Fads are a difficult thing to deal with. Similarly, entertainment, philosophy, diets, and most obviously workouts all fall under this umbrella term. I am sure there are a million "famous" fitness superstars and sportsmen out there offering their customized, one-of-a-kind workouts, as well as sometimes a diet to go along with them. Every day, new ones emerge; some survive, while others fade away into oblivion in a short period of time.
That is not to imply that these diverse workouts are not beneficial, because they are. If this is what these folks did to get into the form that they are in, it is reasonable to assume that it will work for some other people as well. The problem is not that these things exist; rather, it is that they might all get a little overwhelming. Everyone will attempt to prescribe a different workout routine or training program, and the majority of the time, they will have solid scientific data to support the effectiveness of their recommendation.
People who are just starting out in fitness may find themselves in a bit of a bind as a result of the wide variety of options available. Even for those who have been in the business for a long time, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends because some of the most ancient training routines might take a long time to become known. That is simply how many of them there are in the whole world.
The same can be said with PHUL, which I did not learn about until a long time after it had first arrived on the scene. I remember the first time someone mentioned it to me, they said it was pronounced "fool," but they also provided the spelling. At the time, I assumed it was some sort of blatant joke, and I laughed at him. Further investigation revealed that, in fact, PHUL was a legitimate entity with a historical history. Are you supposed to speak it like "fool" or like "fuel," as I have heard a few people say? I like the term "fool" simply because it is more amusing and less pompous.
PHUL training, and what do I think of it, are two questions that I have been asked recently. Let us talk about it a little bit. You are all aware by now that I am something of a realist, so you can expect me to exalt qualities while also criticizing weaknesses on an equal footing.
PHUL, one of the most recent workouts to hit the fitness scene, deserves to have its day in the spotlight. It is our goal in this post to provide you with a comprehensive overview of PHUL workouts, as well as an example of a PHUL workout program you can use to jumpstart your training and boost your performance to new heights.
What exactly is the PHUL workout?
Let us begin by defining what it is in its most basic form. PHUL is an abbreviation that stands for power, hypertrophy, upper and lower. The fundamental notion of PHUL is not so foreign, with days dedicated to the upper body and days dedicated to the lower body. This is something that a lot of people do, as seen by the classic joke about "leg day." That, however, is not what distinguishes PHUL from the competition.
As an alternative, it is a four-day regimen, with two days for each half, where many individuals finish the entire set for either half on a particular day and sprinkle in some aerobics or other active habits on various days.
Days of high effort and strength are scheduled for PHUL. Some days are dedicated to building strength with heavier weights, while others are dedicated to causing muscular hypertrophy (a process in which muscles are stimulated to develop and absorb protein).
PHUL's Achilles heel, on the other hand, is there in front of us. Because it is a four-day program, it will consume a significant amount of your time. As a result, if you want to engage in other physical activities such as running, cycling, hiking, or casual sports on top of your PHUL training, you will either have to deal with them on top of your PHUL training or take advantage of one of the remaining three days when you will be sore and just looking for a day to relax (which is important).
As a result, the majority of people that talk about PHUL are people who are heavily involved in weightlifting and bodybuilding as a hobby. It is a time-consuming strategy that is not recommended for persons who are not interested in bulking up or lifting heavy weights in general.
That being stated, how precisely is PHUL carried out?
Every week will consist of four training days, which will be divided into two days of power training and two days of strength training. To be more specific, this PHUL workout regimen is an upper/lower split program (in case you could not guess from the name). Thus, you will perform lower-body exercises twice a week and upper-body workouts twice a week during your weekly schedule. It is important to exercise at a high intensity during this workout in order to maintain an anabolic state throughout the week, which is one of the key goals.
To give you a better understanding of what the PHUL training program looks like, here's an example:
Day 1 Focus on the upper body (Power)
Day 2: Lower Body Strengthening (Power)
Day 3: Rest day
Day 4 Upper body (Hypertrophy)
Day 5: Lower Body Strengthening (Hypertrophy)
Day 6 and 7 are days of rest.
What are powerlifting workouts and how do they work?
When a lifter has one goal in mind, such as becoming stronger, this is referred to be powerlifting. Powerlifters tend to concentrate on the large compound movements, such as the bench press, deadlifts, and squats, as opposed to the smaller lifts. In the world of powerlifting, the concept of body aesthetics is an alien concept. Tradition dictates that people are not overly concerned with attaining the sculpted six-pack abs or the beach-ready muscle mass.
The primary objective of powerlifting is to lift greater weights. Consequently, powerlifters adhere to a few primary exercises, and when they are not performing the core power lifts, you will likely find them performing workouts that will help them enhance their core lifts.
