PHUL Workout: Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower Program Guide – Garage Strength

PHUL Workout: Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower Program Guide

Have you been ignoring the best workout split ever? Maybe you’ve been doing it without knowing it, but is the PHUL program right for you?

PHUL stands for power hypertrophy upper lower. It’s a four day a week workout split for athletes and general lifters alike. The first two days concentrate on power-based movements, capitalizing on compound exercises to bolster overall strength.

The latter two days, however, shift to hypertrophy, where the volume increases to promote muscle growth and endurance. By integrating these two critical aspects of fitness into one program, a PHUL workout provides an inclusive platform for holistic physical development.

PHUL is a great introduction to variation-based programming for beginners or bodybuilders that want to include power training into their split. If you want something similar, but more advanced than PHUL, we created the Peak Strength app to help improve athletes through long-term development. In this article, we will touch on what PHUL is, an example of a weekly PHUL program, and different exercises to incorporate into your weekly training.


Weekly PHUL Workout Routine

The PHUL workout split is a 4-day routine that covers all aspects of stimulating the muscles through different levels of intensity. The first day is the power day, focusing on heavier weights and less volume. The second day is hypertrophy which will jump the volume, decrease the weight slightly, and build a massive pump. The third and fourth days are strictly for isolating the upper and lower body muscles.


On power days, the emphasis is on lifting heavier weights, while scaling back on the total number of reps. This might sound counterintuitive to some, but it is actually a crucial strategy for enhancing muscle power. The heavy weights ignite your muscles' highest capacity, triggering stronger contractions, while the lower reps prevent muscle fatigue, allowing you to maintain that high-intensity effort throughout the session.

The number of reps usually ranges from three to five, spanning three to five sets, thus ensuring the overall workout intensity remains high. This approach not only keeps the workout time-effective but also makes it more results-oriented.

For instance, if it’s a lower body power day, exercises might include squats, deadlifts, or leg presses. For an upper body power day, think of bench presses, rows, or overhead presses. The aim here is to push your muscles to their limit with heavier weights while challenging your strength, fostering power in the process.

The power day is all about engaging your muscles in a different way to promote growth and strength. It sets the tone for the rest of your PHUL week, fostering a solid foundation from which you can build upon throughout the week.


On hypertrophy days, the primary focus is to induce muscular growth. Instead of striving for maximum strength, the emphasis here is to create microtears in your muscle fibers through increased volume, meaning a higher number of sets and repetitions with lighter weights.

This approach stresses the muscles for a prolonged period, stimulating muscle protein synthesis and enhancing muscle growth during recovery periods.

You'll typically aim for 8 to 12 reps across 3 to 4 sets, with exercises tailored to continue the work you started on power days. For instance, on an upper body hypertrophy day, you might perform dumbbell bench presses, lateral raises, or bent over rows.

Similarly, on a lower body hypertrophy day, exercises like leg extensions, hamstring curls, or lunges could be included.

It's important to remember that while the weights are lighter compared to power days, the intensity remains high due to the increased volume of reps and sets. The hypertrophy day is your key to increasing muscle mass and getting that size that you’re stringing for to improve overall performance.

Upper Body

By taking a day's break between the hypertrophy day and the upper body day, your body gets the much-needed time to repair muscle fibers and replenish energy reserves.

This paves the way for an effective upper body day where your strength and stamina are at their peak, enabling you to tackle a demanding workout with finesse.

Your upper body day will begin with compound exercises such as the bench press, military press, or bent over rows. These exercises are great for targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously, enhancing your overall strength and muscle mass.

Following the compound exercises, you will move onto isolating specific upper body muscle groups – the back, shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps. Each of these muscle groups plays a pivotal role in defining your upper body aesthetics and functionality, and deserves dedicated focus.

Exercises like lat pull-downs, shoulder presses, chest flyes, bicep curls, and tricep extensions can be incorporated into your routine for targeted muscle hypertrophy and development.

The upper body day is there to further develop the upper body adaptations you are working toward, highlighting the power and muscle mass you've built throughout the PHUL workout split.

Remember, the purpose is to challenge each muscle group, while still respecting your body's need for recovery. Embracing this balanced approach will help you achieve the defined, powerful upper body that you aspire to have.

Lower Body

The lower body workouts signify the culmination of your weekly fitness efforts. Focusing on power, strength, and muscle hypertrophy, this day is dedicated to strengthening the legs, arguably the foundation of your physique.

