Build Mass & Strength With The PHAT Workout


Become a bodybuilding and powerlifting hybrid.

P.H.A.T. – Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training. It’s a training program designed by natural bodybuilder and powerlifter Layne Norton. A very experienced man in the industry (he even has a Ph.D) and a man known for his in-depth writing and podcasts. It involves a combination of powerlifting and bodybuilding training into one workout routine. Traditionally, powerlifters often use lower reps and high weight whereas bodybuilders aim for mass using higher reps and less weight. Well, in comparison to bodybuilders at least.

This seems like two opposite tactics, right? Well Layne Norton has put together a training system that is able to combine both. Let’s get into it.

chest workoutSo What’s It All About?

When it comes to bodybuilding, there’s a tendency to focus more on sculpting the body than building strength. Sure, your average bodybuilder is going to be pretty damn strong compared to a normal person, but when put up against a powerlifter or strong man – there’s no comparison. What Layne Norton’s system hopes to accomplish is giving you massive gains; a shredded and ripped physique – plus the strength of a bodybuilder and powerlifter all in one.


So how does it work? Well, the philosophy behind this training system is the relationship between mass and strength. To some degree mass and strength are proportionate. In order to gain mass you need to both lift heavy and have a diet that will cause you to bulk. Does this mean the bigger you are the stronger you are? Not at all, but there is a correlation between the two.

You think any of the pro bodybuilders would weigh upwards of 250 pounds just by eating big and curling 45 pounds dumbbells? A 135 pound bench press isn’t going to do much for muscle gains. The PHAT system hopes to help both bodybuilders and powerlifters. For powerlifters it will put on more mass to break a plateau and for bodybuilders it will help gain more strength in order to pack on mass.

PHAT Overview

Now let’s look into what the entire PHAT training routine looks like. A quick note before we jump in; this is a very intense program that will push you past perceived limits. This is perfectly fine – a bodybuilder must push past their limits in order to achieve. But be smart. If you are a beginner bodybuilder this might not be for you. Know your limits. Don’t injure yourself.

Now that we got that out of the way. Let’s look at the PHAT program.

Day 1: Upper Body Power Day

Pendlay Rows: 3×3-5
Weighted Pull-Ups: 2×6-10
Rack Chins: 2×6-10
Bench Press: 3×3-5
Overhead Press: 3×6-10
Cambered Bar Curls: 3×6-10
Skull Crushers: 3×6-10

Day 2: Lower Body Power Day

Squats: 3×3-5
Hack Squats: 2×6-10
Leg Extensions: 2×6-10
Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3×5-8
Glute Bridges: 2×6-10
Standing Calf Raises: 3×6-10
Seated Calf Raises: 2×6-10
Weighted Crunches: 2×6-10

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy Day

Pendlay Rows: 6×3, 65-70% of 3-5 max
Rack Chins: 3×8-12
Seated Cable Row: 3×8-12
Dumbbell Shrugs (incline): 2×12-15
Close Grip Pulldowns: 2×15-20
Seated Dumbbell Presses: 3×8-12
Uprights Rows: 2×12-15
Side Lateral Raises: 3×12-20
Woodchoppers: 3×8-12

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy Day

Squats: 6×3, 65-70% of 3-5 max
Hack Squats: 3×8-12
Leg Presses: 2×12-15
Leg Extensions: 3×15-20
Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3×8-12
Lying Leg Curls: 2×12-15
Seated Leg Curls: 2×15-20
Standing Calf Raises: 4×10-15
Seated Calf Raises: 3×15-20

Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy Day

Bench Press: 6×3, 65-70% of 3-5 max
Incline Bench Press: 3×8-12
Chest Press: 3×12-15
Incline Cable Flyes: 2×15-20
Preacher Curls: 3×8-12
Dumbbell Concentration Curls: 2×12-15
Spider Curls (incline): 2×15-20
Seated Tricep Extensions: 3×8-12
Rope Press Downs: 2×12-15
Hydra Presses: 2×10-12

Day 7: Rest

Try It For Yourself

Now that you know the basics, give it a shot. Let us know if this hybrid of powerlifting and bodybuilding works for you. Remember, there is no one magical workout system that will turn you into the perfectly sculpted bodybuilder. Ultimately it’s the right kind of diet on top of your weight training in order to bulk up to the size you want. Either way, your training methods may be tried and true, but it doesn’t hurt to switch things up with a different look once in awhile.

What do you guys think of the PHAT system? Will it give you gains you seek? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.