Generally speaking, the rep range in powerlifting is smaller, with sets fluctuating based on the lifter's lifting routine. A frequent powerlifting protocol is 5x5, which is five sets of five repetitions. Powerlifting, on the other hand, tends to have a set range of 3-4 reps with a rep range of 1-5. The weights that powerlifters are pulling should be between 80 and 95 percent of their one-rep maximum (or 1RM).
What are hypertrophy workouts and how do they work?
Hypertrophy is defined as "the enlargement of an organ or tissue" in the scientific community. The term "muscle hypertrophy" is used here to refer to the growth of muscle. When you lift for the sole purpose of increasing muscle size, you are referred to as hypertrophy training. There is a distinction between strength training and hypertrophy training in that the purpose of strength training is to improve neuromuscular system effectiveness whereas the goal of hypertrophy training is to structurally change the muscle size, resulting in the muscles being bigger.
Muscle hypertrophy can be broken down into three categories. The first thing to consider is the total volume or entire amount of weight that you are lifting. This is calculated by multiplying the weight load by the number of sets and reps performed. The second type of stress is metabolic stress, which is defined as the accumulation of metabolites and cell swelling within the muscles as a result of intense exercise. Mechanical stress, which occurs when your muscles tense, is the final but not the least of these. More time under pressure is what you want to strive towards in order to see more growth.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy are the two types of muscle growth that can be observed during hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is characterized by an increase in muscle volume without an increase in strength. Myofibril hypertrophy occurs when the size of the muscle increases in tandem with the possibility of the muscle getting stronger.
What are upper body workouts and how do they benefit you?
Early on in their careers as fitness instructors in Canada, the Weider brothers advocated for the innovative notion of segmenting workouts based on body parts, beginning with the upper/lower body divide. Prior to that, the majority of people had been practicing full-body weightlifting techniques. With the rise in popularity of bodybuilding came the concept of exercise splits, which has remained popular to this day and is still considered to be one of the most effective lifting regimens. The upper body workout is exactly what it sounds like; on these days, you will concentrate on exercises that target the upper body, which includes the shoulders, back, chest, arms, and core, among other muscle groups and areas.
What exactly are Lower Body Exercises?
The glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves will be the primary emphasis of your lower body workout sessions on lower body days. Despite the fact that there are fewer overall muscles to work out on lower body days compared to upper body days, the workouts should be just as physically demanding, if not more so, due to the size of the muscles you are working out on.
PROGRAM FOR PHUL WORKOUTS
When beginning a new fitness program such as PHUL, it is critical to keep track of your progress throughout the course of the program's duration. A large number of online exercise trackers are available, with which you may record the number of sets, reps, and weights lifted. In order to clearly see whether the program is working or whether you are slacking and need to pick up the pace, we propose that you keep a progress log in the form of a PHUL spreadsheet or notes on your phone to track your progress.
|Barbell Bench Press||3-4||3-5||Up to 2 Mins|
|Incline DB Bench Press||3-4||6-10||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Bent Over Row||3-4||3-5||Up to 2 Mins|
|Lat Pull Down||3-4||6-10||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Overhead Press||3||5-8||Up to 2 Mins|
|EZ Bar Curl||2-3||6-10||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Skullcrushers||2-3||6-10||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Back Squat||3-4||3-5||Up to 2 Mins|
|Deadlift||3-4||3-5||Up to 2 Mins|
|Leg Press||4-5||10-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Hamstring Curls||3-4||6-10||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Barbell Calf Raises||4||12-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Incline DB Press||4||12-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Flat Bench DB Fly||3-4||8-12||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Single Arm DB Row||3-4||10-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Seated Cable Row||3-4||8-12||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Single Arm Lateral Raise||3-4||12-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Seated Incline Curl||3-4||8-12||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Cable Tricep Extension||3-4||8-12||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Front Squat||4||10-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Barbell Lunge||4||12-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|RDLs||3-4||10-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Leg Extension||4||12-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Hamstring Curl||4||12-15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Seated Calf Raise||3-4||15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
|Calf Press||3-4||15||Up to 1.5 Mins|
Weekend : Rest
What the PHUL program is centered on
A power and hypertrophy day for both the upper and lower body will be included in each week of the exercise plan, as indicated by the name of the program. The program will be divided into four days of workouts. As a whole, the body parts are exercised, as opposed to the more traditional and old-school method of breaking training days into muscle groups such as the back/ bi's, chest/ tri's, and so forth (which is far less effective).
