Layne Norton PHAT Workout: Gain Size & Strength At The Same Time

The Layne Norton PHAT workout, which has become quite a famous workout routine is called “PHAT”. The routine was designed by Dr. Layne Norton, physique coach and professional bodybuilder.

Layne designed his program for increasing strength and size at the same time – and he did a great job.

Layne Norton’s workout routine consists of 2 strength training days where you’ll be training with heavy weight and 3 hypertrophy days for stimulating muscle growth. On the hypertrophy days you’ll be using lighter weight, but higher of reps.

The idea is simple, you build up your strength by lifting heavy for low reps, and then you build your muscles up by using higher reps. As you get stronger you’ll be able to use heavier weights for higher reps on your hypertrophy days.




I’ve used Layne Norton’s workout many times over the years and I highly recommend it.

Layne has  done a good job of programming all rep ranges into his workout routine, which is great because each workout you’ll be hitting different types of muscle fibers and stimulating muscle growth every way possible.

Another great thing about the PHAT workout is that it calls for each muscle to be trained twice per week. In my opinion, too many people follow the traditional bro split workout routines where you only train each muscle once per weak.

If you want to build something, you don’t work on it once per week.

Layne Norton Workout, What You Need To Know:

  • It’s only a template – You can and should make changes.
  • Layne’s original routine has ‘speed sets’ programmed into the hypertrophy days. They didn’t do much for me, I noticed better progress swapping them out for 4 regular sets of 8-12 reps.
  • I swapped out ‘Rack Chins’ for more sets of pull-ups.
  • Ditch hack squats for more regular squats or front squats.
  • Rotate bicep and triceps exercises to your liking.
  • Rotate between barbell press and dumbbell press on upper body and shoulder days
  • Swap out squats for dead-lifts every 2-3 weeks on your lower body days.
  • Keep a journal, it’s the easiest way to make sure you’re making progress. I turned this post into a printable workout log. Download it below and take it to the gym with you.

Now that you’ve got a few rules and guidelines down, check out the workout routine below…

The Layne Norton PHAT Workout:

Day 1: Upper Body Strength Day

  • Pulling Power Movement: Bent-over rows 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance Pulling movement: Weighted Pull ups 4 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Pressing Power Movement: Flat dumbbell presses 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Weighted dips 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Seated dumbbell shoulder presses 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary curling movement: Cambered bar curls 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary extension movement: Skull crushers 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 2: Lower Body Strength Day

  • Pressing Power Movement: Squats 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Leg Presses 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance extension movement: Leg extensions 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance pulling movement: Stiff Legged Dead-lifts 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Assistance pulling/curling movement: Lying Leg Curls 2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary calf movement: Standing Calf Raise 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary calf movement: Seated Calf Raise 2 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy Day

  • Pulling Power Exercise: Bent-over rows 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Weighted Pull-ups 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Seated cable row 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Dumbbell rows or Shrugs 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Close grip pull downs 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Seated dumbbell presses 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Upright rows 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Side lateral raises with dumbbells or cables 3 sets of 12-20 reps

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy Day

  • Lower Body Power Exercise: Squats 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Lunges 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Leg presses 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension movement: Leg extensions 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Stiff Legged dead lifts 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling movement: Lying leg curls 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling movement: Seated leg curls 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy calf movement: Standing calf raises 4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy calf movement: Seated calf raises 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy Day

  • Pressing Power Exercise: Flat dumbbell presses 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Incline dumbbell presses 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hammer strength chest press 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy fly movement: Incline cable flies 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Cambered bar preacher curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Dumbbell concentration curls 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Spider curls 2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Seated triceps extensions 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable press downs with rope 2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable kickbacks 2 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 7: Rest (Don’t forget to rest!)

