The perfect workout routine for beginners simply doesn’t exist. There’s no way you can only go to the gym only four days a week and expect to build strength, power, and incredible muscle mass, right?
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For 10 years I’ve helped beginners build muscle fast.
Follow this plan to unleash quick, noticeable muscle gains.
Well, that was until the legendary PHUL workout routine was developed a few years back.
About the Creator – Brandon Campbell
The PHUL routine was created by a fitness enthusiast and personal trainer by the name of Brandon Campbell. He first began hitting the weight room back in high school when he was training for a position on the high school basketball team.
After a career-ending injury during a college basketball season, Campbell shifted his focus away from basketball and more toward fitness and nutrition. Since then, Brandom Campbell has built himself a career as a personal trainer and YouTuber that reviews powerlifting equipment and shares valuable weightlifting tips.
To date, Campbell’s PHUL workout has over 6 million hits online!
What is PHUL?
PHUL, also known as “Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower,” is a four-day split routine built mostly for intermediate lifters. It’s designed to boost muscle growth, strength, and power.
With PHUL, you’ll be in the gym four days a week for about 45-60 minutes per workout. This program is meant to last about 12 weeks in total, but you can stick with it a little longer if you’re still seeing gains.
PHUL centers around two different exercise training principles: Hypertrophy and power. The power days focus on a rep range of 3 to 10 reps while the hypertrophy days target 8 to 12 reps.
You’ll focus on each training style with both your upper and lower body on separate days. That means your routine will include….
- Upper (Power)
- Lower (Power)
- Upper (Hypertrophy)
- Lower (Hypertrophy)
This program can be completed in just about any gym with basic equipment. All you’ll need is access to dumbbells, barbells, and some fitness machines.
Need some home gym ideas and recommendations? Check out Strong Home Gym for reviews, lifting strategies, and more!
PHUL Workout Program Details
Day 1 – Upper Power
- Barbell Bench Press – 3-4 sets x 3-5 reps (120 seconds)
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3-4 sets x 6-10 reps (120 seconds)
- Bent-Over Row – 3-4 sets x 3-5 reps (120 seconds)
- Lat Pulldown – 3-4 sets x 6-10 reps (120 seconds)
- Overhead Press – 2-3 sets x 5-8 reps (120 seconds)
- Barbell Curl – 2-3 sets x 6-10 reps (120 seconds)
- Skullcrusher – 2-3 sets x 6-10 reps (120 seconds)
Day 2 – Lower Power
- Squat – 3-4 sets x 3-5 reps (120 seconds)
- Deadlift – 3-4 sets x 3-5 reps (120 seconds)
- Leg Press – 3-5 sets x 10-15 reps (120 seconds)
- Leg Curl – 3-4 sets x 6-10 reps (120 seconds)
- Calf Exercise – 4 sets x 6×10 reps (120 seconds)
Day 3 – REST
Day 4 – Upper Hypertrophy
- Incline Barbell Bench Press – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Seated Cable Row – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- One Arm Dumbbell Row – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Cable Tricep Extension – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
Day 5 – Lower Hypertrophy
- Front Squat – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Barbell Lunge – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Leg Extension– 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps (60 seconds)
- Leg Curl – 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps (60 seconds)
- Seated Calf Raise – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
- Calf Press – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps (60 seconds)
Day 6 – REST
Day 7 – REST
1. Short Workouts
If you’re leaning toward the lower end of the set range for PHUL, you’ll only be in the gym for about 20 sets or less for every workout. That means you’ll be in and out of the gym in less than an hour each day.
This can keep you from burning out your muscles and can help you to keep your muscles at full-strength for just about the entirety of the workout. No more fatigue!
2. Hits Each Muscle Group Twice Per Week
When you’re a beginner or intermediate, the best way to see gains is by targeting each muscle group more than once a week. Two or three days between hitting the same muscle group is more than enough time to allow your muscles to recover and return you to full strength.
What’s even better is that you’re focusing on different rep ranges. That means one single routine can help you to build power on some days and muscle mass on others.
3. Doesn’t Overwork Your Muscles
A lot of people assume that you need to ramp up the number of reps per muscle group to guarantee gains, but that’s not true. Doing too many reps per workout can severely fatigue your muscles and extend the required recovery time between workouts.
What’s even better about PHUL is that you’re hitting your smaller muscle groups mainly through compound exercises. You’ll then finish out each workout targeting whatever energy and power you have left in each of your smaller muscles.
1. Might Not Feel Like Enough
If you’re used to spending nearly every day in the gym for more than an hour at a time, PHUL might make you feel like you’re skimping out on your workouts. After all, some people just like to knock out extra sets and reps to feel more productive.
If you happen to find yourself at the end of each workout barely tired, you might want to try bumping up the resistance. The only reason you’re not at all tired is that you’re not pushing your muscles to their limits.
PHUL can be adapted to any lifter of just about any skill level. There are very few workout routines out there that target more than one fitness goal (hypertrophy and power) as PHUL does.
If you’re looking for a routine that won’t leave you in the gym for hours at a time, will help you guarantee muscle and strength gains, and is just fun to do, give PHUL a solid try!
Looking for a more high-volume routine? Check out the The PHAT Workout: Layne Norton’s Size and Strength Program.