Lifting weights on power days consists of traditional compound exercises that recruit and activate a high number of muscle fibers during a single lift. You should keep the reps short so that you can concentrate on moving heavyweights in movements like the bench press, overhead press, back squat, barbell row, and deadlift that are difficult to master.
Increased rep schemes and more attention to specific muscle regions are the goals of hypertrophy days, which also incorporate some complex exercises at a lower intensity. Although the days are still divided into upper and lower body days, you can anticipate to be performing chest flys on the same day as preacher bar curls.
Single-joint exercises combined with multi-joint workouts have been shown to be helpful in achieving long-term improvements in body composition, muscular endurance, and muscle strength. These advantages are perfectly handled by the mix of power and hypertrophy days that are included in the PHUL framework.
Tips on how to get the most out of a power hypertrophy upper lower (PHUL) routine for gaining strength
The PHUL program has been shown to be beneficial in increasing hypertrophy and strength gains, but there are some typical mistakes that people make that might cause their development to be slowed down.
Try to stay as close to the training protocol as possible, and avoid making any changes to the sets or reps for any of the big compound lifts. If you do not have access to specific equipment, you can swap some of the isolation exercises with something else.
In the first week of the PHUL program, start at the lower end of the set and rep ranges to establish a baseline, after which you can make changes.
Check to see that you are getting adequate protein (at least 1 gram per lean lb of muscle).
On your training days, consider carbohydrate loading in order to fuel your rigorous exercises, especially on the power days.
It is critical to obtain enough sleep so that your muscles can heal. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Active recuperation techniques such as mobility exercises, stretching, and light cardio should be performed on your off days.
Always remember to stay hydrated!
Benefits of a PHUL workout split
A shorter workout session may be necessary if you are exercising in the shorter rep range of particular PHUL routines. In this case, you may only complete 20 sets in a single workout session. With 20 sets in the low rep range, you should not be in the gym for more than an hour and a half, not including a brief dynamic warm-up and cool-down stretching session.
Build Power and Strength: Many workout regimens have a single focus at a time, such as training for power, training for endurance, training to lose weight, training to cut, training to bulk, or training for strength. In PHUL, you have the option of taking a two-pronged approach, exercising for power and strength while also developing muscle size.
Restorative: With PHUL, you will be able to train your major muscle groups twice a week without overtraining your body. Between workouts, your body will have ample time to heal while still being able to push it to its limits during each one of them.
The PHUL approach includes both compound motions and isolation exercises, which provide for a diverse workout. Your workouts should not become monotonous if you use this combination of exercises to complete them.
Obstacles in PHUL
The majority of reviews for the PHUL workout are positive, with some particularly spectacular before and after changes. Still, some people express dissatisfaction on bodybuilding forums or Reddit powerlifting threads about having to perform squats and deadlifts at the same time during a power exercise session. Because both of these heavy workouts place a significant strain on your posterior chain, notably the lumbar erector muscles, there is some validity to this claim. However, with appropriate technique and a weight selection that is practical, these combination exercises can produce excellent results in terms of muscle development and strength.
~When it comes to muscle building, is PHUL beneficial or detrimental?
Yes, the PHUL training program is effective for increasing muscle mass and strength. By practicing the large compound lifts as well as certain isolated workouts, this training program will encourage your muscles to expand. You will see an increase in your muscle-building potential after the two days of hypertrophy exercise. Together with the twice-weekly exercise of all major muscle groups, this will promote a continuous release of protein into the body, resulting in sustained muscular development. According to a study, rigorous exercise sessions might stimulate the release of protein in your body for up to 48 hours after the activity.
How long I should go for PHUL training?
If you are going to participate in a PHUL program, it should last at least 6 weeks, but you can do it for 12 weeks or more if you like. Gains should be moderate and consistent as is typical of most training regimens. Even if you do not observe significant gains within the first month, remember that PHUL is a rigorous weightlifting routine that demands your whole commitment throughout the course of the program in order to achieve the greatest possible results.
Can I conduct PHUL Workouts in the comfort of my own home?
Workouts for PHUL may be done at home depending on the equipment you have available to use. If you have the larger equipment necessary to do compound exercises such as deadlifts, barbell bench press, and squats, you should be able to complete a PHUL session at home. Resistance bands may be used for the majority of the other workouts that call for the use of a cable machine or dumbbells.
~How Effective Is Phul for Beginners?
For intermediate to advanced lifters, the PHUL method is a better option than the PHUL technique. Most beginner weightlifting programs are based around full-body exercises until all of the principles are established and the body is ready to take on larger targeted weights, at which point they transition to targeted weights.