Your lower body day starts with compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, or cleans. These exercises engage multiple muscle groups at once, fostering a strong neurological and high-threshold motor unit response during your workout that stimulates muscle growth and boosts your metabolic rate.

As this is the last working day in the weekly split, it is an opportunity to push your boundaries and add more weight to the bar. This focus on high intensity encourages the adaptations of muscle hypertrophy and strength in your lower body while challenging your overall endurance and fitness.

Following the compound exercises, the next stage involves isolation exercises targeted at the hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Isolation exercises such as hamstring curls, leg extensions, and glute bridges allow you to focus intensely on these specific muscle groups, refining and sculpting them for a balanced, aesthetically pleasing lower body.

This day provides a powerful ending to your PHUL workout split, ensuring your lower body muscles are as well-defined and robust as your upper body ones.

Design of a PHUL Workout Program

Check out the program below for a look at how a PHUL workout (power hypertrophy upper lower) will look as a general program.

Exercises for Each Day of PHUL

Power Exercises


This compound movement not only engages your core and lower body but also stimulates your upper body, making it a comprehensive powerhouse of an exercise.

On a power day, the primary focus is on lifting heavy, and back squats are tailor-made for this objective. By loading the weight onto your shoulders, you create a direct pathway for the force from your legs to travel upwards, engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This makes the back squat a perfect exercise for pushing weight and fostering overall power.


The clean is another necessary addition to the power day of your PHUL workout split. Beyond the sheer power and strength that this full-body movement fosters, it also demands a high level of technical coordination, blending agility, speed, and precision into your power training regimen.

When performed correctly, the clean engages nearly every muscle in your body – from the legs driving the initial lift, the core stabilizing the body, to the arms pulling and catching the bar to develop athletic adaptations during an upper body power workout.


The deadlift effectively targets several major muscle groups, builds core stability, and is instrumental in developing absolute strength.

The deadlift is a compound movement that demands engagement from your legs, back, and core, thereby delivering an all-around power boost. It's renowned for its ability to build an impressively strong posterior chain – the muscles that run up the back of your body, including your hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles.

Given its intense, full-body engagement, the deadlift is typically performed in fewer repetitions but with heavier weights. Athletes often do 8 to 10 sets of doubles or triples, pushing their absolute strength to the limit while maintaining form and control.

Bench Press

One of the primary reasons the bench press stands out on power day is its ability to handle heavier loads. The exercise enables you to safely and effectively push your upper body to the limits of its strength and power capacity. Despite its suitability for hypertrophy day due to its multi-joint nature, bench press truly shines on power day when the goal is to exert maximum strength.

Typically performed with lower reps but higher weights, bench press provides a robust way to build strength, improve muscle size, and enhance power in the upper body. There really is no question that it’s a staple upper power exercise.

Hypertrophy Exercises

Push Press

Unlike the military press, which focuses primarily on the shoulders and triceps, the push press introduces the lower body into the equation, thereby making it a better exercise for hypertrophy workouts.

By integrating your legs' explosive power, the push press allows you to handle more reps since you are not strictly isolating the upper body, leading to increased volume. This is particularly beneficial for hypertrophy training, where the aim is to stimulate muscle hypertrophy through an accumulation of training volume.

Lat Pulldown

Lat pulldowns primarily target the large muscles in your back, known as the latissimus dorsi, or "lats," but they also engage your biceps and forearms, offering a more holistic upper body workout. Any hypertrophy workouts that are that skip on a lat exercise are leading you down a road with an incomplete core.

Their advantage over pull-ups comes in the ability to fine-tune the weight for increased volume and the opportunity to perform drop sets. This is where you gradually decrease the weight while increasing repetitions without rest, intensifying muscle fatigue and maximizing muscle breakdown.

Hammer Curls

As a variant of the traditional bicep curl, hammer curls uniquely target both the biceps and the brachialis, a muscle of the upper arm. In addition, they place a significant amount of stress on the forearm muscles, contributing to overall arm development.

One of the distinguishing aspects of hammer curls is their ability to isolate and emphasize the long head of the bicep. This can lead to improved shape and size of your biceps, enhancing the muscular 'peak' when your arm is flexed.

Skull Crushers

When it comes to strengthening and enlarging your triceps, skull crushers make an excellent addition to Hypertrophy Day in your PHUL workout split. While the exercise is often associated with tricep development, it also indirectly contributes to building your biceps by working on the muscles' antagonist group.

The way skull crushers are performed - with an emphasis on the full extension and flexion of the arm - encourages significant muscle breakdown in your triceps, which indirectly stimulates the biceps, contributing to overall arm growth.

