Today we’re going to be talking about something a bit different, as today we’re going to be looking at the PHUL workout program.
Do you want to build the strength of a thousand men and build a physique that a multiple-time Mr. Olympia winner would be envious of?
If you do then you might want to start believing in miracles.
Sounds a bit harsh?
Well, we’re realists here, and sadly it isn’t possible to build the strength of a thousand men.
What is possible, however, is building a truly fantastic physique, and who knows, one day it could potentially win you multiple Olympia titles.
It’s unlikely, but it’s certainly not impossible.
What is far more realistic, however, is that, with the right amount of hard work, dedication, dieting, and following the right training program, you could improve your physique exponentially so that you look better than ever.
This is where the importance of a reliable, effective, tried, and tested workout program really becomes apparent.
There are heaps of training routines and workout programs out there that, well, they absolutely suck in some cases.
The PHUL training, however, is the real deal and is renowned for its physique and performance enhancing-boosting capabilities.
Here is the ultimate PHUL guide.
Table Of Contents
The PHUL protocol is an innovative new training program which is carried out over the course of 4 days.
It is, therefore, a 4-day split and is proving to be hugely popular in the bodybuilding and fitness communities.
PHUL stands for Power, Hypertrophy, Upper, and Lower.
Many experts in their respective fields consider the PHUL training to be the gold standard of training programs.
But why is it so popular?
Well, it’s popular because it damned well works, and it works incredibly well.
One thing you’ll notice when you watch footage of pro bodybuilders training in the gym, or even huge meatheads down at your local gym pumping iron, is the fact that they don’t try to over-complicate things or do anything fancy.
You don’t see huge jacked 275-pound monsters doing a one-armed headstand push up against the wall whilst holding a Kettlebell in their freehand because it simply doesn’t work for what they want to achieve.
Those complicated exercises and movements may work for gymnasts or CrossFit athletes, but those people aren’t training purely for strength and muscle mass.
The typical movements you’ll see your typical bodybuilder performing in the gym consist of plenty of compound exercises with barbells and dumbbells.
These exercises are sometimes known as the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the gym because they’re nothing fancy, but they get the job done.
Because of the popularity of social media, and because people love to jump on bandwagons and be easily swayed by people in the public eye, you’ll find that the online fitness community nowadays, is an enormous contradiction.
Seriously, you can literally read one article talking about why carbs are bad for you and detrimental for muscle growth, scroll down a little on the search results and come across an article talking about how crucial it is that you eat carbs if you want to build muscle.
One reason why so many bodybuilding and gym newbies struggle to build muscle and make any real progress is because of the fact that getting a straight answer for any fitness-related question is the equivalent of scaling Everest in your underwear during a blizzard.
This is one reason why the PHUL protocol was created – to give transparency when it comes to building muscle and increasing your strength.
So, we’ve established that PHUL was created to provide a simple and easy-to-understand workout program and routine for people looking to build muscle and increase their strength, but what the heck is the "PHUL"?
Well, the power, hypertrophy, upper, lower workout is a traditional bodybuilding-based training workout that is designed to pack muscle mass onto followers of the workout, whilst simultaneously ensuring that they become bigger and stronger in the process.
It is a form of progressive overload training as the basic idea is to build muscle and strength over a prolonged period of time.
Now, as you can probably guess from the title, the workout requires you to train muscles located in your upper body, and muscles located in your lower body, on separate days.
Basically, it’s a variant of a typical upper/lower split, whereby each target muscle group is trained twice per week.
As mentioned, you train 4 days per week on PHUL, whereby 2 of the days are based on increasing your strength and power, whereby the other two days are hypertrophy-based, which means that they’re designed to promote muscle growth.
On the upper body days, you will train the following muscle groups:
On your lower body training days however, you’ll hit the following muscle groups:
To give you an idea of how a PHUL schedule will look, we’re going to show you the following.
Remember, it’s vital that you follow the training schedule to the letter, and that you do precisely as instructed.
Skipping workouts, trying to mix things up, or doing your own thing will render the program obsolete and in all honesty, you may as well not have bothered.
Here’s how the PHUL training schedule should look:
|Barbell Bench press||3-5||3-4|
|incline Dumbbell Bench Press||6-10||3-4|
|Lat Pull Down||6-10||3-4|
|Incline Barbell Bench Press||8-12||3-4|
|Flat Bench Dumbbell Flye||8-12||3-4|
|Seated Cable Row||8-12||3-4|
|One Arm Dumbbell Row||8-12||3-4|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||8-12||3-4|
|Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl||8-12||3-4|
|Cable Triceps Extension||8-12||3-4|
|Seated Calf Raise||8-12||3-4|
Now we’re going to delve a little deeper into the world of PHUL and we’re going to be taking a look first at the strength and power days on PHUL routines.