In contrast, if a newcomer to weightlifting already has the fundamentals down in terms of technique and form in the key exercises such as the bench press, squat, deadlift, and overhead press, they may give the PHUL workout regimen a shot.
What is the difference between Phul and Phat and why is it important to know the difference?
A split-based training approach is used in both the PHUL and the PHAT training modalities to emphasize power/strength and hypertrophy training. One of the commonalities between these two regimens is that both aim to overcome lifting plateaus while simultaneously building muscle and developing strength.
These plans differ primarily in that PHAT programs divide the upper body hypertrophy day into two days, allowing for additional volume to be included. In addition to adding an extra day of lifting to your weekly workout schedule, PHAT has one major disadvantage: it reduces your weekly training schedule to only five days. If you have a demanding or hectic schedule, the PHAT approach may not be an option for you.
As a general rule, you should select an exercise regimen that is compatible with your schedule and long-term objectives. While increased overall volume in PHAT may result in greater gains and fat loss, PHUL is an excellent alternative for someone who wishes to build muscle growth and strength while still having two days of rest in a row once a week.
Those who have just joined PHUL have reported a wide range of reactions to the program. Back squatting and deadlifting on the same power day are two exercises that newcomers to the program sometimes struggle with.
Many newcomers to powerlifting find it challenging to do both back squats and deadlifts on the same day, especially if they have never done either before. Both of these lifts are extremely technical and need a significant amount of force generation across the posterior chain, resulting in significant fatigue and the possibility of force output limitations.
Both the deadlift and the back squat, regardless of which move is performed first in a training session, have the potential to place stress on the lumbar erector muscles. As a result of this increased tension, lumbar fatigue is likely to develop, making it harder to maintain proper form as the lower back gets fatigued.
Combining these two workouts, on the other hand, proved to be quite successful in terms of building both strength and growth when done correctly and with the right technique. Those who have had success with the PHUL fitness routine are well aware of this fact.
While the ultimate objective is to prevent injury at all costs, powerlifting is always fraught with danger if not done correctly (mostly when too much weight is used). While it is commonly known that powerlifting can have negative repercussions, correct technique and development reduce the likelihood of these problems occurring to virtually nothing.
Advantages and disadvantages
- It is possible to train for both strength and hypertrophy at the same time using PHUL
This program does an excellent job of breaking down all of the muscles and muscle groups you could possibly work out and concentrating on what actually counts - upper and lower body, exercising once for power and once for growth, and a combination of the two.
A nice spread of everything without being overwhelming or ineffective, the PHUL split is especially beneficial for lifters who are just getting started or trying to get back into it after a long break; for lifters who are overwhelmed by all of the variables of training; and for lifters who are not sure what area to focus on.
I particularly enjoy explaining the distinctions between training for power and training for hypertrophy because this is an area of lifting that is frequently misunderstood and misapplied.
By understanding the goals of the workout (whether they are for power or size), as well as the target rep ranges and weight selections, the lifter can begin to understand how those variables affect their goals and results and can begin to think critically about how they are training and how to overcome the various obstacles they will face in the future.
- It works out the muscles twice a week.
Training muscles twice a week, as we discussed previously, has been shown in research to increase the development of muscular tissue. Given this information, it is difficult not to commend a program that incorporates a twice-weekly training frequency into its design.
As noted above, not every lifter will have the time or resources to train as effectively as the science dictates. However, by limiting the training to a four-day split, the PHUL split hits the most important variables while still remaining manageable for the majority of people, even those who have other obligations on top of their lifting schedule.
- It does not provide for enough flexibility
The fact that the program already requires that you have two power exercises and two hypertrophy workouts mean that you can not really modify anything about it and still call it a PHUL program.
Consider the following scenario: If a lifter wishes to alter their focus away from strength and towards more muscular development, they may almost eliminate the strength parts from the PHUL program and replace them with an upper/lower split that is repeated twice a week.
While there is no doubt evidence and understanding that each dynamic complements the other (training muscles for strength improves hypertrophy, and training muscles for hypertrophy improves strength), there are times when it makes sense to focus on one dynamic more than the other, and this program makes it difficult to make those adjustments because it is so structured.
- It only trains four days a week
With this program, you only train four days a week, which may or may not be a big deal to you depending on your schedule.
The following split is probably not for you if you are the sort of lifter who likes exercising often and finds the one rest day you are required to take to be boring to the point of being indifferent.
However, despite the fact that it still works for each muscle group twice a week, there is still more work to be done than can be done in a week on other splits, leaving many lifters wanting more or not seeing the results they desire as quickly as they would like.