The PHAT Workout: Benefits And Exercises

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Last Updated on December 8, 2022 by admin

What is the PHAT Workout?

Layne Norton, PhD, has spent his life studying human anatomy and physiology. He’s been working out since he was a teenager, competing in bodybuilding competitions and winning multiple awards.

His passion for fitness led him to study exercise science and become a certified personal trainer. 

After spending years researching how people increase muscle mass and strength, Dr. Norton developed the PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training).

This unique training program combines both powerlifting exercises and bodybuilding routines into one complete workout plan.

The PHAT program consists of four phases: Phase I – Sculpting Phase II – Building Phase III – Maintenance Phase IV – Recovery. Each phase is broken down into three weeks, with each week focusing on a specific goal.

For example, during Week One, you focus on building size and strength, while Week Two targets hypertrophy (muscle growth) and Week Three focuses on recovery and maintenance.

During Weeks Four and Five, you continue to work toward your long term goals, focusing on improving performance and preventing injuries.

Good For Beginners?

PHAT is now one of the most popular programs out there. In fact, it’s been around since 2009, making it one of the longest-standing strength training systems in existence.

And yes even beginners can embark on the PHAT journey. 

The PHAT system is based on three main principles: progressive overload, periodization and targeting. Progressive overload refers to increasing the intensity of a lift over time.

This allows a person to build up to heavier loads without having to worry about being injured. 

Periodization refers to dividing a program into different phases, allowing a lifter to focus on specific goals during each phase. Targeting is used to determine where a person’s weaknesses lie.

By working on those areas, a lifter can see improvements in his overall performance. So, yes, you can use PHAT to start building muscle, even if you’re just getting started.

PHAT Workout Goals 

PHAT can be classed as a hybrid workout routine combining elements of both bodybuilding and powerlifting. The goal of PHAT is to gain both mass AND strength.

This type of training allows athletes to work out with lighter loads and perform fewer repetitions per set while still achieving maximum gains.

In addition, it requires less recovery time than traditional bodybuilding routines.

Differences Between PHAT And Weight Lifting 

PHAT  and body building training are very similar. Both involve lifting heavy weight over many repetitions.

The main difference is that hypertrophy focuses on building muscle mass, whereas strength training emphasizes developing muscular strength. When done correctly, both types of training can lead to gains in size and strength.

So what makes PHAT training unique? 

First, it allows you to train for both hypertrophy and strength simultaneously. Second, it requires less equipment than traditional bodybuilding exercises. Third, it uses lighter loads than conventional bodybuilding exercises.

Fourth, it involves more variety than traditional bodybuilding exercises, including compound movements like squatting, deadlifts, bench presses, pullups, chinups, dips, overhead pressing, and rows.

Lastly, it incorporates high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a great way to burn fat.

Following A PHAT Routine 

You’ll see that there are three types of workouts in the PHAT routine; upper body power training, lower body power training, and rest.

Each type of workout has different goals, and each type of workout takes up one full day of the five day schedule.


A six day workout schedule designed to help you build muscle fast. This program uses three different training methods: bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, and barbells.

You’ll progress through each exercise slowly and steadily over the course of the week. 

Each day focuses on one specific part of your upper body, lower body, shoulders, chest, and arms. By the end of the sixth day, you’ll have built up enough strength to do some serious ab work.

Upper Body Training 

Upper body power training focuses on developing explosive power, which is the ability to move quickly, forcefully, and powerfully.

In general, this includes deadlifts, squats, bench press, overhead presses, pull ups, pushups, chinups, dips, and variations of those movements. These are high intensity moves that require very little recovery time. They’re great for getting big fast.

The PHAT Workout: Benefits And Exercises

Lower Body Training

Lower body power training focuses on improving muscular endurance, which is the ability of muscles to contract repeatedly without fatiguing.

In general, this involves things like lunges, leg extensions, calf raises, single leg squat thrusts, split squats, box jumps, and variations of those.

These are low intensity moves that take longer to recover from than upper body power moves, but they allow you to train harder over a long period of time.

Rest, Light Cardio Day 

The fourth day of our six-day training program is dedicated to rest and light cardio. If you don’t feel like doing anything active today, we suggest resting — it helps keep your body healthy and ready for tomorrow’s workout

However, there are some things you can do to make sure you still burn calories and build muscle without having to lift weights. For example, take advantage of the following exercises:

  • Walking/Jogging 
  • Swimming 
  • Cycling 
  • Dancing 
  • Pilates 
  • Yoga 


While there isn’t an official PHAT diet, here are some general guidelines that should support the workout:

Consume 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein for every pound of bodyweight

Good protein sources include red meat, eggs, and cheese

Consume 20-30%of total calories from healthy fats like coconut oil avocado, and extra virgin olive oils

Fill the rest of your calorie intake with carbs


There are no official variations created specifically by Dr. Layne Norton. However, there’s nothing preventing you from creating your own variations.

Typically, if you make certain choices regarding the type of exercises you do, the frequency of those exercises, and the duration of each exercise session, you’ll be executing a “PHAT”-style workout.  


The PHAT Workout is designed to get you in shape by building muscle mass and burning fat at the same time. It takes just six days to complete.

We recommend starting out with two workouts per week, then increasing to four or five as you see results.

You can also add more weight if you want to increase the intensity of your workouts.