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PHAT Workout: The Layne Norton Training Routine!

PHAT Workout Layne Norton

In today’s article, and after checking the PHUL workout and the PPL workout, we’re going to be looking at something a little different as we’re looking at the PHAT workout.

Being jacked is pretty awesome.

There’s just something special about being able to fill out an XL t-shirt comfortably whilst still having a small waist and being able to lift heavy ass weights that can’t be beaten.

One thing that isn’t awesome, though, is following the same workout routine for months, even years, on end.

For many, the gym is a release and a way to get away from the monotony of everyday life.

But what happens when the training you’re doing yourself becomes boring and monotonous?

Well, very simply, the answer is that you try something different.

This is where the PHAT training comes into the picture.

Normally, the word ‘fat’ and workout don’t go together unless you’re talking about how working out can burn fat, but we’re talking PHAT, with a PH.

The PHAT workout has been around for a long while now and was created by one of the most respected men in the world of bodybuilding – Layne Norton, or rather, Doctor Layne Norton.

Here’s what you need to know about this workout.

Basic Overview Of  The PHAT Workout:

Okay, so now that we know more about the benefits of PHAT, let’s look more closely at what this particular workout routine will actually entail.

When Layne Norton created this workout, he designed it to allow followers of the routine to hit each major muscle group twice per week.

It was created to promote muscle growth, without excess weight gain in the form of fat and water.

On hypertrophy days, followers will lift less weight and will perform more reps, and vice versa on the power days.

The key thing to remember here is that weight isn’t the issue with this program, but rather, the main goal is to ensure you choose the right rep range for each specific exercise and each specific target muscle.

Followers will train 5 days per week, making sure to rest on day 3 and then again on day 7.

Days 1 and 2 will focus on strength, by working the upper and lower body.

Layne Norton on Ideal Training Volume

The goal these days is power. On days 4 and 5, your goal is muscle hypertrophy, and here, you’ll perform compound exercises with varying rep ranges in the higher range, with fewer working sets.

Typically, workouts will last around 90 – 120 days.

Best PHAT Workout Training Plan:

Day 1: Upper body power

Day 2: Lower body power

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Back and delts hypertrophy

Day 5: Lower body hypertrophy

Day 6: Chest and arms hypertrophy

Day 7: Off

PHAT Training Program:

Day 1 – Power – Upper body

  • Bent-Over Rows – 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Weighted Pull-Ups – 4 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Flat Dumbbell presses – 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Weighted Dips – 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell shoulder presses – 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Cambered Bar curls – 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Skull Crushers – 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 2 – Power – Lower Body

  • Squats – 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Leg Presses – 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Leg Extensions – 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlifts – 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls – 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise – 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise – 2 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 4 – Hypertrophy – Back And Deltoids

  • Bent Over Rows – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Weighted Pull-Ups – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Seated Cable Rows – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Rows – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Close Grip Pull Downs – 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Presses – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Uprights Rows – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Side Lateral raises with dumbbells – 3 sets of 12-20 reps

Day 5 – Hypertrophy – Lower Body

  • Squats – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Lunges or (alternatives to lunges) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Leg presses – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Stiff legged deadlifts – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Lying leg curls – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Seated Leg curls – 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Standing Calf raises – 4 sets of 10- 15 reps
  • Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 6 – Hypertrophy – Chest, And Arms

  • Flat Dumbbell presses – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell presses – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hammer Strength chest press – 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Flies – 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Cambered Bar Preacher Curls – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Dumbbell concentration curls – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Spider Curls – 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Seated Triceps Extensions – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Cable Press Downs – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Cable Kickbacks – 2 sets of 15-20 reps

What Is The PHAT Workout?

PHAT Workout Layne Norton

The PHAT stands for ‘Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training’ and is a program that was created to allow participants to hit each target muscle group twice a week, as opposed to just once as would happen with a typical 5-day bro split.

The workout is ideal for so many lifters because it doesn’t just focus on typical bodybuilding training, it also promotes increases in muscle strength as well.

It is able to do this via conventional methods, along with what is known as progressive overload training.

Designed and created by Doctor Layne Norton, who is himself, a bodybuilder, a nutritionist, a physique coach, and a powerlifter, the program is basically a hybrid of powerlifting and bodybuilding training.

One session will be hypertrophy (muscle growth) based, whereas the next will be strength orientated, and so on.

Typically, you’ll probably be aware that powerlifters such as Eddie Hall, Sam Sulek or Stefi Cohen training for strength, will lift heavy weights with low rep ranges, which can be anything from 1 rep up to 6 reps on average.

Bodybuilders who are not just training for strength but also for muscle growth will use less weight but will increase the reps.

Typically, a bodybuilder will perform between 8 – 12 reps on average for every working set.

