating the power or atrophy workouts for days 5&6? Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:09

Hi Matt,

Definitely not atrophy :) - I'd personally go with the hypertrophy days. Although, the rest is important as well.

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2019 - 05:27

Just wondered if on the strength days I can superset some of the exercises (obviously the unrelated muscles). E.g dumbbell press/dumbbell curls. Just to save time because the rest is so long

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/06/2019 - 10:57

Hi Cam,

Sure, I don't see why not.

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Posted Sun, 04/28/2019 - 14:43

What do you recommend for cardio ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/30/2019 - 16:37

Hi Nicolas,

Personally, I walk my dog fasted for 45 mins in the morning. Whatever cardio you choose, make it one you enjoy and at a time of day you can be consistent at it. Also, ensure it doesnt affect your performance in the gym.

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Posted Fri, 04/26/2019 - 16:54
Strong muscle

It works great I've been on it for eight weeks now and I can see the changing of size and strength also ..
I lose some fat around mid section..


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Posted Sun, 04/14/2019 - 22:13
Tom D

Hi Josh,

I’ve been running Reddit nSuns for the last few months and I’m now looking to switch it up and move over to PHUL, but I have a couple of questions.

1. There are only 2 isolation exercises for biceps and triceps per week, which is 8 sets of each per week. I was under the impression that it’s optimal to do between 12-16 sets isolation for each per week. Would it be ok to add an additional tricep exercise on my power day and an additional bicep on my hypertrophy or vice versus?

2. Is there enough shoulder work in this programme? Should I add anything extra to focus on my rear delts and I feel like one more front delts exercise would be best? Would it be ok to add in something like facepulls or rear delt flyes in on the power day and then a DB seated ohp on the hypertrophy day?

Sorry if these questions are stupid, but i just want to make sure that each muscle has the volume it needs for optimal growth.

Thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 09:17

Hi Tom,

The program itself is simply a template, you can modify it in whatever way you deem necessary to fulfill your individual goals.

Personally, I think the arm volume is plenty since the arms are such a small muscle group that gets worked indirectly through nearly every upper body compound.

If you wanted to add rear delt work in, I would say it'd likely be beneficial.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/09/2019 - 19:28
Michael Vi

I’ve got a hip strain/impingement on my right. Could I still work out or should I rest until hip strain/pinch recovers?

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Posted Mon, 04/08/2019 - 09:57

I'm coming up on the end of my first 12 week cycle. I'd like to change up the exercises for my next 12 weeks. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of switching the power exercises given above to hypertrophy and vice versa.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/08/2019 - 10:20

Hi Fender,

That'd be a very good strategy imo.

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Posted Sat, 04/06/2019 - 04:41
Matei Dumitru

hello! i ve been running this programme for 5 weeks now and i feel like i m stuck with my lifts and also i feel sore... should i deload? if yes, should i also deloas the accesories?

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Posted Wed, 04/03/2019 - 06:16

Good morning, I only have 25 min each day to work out. Would it be ok to do the program 7 days a week and shorten the workouts each day?

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Posted Sat, 03/30/2019 - 15:18
paranoid 67

Shoulders amd biceps-triceps.. are they getting enough attention??

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Posted Sat, 03/30/2019 - 05:14
Emil Hemming Ch...

It mentions that it is a 12 week program, but only lays out 1 week of training. Are you supposed to repeat it 12 times or? :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:24

Hi Emil,

Yes, repeat for 12 weeks and track your workouts during the phase - aiming to improve on your lifts over the 12 weeks.

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Posted Wed, 03/27/2019 - 03:48

Liking the program but why is there only 2 shoulder exercises per week that seems very little

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2019 - 10:54

Do you think it’s possible to do this workout four days in a row by respecting 48h beetween the same body parts then take 2 days rests for work scheduled reasons ?

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2019 - 22:59

Two questions:

1) is it better to run this as a circuit workout? Or do all sets of one exercise, then move onto doing all sets of the next exercise and so on?

2) What's a good workout to "upgrade" to after finishing this one?

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2019 - 19:35

Bad programming, a lot of volume and high intensity, most people won't recover from it.

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 04:02

Hi Daniel. I'm doing a version of this program my self. Can you please let me know a better version ? I'm looking to switch my program.

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2019 - 13:49

So, why dumbbell incline BP on power day but Barbell incline BP on Hypertrophy day? Why not just switch them for consistency?

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Posted Mon, 03/11/2019 - 00:56

If i do:
day 1 upper power
day 2 off
day 3 lower power
day 4 off
day 5 Upper Hypertrophy
day 6 Lower Hypertrophy
day 7 off

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Posted Fri, 03/08/2019 - 23:59

what if so: Day 1 Tuesday: Upper Power
Day 2 Wednesday: Off
Day 3 Thursday: Lower Power
Day 4 Friday: Off
Day 5 Saturday: Upper Hypertrophy
Day 6 Sunday: Lower Hypertrophy
Day 7 Monday: Off

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2019 - 11:00

This is the exact schedule I've been using. I like having the rest day between power days.

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Posted Fri, 03/29/2019 - 18:19

I am doing this schedule too. I just moved from stronglifts 5x5 to this. 2 weeks in, so far so good
I was after a program which i could still do the main lifts in a power lifting style while after hypertrophy. This program seems perfect.

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Posted Tue, 03/05/2019 - 05:57

What is the rest time in between sets please?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/05/2019 - 09:44

Hi Ben,

45 sec -1 min on hypertrophy and accessory lifts, 3-5 min on power lifts.

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Posted Sun, 03/03/2019 - 19:46

Can I substitute bench press for cable flies? I get shoulder pain with bench press.
Also how does weight increase work? Should we be progressive overload on an amrap set?

Thank you

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:48
Ozzy Saleh

Would doing day 1 day 2 day 3 and day 4 consecutively pose a problem?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:24

Hi Ozzy,

It's not ideal, but it can be done.

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2019 - 15:52
Aaron Blackwell

Do you eat the same amount of calories on your off days based on your MPS being elevated for up to 48 hours?

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2019 - 07:01

How does the weight progression work here exactly?

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 12:05

Personally I add 5lbs every time I can do max reps and sets. If it calls for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps once I hit 4 sets of 12 on that weight I go up 5lbs.

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2019 - 05:28
Trần Hoàng Long

I tried to do bentover rows, squat and dealift but ended up hurting my lower back for a week. It has not recovered,what would you suggest? I'm changing the rows for pull-ups, for instance, is it okay?

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Posted Sun, 02/24/2019 - 16:02

Can you do this program as a beginner? Ive been doing this split for 2 months now and ive been liftin weights for about 8 months soon. People are telling me that these many isolation exercises compared with compounds is too much for a beginner

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Posted Wed, 02/20/2019 - 06:23
Amr Rabiea

Is this program good for gaining mass and losing fat with a clean proper diet and some cardio post workout ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/20/2019 - 08:38

Hi Amr,

Yes, this program can be used for either of those goals.

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Posted Wed, 02/13/2019 - 09:54
Rakesh vemparala

Should we increase the weight for each set or we can maintain constant weights ?

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Posted Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:46

Can i do all the back workout on day 3 ?

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Posted Sun, 02/10/2019 - 13:35

is it possible to do only the hypertrophy days if my focus is to mainly look good. like this?

Day 1: Upper Hypertrophy
Day 2: Lower Hypertrophy
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Upper Hypertrophy
Day 5: Lower Hypertrophy
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off