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Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training (PHAT): The Definitive Guide

Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training (PHAT) is one of those systems that will smash you into the ground like a ten-ton jackhammer… but survive it and the gains are amazing bro. 

Mos Def once wrote a song called Ms Phat Booty, presumably about a girl with an ass so big her pants need a licence plate stitched on them.

Unfortunately, this article isn’t about phat booty but phat, jacked mass. The kind of workout plan that’ll have you dicing up pure slabs of muscle mass with brute strength to match in a matter of weeks.

Why should you read this article?

If you’re one of those 3 sets of 10 dudes that wonders why his arms look like sniveling snot trails and his chest is more thimble than barrel, this brutally-advanced muscle growth system is THE cure you need.

In this definitive guide we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training system.

It’s gonna be a glorious journey…

Here’s a broverview:

  • PHAT uses power days as well as traditional hypertrophy days to build both strength and muscle mass.
  • A typical PHAT program sees you hitting the iron house for 4 workouts per week – more if you want to split the upper and lower days down a little more.
  • The emphasis for power days is on heavy loads and fast speeds, whereas hypertrophy days are all about volume and pump.
  • There’s a real risk of overtraining using Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training so plan a deload every few weeks to keep things productive.

What is PHAT Workout?

PHAT is a system for bodybuilders who not only want to carve out jacked mass but also strength and functional power too.

Power training

The Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training (PHAT) workout system was designed by expert scientist and alpha bro Layne Norton. He’s a dude that not only talks the talk but walks the walk too. With a PhD in nutritional sciences, a solid powerlifter and a take-no-shit attitude, he’s the real MVP when it comes to hard training science.

Layne’s PHAT system is a workout program designed to deliver maximum muscle mass and bar-bending strength.

Imagine the speed of the Flash, the strength of Superman and the ballistic power of Atom Smasher. That’s what you’re working towards.

All you need is an ability to talk to fish and you’re straight up DC bro.

While the system might look complex at first glance, it’s pretty simple. The program is divided into 2 different training days:

  1. Hypertrophy (muscle growth) days
  2. Power days

PHAT is designed in a way that allows you to bomb the sh*t out of your major muscle groups twice per week – once with traditional muscle building exercises, and once with more novel strength and power training.

The normal system works like this:

  • Day 1 – Upper body power
  • Day 2 – Lower body power
  • Rest
  • Day 4 – Upper body hypertrophy
  • Day 5 – Lower body hypertrophy
  • Day 6 & 7 – Rest

Current research shows that hitting a muscle twice each week leads to greater muscle and strength gains.

So, with a double hit each week, this system is guaranteed to give you good results.

“This ain’t for beginners”

The bread and butter of any great workout plan is progressive overload. It’s only by challenging your muscular system and getting out of your comfort zone that it adapts, recovers and grows.

The difference between PHAT and traditional overload programs though is that the Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training system is above and beyond.

Give it to a noob lifter and it’ll leave them crying in the fetal position in a pool of their own p*ss, reeling from DOMS.


Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training: How Does it Work?

A typical PHAT routine mixes power and hypertrophy throughout the week.

Power days:

Day 1 and day 2 of your PHAT week are taken up with workouts focused on upper and lower body heavy load power. 

The emphasis is on compound, multi-muscle exercises that help you develop brute force strength. You’re going high on the load-velocity curve and stacking up the plates for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps.

You can also throw in some ‘fun’ assistance exercises too – with higher rep ranges. These tend to be performed on smaller muscle groups such as hamstrings or triceps.

One or two of these is fine… but no more than that.

To maximize load, you should be taking longer recovery between sets. Research shows that resting for longer is superior to shorter rest periods for strength.

Exercises to throw into power days include:

  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Overhead press
  • Rows
  • Pull-ups
  • Bench press
  • Leg press variations
  • Hip hinges such as Romanian deadlift

Hypertrophy days:

On days 4 and 5 you’ll be clocking into the weights room with one clear purpose… to flood your muscles with anabolic goodness and build good quality muscle mass with high volume training.

Channel your inner bro and aim to swell up your sh*t with multiple sets of muscle-burning, pump-inducing isolation/compound lifts. Keep rest times to 1-3 minutes to pool as much blood into your muscles as you can – aim for the mega pump swole effect.

High velocity speed round

First, complete 4-8 sets of exercises used in days 1 and 2. Go for a load that’s around 70% of that used for power days and blast out 3 fast reps per set with the speed of Charlie Sheen after a few nose beers.

90 seconds rest between speed sets keeps the intensity high.

Traditional bodybuilding

After the speed round (sounds like a cheesy game show), chalk up your hands for some old time bodybuilding training.

Use a variety of isolation and compound upper body lifts on day 4… and on day 5 you can do the same but for your wheels. That way you’ll avoid the chicken leg bitch look that seems all to popular with the ‘err day arm day’ bros.

Note: Days 3, 6 and 7 are rest days. No need to train on these. Go for a massage, take a walk, relax. 

Go for 8-20 reps per exercise and keep the rest to less than 3 minutes. Use a load of around 50-75% of your max to allow high reps in each set.

For more info on traditional bodybuilding exercises you can check out the following detailed guides:

Power hypertrophy training for legs

Is This Workout for Me?

Are you an experienced lifter with an unf*ckwithable attitude and the passion to get fist deep in the trenches of high-volume strength training?

If so, this workout is for you.

Are you a beta pussy who’d rather read a copy of Esquire while performing an ‘intense’ static bike workout? Are you more about taking changing room selfies than actually grinding through a tough weights workout?

If so, f*ck you.

