When you hit the gym, what’s the main focus of your workout? Are you there to build muscle, burn fat, or get that lean, sleek look that will make you feel good about yourself? Chances are, your emphasis is more on that last one! Most people work out to get in shape, but their emphasis is on form over function.

People with real strength and power (like Strongmen) don’t have that “Hollywood body” we think about when we picture our ideal selves. But the PHAT workout is intended to be the bridge that brings together serious strength/power and a shredded body! PHAT stands for Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training. Designed by Layne Norton, it’s a mixture of bodybuilding and powerlifting training that blends form and function for the best results.

The Philosophy

The PHAT Philosophy is simple: mass and strength are directly related. To build strength, you have to build muscle mass. This involves lifting heavy weights and following a diet that causes you to bulk up. The more mass you have, the more strength you can build and the more muscle mass you can pack on.

The Workout

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The workouts are divided into 7 days:

Day 1: Upper Body Power

Day 2: Lower Body Power

These two days involve heavy lifting, using movements like squats, bench presses, and pull-ups to maximize muscle recruitment. All of the work will be in the 3-5 rep range, with 3-5 sets per exercise. Longer periods of rest (5 to 6 minutes) are necessary to help your body recover between sets, and will make it possible for you to life the maximum amount of weight.

Day 3: Day Off

This is VITAL for your body to recover and repair your muscles between workouts.

Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy

Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy

On these three days, you will do more “speed work”, lifting lighter weights (65-70% 1-Rep Max) in higher volume (3 sets of 6-8 reps) are a much faster pace. This speed work will help to build explosive strength, and will stimulate effective muscle growth. You only need shorter rest periods between sets, meaning you can get through the workout more quickly and add more sets to your training sessions.

Day 7: Day Off

Once again, you need to give your body a chance to recover from the intense workouts of the previous days.

A Few Things to Know

  • De-load every 6-12 weeks, lifting lighter weights (60 to 70%) for up to 3 weeks. This will help you maintain strength gains and allow your body time to recover from the high-impact workouts.
  • You’ll be a bit sore and tired for the first few weeks, but this is normal. The twice-per-week-per-body part training will be difficult initially. Once your body adapts, you’ll notice serious strength and energy gains.
  • Only use the most efficient exercises. All of your exercises should focus on maximum muscle recruitment as that balanced training is necessary for strength gains.
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