On your strength and power days of PHUL, the idea is shock horror, to train with strength and power in mind.
On these days, you’ll be performing a wide range of exercises, which are primarily heavy compounds.
Needless to say, you’ll be using a lot of dumbbells and barbells on these days, performing exercises such as barbell bench presses, incline dumbbell presses, barbell bent-over rows, barbell squats, barbell deadlifts, skull crushers, and more.
There are of course some machines included, with exercises such as Leg press, leg curls, and lat pulldowns all relying on the use of machines.
In terms of rep ranges you will be performing, and working sets, it is usually 4 sets, with rep ranges on power days varying from 4 reps up to 12 reps.
Now, on hypertrophy days when the goal is to build muscle, you’ll find that things have changed somewhat.
On hypertrophy days, you will still perform plenty of compound exercises, though now there will also be some isolation work thrown in as well, with these exercises being performed via machines such as cable crossers and so on.
You’ll perform exercises such as lateral raises, bench press, dumbbell flyes, dips, cable rows, cable triceps extensions, standing calf raises, front squats, leg curls, leg extensions, incline seated dumbbell curls, and plenty more besides.
Again, as you can see, there is nothing fancy about this routine, or the exercises that you are performing.
They aren’t fancy or very complicated, but if executed right, they get the job done.
But what about working sets and rep ranges?
Well, again, 4 is the magic number when it comes to working sets.
In terms of reps, however, the number is very different from your strength and power days.
As muscle growth is the objective, you should be performing between 10 and 12 reps on average.
This means selecting a weight in which you can perform at least 8 – 10 reps before it starts to feel tough.
You want to be hitting failure at around rep 10 or rep 12, depending on which exercise you are doing.
You might also want to check the PPL Workout.
The PHUL program isn’t just a quick fix.
It is designed to be followed for a number of weeks/months before you eventually switch things up to stop becoming complacent.
Needless to say, if you follow the PHUL program for 16 weeks, by the time you hit week 16, you should now be a lot stronger than you were during week 1.
This means that when you perform your various exercises, you should now be using much heavier weights than you were using in your first week.
As an example, during week 1 on your hypertrophy day, if you were benching 135lbs for 10 reps before hitting failure, on week 16 135lbs should now be your warm-up.
Now, when you performing your working sets of 10 – 12 reps on the bench, you should be using a considerably heavier weight.
We don’t precisely know how much because each person is different.
As long as you are stronger and using heavier weights, however, you’ll be fine.
Of course, we all naturally plateau sometimes when it comes to our strength, so what do we do then?
Well, rather than using a heavier weight, you can instead perform a few more reps until you reach failure that way.
As long as you are progressing and aren’t doing the same things at the end of the program that was doing at the start, you will continue to make gains and see some very noticeable progress.
So, what are some of the benefits of PHUL over other well known and arguably more common workout programs and routines?
Well, actually, there are more than you think.
Some of the main benefits of following the PHUL workout program include the following:
Needless to say, with ‘Power’ in the title, you can probably guess that it's going to be something pretty special when it comes to getting stronger.
Strength isn’t just a perk of lifting weights that allows you to show off to the guys at the gym or to try and get more likes on social media by sharing videos of how much you can bench, squat, and deadlift.
Strength is a commodity that will help you out in all avenues of life.
Not only will being strong help make everyday tasks easier, but it will also enable you to continue progressing with your training and to make better gains.
The more gains you are able to make, the better you’ll look and feel. Speaking of looking good…
Hypertrophy is a technical term used to describe growth, specifically, muscle growth.
When you aren’t performing heavy compound lifts to get stronger, you’re working out with weights to build muscle, get leaner, and get a better physique in general.
If you follow this program, as long as you are eating right and nailing all other aspects of your bodybuilding lifestyle, you’ll find yourself building some very serious muscle before too long.
While the PHUL isn’t technically designed to assist with fat loss, if you are following a healthy anabolic diet and watching what you eat, and how much you eat, you’ll find that another very welcome perk of the PHUL training program is the fact that you are getting leaner.
The heavy compounds and the intense training you perform requires a lot of energy, and you’ll find yourself burning off a lot of calories when following this program.
There are plenty of other training routines out there designed to promote strength, yet many of them are lacking in terms of exercise variety.
5x5, for example, maybe very effective, but by the time you’ve finished with it, you’ll never want to perform another bench press, military press, squat, or deadlift again in your life.
The PHUL workout program, however, offers plenty of other exercise options so your training continues to be fun rather than boring and monotonous.
Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.