You don’t need to read on as we’re telling you right now this system isn’t for you.

What Are the Benefits?

At this point you’re salivating at thought of giving this bad boy a spin. You might even have a boner in your gym leggings.

But before you start putting this workout into practice, let’s look at some of the core benefits of PHAT training in more detail.

  • Force production – improve power, speed, acceleration and raw strength
  • Functional hypertrophy – more muscle that doesn’t only look great but performs well too
  • Athlete conditioning – build stamina, endurance and smash fatigue in half
  • Get fuarking ripped bro – PHAT will get you damn lean and shredded son

The whole idea of Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training is that it isn’t all about aesthetics, but function as well. There’s no point looking jacked if you can’t pull sh*t. PHAT is a system for athletes that want both mass and power.

Your Typical PHAT Workout Routine

The beauty of the iron game is that you can adapt exercises that suit your own goals. If you’re not a barbell bench kinda guy you can use dumbbells, if the preacher doesn’t get your dick hard you can go with the standing curl.

If you don’t want to squat you can…err… squat (no getting out of that one bro).

To give you a running start we’ve put together a workout schedule we’ve tried ourselves. Granted, we’re more demigod than human, but try it nonetheless… you might be able to keep up.

Power day 1:

  • Flat barbell bench press (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Weighted dip (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Pendlay Row (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Pulldown (3-5 sets of 8-12 reps)
  • Military press (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Underhand, narrow-grip pull-ups (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Narrow grip bench press (3-5 sets of 8-12 reps)

Power day 2:

  • Barbell front squat (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Hack squat machine (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)
  • Leg Press (3-5 sets of 8-12 reps)
  • Lying leg curl (3-5 sets of 8-12 reps)
  • Standing calf raise (3-5 sets of 3-5 reps)

Hypertrophy day 4

  • Speed lifts
  • Incline dumbbell press (3 sets of 8-20 reps)
  • Pull-ups (3 sets of 8-20 reps)
  • Upright row (3 sets of 8-20 reps)
  • Low pulley cable row (3 sets of 8-20 reps)
  • Dumbbell lateral raise (3 sets of 8-20 reps)
  • Dumbbell single arm row (3 sets of 8-20 reps)
  • Arnold press (3 sets of 8-20 reps)

Hypertrophy day 5

  • Speed lifts
  • Narrow stance leg press
  • Lying leg curl
  • Hack squat
  • Walking lunges
  • High dumbbell step-up
  • Seated calf raise


Workout Notes: The PHAT Workout

When it comes to full bro training, there are a small number of workout principles that you HAVE to stick to. Follow them and gains are granted; ignore them and no one will remember your name.

Training frequency

All or nothing is the name of the game bro.

Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training isn’t a system you can dip into like some cheap hoe you bang every now and then after a night at the bar. It’s a system you need to respect with the right attitude and commitment.

Training with the correct frequency is key to good results. The twice-per-week approach for power and hypertrophy is set like that for a reason.

So follow it.


Go hard and heavy… or go home and don’t waste real lifters’ oxygen.

Like any advanced strength system, PHAT demands max effort. And while training to failure might not be necessary for optimal mass, training to fatigue is – so make sure you choose weights that don’t leave much in the tank.

And once they start to get easier, trade them in for the next weights on the rack.

Keep pushing.


Use PHAT in blocks for the best results.

Training hard for too long can often result in overtraining – a condition where performance decreases, strength disappears, and your immune function falls faster than a blonde joke at a feminist convention.

It can take months to recover from and leads to a complete loss in performance, muscle mass and strength.

We’ve written in detail about overreaching and overtraining before. But all you need to know is that you can’t follow something as intense as PHAT without structured breaks. Try 3-6 weeks of the system before taking a week off.

Then repeat.

Signs of overtraining include:

  • A big drop in strength and stamina, particular during high velocity lifting
  • You suffer from coughs and colds more often
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of energy and libido
  • Soreness in muscles and joints

As you get more used to the demands of PHAT you can drop an extra week onto the program before your next break.

That way you’ll avoid overtraining and make nothing but beautiful gains without the side effects.


A deload is a planned block of training where optimizing recovery is prioritized. It’s not complete rest, but a reduction in intensity or volume to help you reduce fatigue and bounce back stronger.

After a few weeks of Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training you’ll be due a break. During intense periods of exercise, you slowly build up fatigue. Once that fatigue hits a certain threshold you start to see a decrease in training associated with overtraining.

Then you’re in a world of hurt.

A deload is where you reduce the volume of your training significantly in order to reduce fatigue, restore (and improve) performance, and give your muscles time to grow.

It’s a tool used by everyone from athletes to bodybuilders.

There are 3 main ways to deload:

  • Lower volume of training (reps and sets)
  • Reduced intensity (less load)
  • Change of exercises

You can’t train hard forever, especially on a workout plan such as PHAT. Taking a week off hard training gives you the perfect opportunity to deload, reload and come back to the gym fitter and stronger.

So, don’t be an ass and think you can work through it.


If you’re a bro that’s ready for a new challenge or suffer from boredom from basic bitch workouts that are limiting your progress, Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training is the way forward.

It’ll ramp up your gains, supercharge your power and give you solid strength. Plan it out in advance and make sure you take your deloads when needed.

Think cleverly bros… and enjoy


  1. Would DUP be similar to this or should that type of training be done prior? If a 400 wilks is suggested then seems like before. But honestly I’m not completely sure that Layne Norton is as on point as he sometimes gives off. He’s strong of course but not an elite level lifter by any means, and some of the top guys don’t necessarily jive with this. Ben Pollack is one guy who comes to mind.

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