About the Author

Anthony Myers
My name is Anthony. I'm the main author of MuscleClass.com. Download my $77 muscle building course for free here - > Click here to download

14 Comments on "Layne Norton PHAT Workout: Gain Size & Strength At The Same Time"

  1. hey how should I modify the program to see gains in shoulders.. my shoulders are very small and I would like them winder and broader

  2. Sorry if this is answered elsewhere but…I plan on starting this routine today. Any final thoughts on PHAT and how long did you eventually stay on it? Strength/mass gains? Also – I like the changes you made here (ie. more pull-ups, lose the hack squats…)

    • Hey RBK,

      My final thoughts – Layne Norton’s PHAT is a really great routine. Layne Norton is a “love him or hate him” kind of guy.
      One thing that can’t be argued, though, is that Layne knows his shit. This program in my opinion is best for building muscle, and I believe the intensity of the program kept nearly all fat gain away.

      I put on a lot of size, especially in my chest which is my most lagging area, so it helped. As far as strength, I inevitably got much stronger, but that wasn’t my overall goal. The Layne Norton workout is my “go to” workout now, though. When I get bored with a routine I always fall back on the PHAT workout. I stayed on it for a solid few months, and have used it many times since I originally wrote this article.

      Thanks for the compliment, the layne norton workout had a few exercises I just didn’t like so I made a couple of edits. Glad you liked them.

      I wouldn’t recommend it for cutting, but it can definitely be done. It just takes a lot out of you, training muscle groups heavy and multiple times a week. When I’m cutting I prefer to do just enough weight training to maintain what I have and let the fat melt off me.

  3. What kind of cardio is completed during these workouts?

    BC

    • There’s no cardio programmed into the routine. I suggest doing cardio on your off days, in the morning, or immediately after the workout.
      I prefer stair stepper, jump rope, or HIIT on the treadmill

  4. Hey, I have an issue with this workout, the fact is I can’t workout on saturday and sunday, because I work during the day and my gym closes too early so should I try and compound the program in 4days on just take out the rest day on wenesday? I was thinking on doing

    upper body day1, lower body day2, chest arms day3, but nows the problem my legs are still sore on day4 to do them again and I don’t think i’ll be able to workout my shoulders and back efficiantly after an arms day

    • Hey Simon,

      No doubt this is a demanding workout.

      I love it because it fits my schedule, but I realize it may not fit everybody’s.

      Here is what I would personally do if I were you, get rid of the 2nd leg day and compress the routine to 4 days.
      If you hit your legs hard enough once a week you’re already doing something the majority of guys aren’t doing
      at all.

      I personally would do:
      Monday – Upper Strength Day
      Tuesday – Hybrid Of the 2 leg days, with low rep and high rep work.
      Wednesday – complete rest day
      Thursday – Back and Shoulders
      Friday – Chest and Arms.

  5. MAN JUST READING YOUR INFO AMAZED ME. READING HOW YOU STARTED OUT AND ALL THE RESEARCHING AFTER RESEARING YOUR STORY SOUUD SO SIMILAR TO MINE, BEEN SEARCHING EVERYWHERE TRYING TO FIND GOOD INFO BUT ONCE SOMONE STARTS TO POST IT IT STOPS AND A BUTTON THAT SAY SUBCRIBE FOR 9.99 SOME HOW APPEARS. I JUST HAVE TO SAY BIG UPS TO YOU FOR THE CARE FOR OTHERS AND NOT THE BUCK . ONE ? ABOUT THIS POST ON THE HYPERTROPHY DAYS IM GUESSIN I DO THE EXCERSISE WITH MORE INTENSITY AND SPEED ON THOSE DAYS?

    • Hey Will,

      Thanks for the comment!

      That means a lot. I do my best to give great advice on here, so I’m happy to hear you appreciate the hard work I put into my site.
      Comments like yours really make me happy and keep me motivated to continue writing articles.

      About the hypertrophy day – You don’t necessarily need to lift fast. Lift with intensity and rest for a shorter amount of time than you
      would on a strength day. On a strength day I rest sometimes for over 1 minute betweet sets. On Hypertrophy days I try to rest for less
      than a minute between sets.

  6. Great workout and I love the modifications. Thanks

    • Glad to hear you liked my changes!

      Since this post is getting 100+ visitors/day I’m actually considering adding a downloadable, printable workout log.

      • That’d be great, I always have this page up on my phone to keep track of sets/reps during my workout.

        What kind of progression do you use for the big compounds? I’ve always done ramping sets for bench/ohp/bent row going up about 5lbs per working set and 10-25 lbs on squat/dl. What would you recommend?

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