On paper, the two are pretty much the exact polar opposites of one another, so surely you wouldn’t combine them?

After all, there’s a reason why bodybuilders training for Mr. Olympia don’t load up the bar and perform 1 – 3 reps with the heaviest weights they can manage.

In the same breath, there’s a reason why you won’t find powerlifters training for a meet, pumping out 20 dumbbell bicep curls in the squat rack with a lightweight.

So, why would an expert like Layne Norton combine these two training principles together in the form of the PHAT routine?

Well, quite simply, the reason why is so that followers of the program can get the best of both worlds. Normally, powerlifters don’t look like bodybuilders and vice versa.

With the PHAT program, though, you can look like a bodybuilder and have the strength of a powerlifter.

How cool is that?

Who Is Layne Norton And Why Should I Care About His Program?

Browse Instagram these days and you’ll come across countless online “coaches” who claim to be experts in their chosen fields after taking an online course for a few months and paying for a qualification from a make-believe college or university.

Layne Norton, however, is nothing like that.

Layne is very well known in the fitness industry and while some may consider him to be somewhat of a polarizing figure, you simply can’t overlook the fact that his background, experience, his qualifications, his credentials, his strength, and his physique, speak for themselves.

Layne, or rather, Doctor Layne, holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science, along with a B.S in Biochemistry.

His B.S in biochemistry, in fact, is the reason why he is able to offer no-BS advice when it comes to health and fitness.

Layne has competed as a natural bodybuilder and powerlifter; he has worked as a physique coach, a fitness model, and a whole lot more besides.

He doesn’t just try to stay in shape for fun. He lives the fitness lifestyle 24/7, 365 days a year.

Layne began competing back in 2001 and has taken many first place in both bodybuilding and powerlifting contests.

Not only that, but he has been featured on the cover of countless fitness magazines and has had many of his articles published in scientific publications.

Anything else?

Oh yeah, he also wrote a book and even released his own line of supplements.

Why are we bigging Layne up so much?

To show you exactly why you should respect the info contained within his PHAT training program.

Why Should You Train This Way?

If PHAT really is as awesome as Layne would have you believe, why isn’t every bodybuilder training this way, and more importantly to you, why should YOU train this way?

Well, if you check out how some of the old school bodybuilders from the 70s, 80s, and even early 90s used to train, you’ll see that guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, Dorian Yates, and Kevin Levrone, would rarely be seen messing around with fancy machines that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Instead, they’d be found in the free weight section with a heavy barbell or set of dumbbells, busting out simple but effective compound exercises such as barbell bench presses, overhead presses, deadlifts, barbell squats, and dips.

Compound exercises work for multiple muscle groups at once, and so if you apply progressive overloading principles to your compound lifts, you’ll find that your strength increases noticeably, along with your muscle mass.

What Is Progressive Overload Training?

Don’t worry, progressive overload training isn’t as complex or technical as it sounds, in fact, it’s very simple.

The basic premise behind progressive overload training is that you progressively overload your target muscles for each workout, meaning that you perform more reps, lift more weights, or do more sets.

Basically, each time you train, you aim to do more than you did in your previous session.

What Are The Main Benefits Of The PHAT Workout?

There are plenty of training programs out there that are beneficial, but what are the key benefits of PHAT, and what helps set it apart from all of the competition out there?

Well, some of the main benefits of following the PHAT training include:

1. Muscle Growth

One of the main benefits of the PHAT routine is the fact that it is designed to help you build muscle.

The H in PHAT stands for hypertrophy, which is the technical term for muscle growth.

Thanks to a combination of power movements, compound exercises, and varying rep ranges, the PHAT program is ideal for anybody looking to build muscle.

2. Build Strength

The P in PHAT stands for power, which in this instance is used to describe the increases in strength that this particular workout will provide.

PHAT places an emphasis on power days in which you will train like a powerlifter and will lift heavier weights than you’re used to.

As you’ll be performing compound exercises, you’ll notice that your strength increases noticeably with the passing of each training session.

3. Mix Up Your Training

If you’re sick and tired of following the typical 5-day split you see so many bodybuilders following, you might want to give PHAT a try.

The PHAT training is great because you’re constantly switching up your training and trying different things.

One workout will have you lifting heavy weights at low rep ranges and training as a powerlifter.

In the next session, you’ll use less weight and will perform different exercises for more reps, and will train like a bodybuilder.

Final Thoughts:

So, now that we’ve looked at what the PHAT workout is, we need to decide whether or not it is in fact worth it.

In our opinion, the PHAT program is very much worthwhile as it is tried and tested by one of the most respected men in the fitness community.

If you’re looking to build muscle and increase your strength and power, this is the ultimate workout for you.


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