Upper Body Exercises

Seated Dumbbell Press

On the upper body day of your PHUL workout program, the dumbbell military press offers a fantastic route to boosting shoulder strength and stability.

Utilizing dumbbells allows for a natural range of motion, accommodating any individual joint limitations or mobility restrictions you might have. This exercise is highly adaptable, with options such as neutral grip, pronated grip, or alternating press, each targeting different aspects of your shoulder and upper body muscles.

The dumbbell press also promotes unilateral strength and balance, as both sides of your body have to work independently to lift the weights.

Miracle Gro

What sets the miracle grow apart from a dumbbell pullover is its full range of motion, making it an excellent compound exercise to target your lats and triceps, while still engaging your chest muscles to a lesser extent.

Starting in the same position as a regular dumbbell pullover, you fully extend your arms and lower the dumbbell behind your head. The key difference is in the movement control. Instead of using your chest to bring the weight back, you engage your lats to control the lowering of the dumbbell and use your triceps to push it back to the starting position.

Bent Over Row

Known for its comprehensive engagement of multiple muscle groups, including the back, biceps, and forearms, the bent over row is a versatile tool for muscular development.

Even if a barbell isn't accessible, this exercise remains adaptable with dumbbells, ensuring you continue to reap the benefits. Ultimately, bent over rows can be a game-changer for your PHUL workout routine, enabling you to enhance your athletic performance and achieve your fitness goals.

Incline Bench

Primarily targeting the upper chest, front deltoids, and triceps, the incline bench press provides a great combination of power and hypertrophy work for fitting into your PHUL workout.

The unique angle of incline bench press allows for a broader range of muscle engagement than its flat bench counterpart. It emphasizes the upper pectoral muscles and shoulders more intensely, fostering balanced muscular development and power. This can aid in improving postural alignment and enhancing overall athletic performance.

Lower Body Exercises

Leg Press

The leg press primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It allows for the development of these crucial muscles without requiring extensive stability or balance, making it a great choice for both beginners and seasoned athletes who may be recovering from certain injuries.

Moreover, the versatility of the leg press should not be underestimated. By altering foot positioning, you can emphasize a different muscle group more effectively. For instance, placing your feet higher on the platform targets hamstrings and glutes more, while a lower foot position puts greater emphasis on the quads.

Single Leg Squat

Incorporating single leg squats into your PHUL workout provides an excellent means to develop lower body strength, balance, and fast-twitch muscle fibers. This unilateral exercise demands stabilization, coordination, and engages the core, adding an additional layer of complexity and benefit to your lower body training day.

One of the best ways to perform single leg squats is with a single leg roller stand. This tool assists in maintaining form and balance, enabling you to delve deeper into the movement while reducing the risk of injury. By doing so, you can maximize muscle engagement, particularly within the hamstrings and quadriceps.

Front Squat

What sets front squats apart is the dynamic trunk control and upper back stability they foster. As the barbell is placed at the front of your body, your torso works overtime to maintain an upright position, helping build a robust and stable core.

Moreover, the enhanced engagement of the upper back helps improve your posture and overall body mechanics. Front squats target your quads more directly, which can complement the hamstring focus of traditional back squats.

Nordic Curl

Nordic curls are exceptional in targeting the hamstrings, one of the most pivotal yet often neglected muscle groups in lower body training.

Unlike some other lower body exercises, nordic curls provide an intense eccentric load on the hamstrings. This unique loading stimulates muscle growth and significantly increases strength in this crucial muscle group, improving athletic performance and reducing the risk of injury.

If you have trouble doing nordic curls as they are, you can modify them by holding on to some powerlastic bands from behind.


Using the PHUL workout routine is actually a really good way to make strength gains while still getting the recovery you need to consistently make progress. By incorporating heavy intensity at the beginning and end of your training week, with hypertrophy in between, you’re sure to see improvement in all areas of your overall fitness.

The PHUL workout is one the best ways to be introduced to power-based training in and out of season because it still allows athletes to do sport specific practices. If you want to go beyond the typical PHUL workout, get specialized programming for each sport, and get access to over 700 exercises, try out Peak Strength for free on the Apple or Google Play stores.

Try using PHUL (power hypertrophy upper lower) then upgrade to Peak Strength to become an absolute BEAST. PEACE!

Individualized Training App

Get elite level strength programming with


Blog Topics

Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

Start Training With Me

Join for free educational videos EVERY WEEK on strength coaching and athletic performance

Previous PostNext Post

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published