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

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

  1. Why doesn’t this program include flat barbell bench press? isnt Norton a big fan of the bench press?

    • I can’t speak for Layne, but my experience is that dumbbells are better for building a chest. Barbell is very over-rated in my opinion. I use dumbbells, making sure to touch the dumbbells together at the top of the rep – I first learned this from Vince Gironda, I ditched barbell and haven’t looked back since.

  2. Can a 43 year old man use this phat program

  3. does it work on skinny person

  4. Going to give this program a try and was just wondering why some of the exercises are only two sets instead of the typical 3 or 4 sets?

    • Hey Zack,

      It’s just the way that Layne Norton set his workout up.

      Not everything needs to be 3 or 4 sets to be effective, some of the smaller muscles do just fine with 2 or even 1 sets.

  5. What are the resting periods between sets for Strength days vs Hyperthrophy days.

    • Good question, I will try to include that in there, but in general I need more rest on my strength days. I’d rest for 60-90 seconds on strength days, at least the big exercises. I would rest no more than 60 seconds on hypertrophy days.

  6. Hi..

    Can you tell me more about hypertrophy. I am confuse on these hypertrophy days.. Should i lift mymaximum weight on these days? Or should i lift light weight.. Because light weight by doing 12 rep does not really work.. Please help..

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