Friday, December 2, 2011

Intermediate Routine: P.H.A.T.

Have you ever noticed those guys at the gym who seem to look exactly the same today as they did five years ago? I see these people all the time and it baffles me. They have been doing the same exact routine day in and day out for a decade and then wonder why they aren't making the progress they think they should be making. I'm going put this in very simple terms. Do not expect different results from doing the same thing! If you haven't made progress in a year doing the routine you are on now, what makes you think this next year will be any different? Make a change before you end up like the guys at the gym who have wasted the last ten years.

Training Each Body Part Once per Week

I would say approximately 80% of people working out train each body part once per week. I don't know where this method originated but my guess is that it's due to the fact that most professional bodybuilders train this way and this method somehow trickled its way down the chain to the average weight lifter. It's fine to listen to advice from a professional bodybuilder but I would take their advice with a grain of salt. Why you may ask? Well, there are two reasons. The first is that they have a bit of help from banned substances. The second and most important is that they have elite genetics. They have the best muscle building genetics in the world. Whether it's fair or not, any routine they follow will yield results. For the rest of us, we need to do everything as optimally as possible to get the results we want.

P.H.A.T: A Different Kind of Routine

P.H.A.T stands for Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training. There are many variations you can follow, but a standard format is as follows. In the beginning of the week, you have 2 power days. The first power day is for upper body and the second power day is for lower body. After those 2 days, there is a rest day followed by 2 or 3 hypertrophy days.

On the power days, you are basically training like a power lifter. Your mentality coming into the gym should be ready to lift heavy weights. You will focus on big power movements for your lower body such as squats and deadlifts. You will do barbell bench press, barbell rows, and military press for your upper body. Your goal should be to stay in the 3-5 rep range for 3-5 working sets on the compound movements. Since the goal is to lift as heavy as possible, rest as long as you need to in order to be completely ready for your next set. After the compound exercises, you should do a few sets of assistance exercises for smaller body parts such as hamstrings, calves, and arms in the 6-8 rep range. Assistance exercises include calf raises, hamstring curls, barbell curls, skull crushers etc.

On hypertrophy days, you are training like a typical bodybuilder. These workouts will probably be very similar to what your old routine entailed. You should lift in the 8-15 rep range, rest between 1-2 minutes per set, and only go to failure on the last set or two of each exercise to prevent yourself from burning out too quickly. You should be doing significantly more volume on these days than your power days. I would recommend not training to failure at all for the first two weeks on this routine to let your body adapt.

Sample Layout

Monday: Upper Power Day
Tuesday: Lower Power Day
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Chest/Arms Hypertrophy
Friday: Legs
Saturday: Back/Shoulders Hypertrophy

I personally prefer to put arms and shoulders together and back and chest together on hypertrophy days. It's entirely up to you.

Sample Routine

Monday: Upper Power

Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets, 5 reps
Barbell Rows: 5 sets, 5 reps
Military Press: 5 sets, 5 reps
Barbell Shrugs: 5 sets, 5 reps
Barbell Curls: 3 sets, 6-8 reps
Skull Crushers: 3 sets, 6-8 reps

Tuesday: Lower Power

Barbell Squats: 5 sets, 5 reps
Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 5 sets, 5 reps
Calf Raises: 3 sets, 6-8 reps
Hamstring Curls: 2 sets, 6-8 reps
Leg Extensions: 2 sets, 6-8 reps

Thursday: Chest Arms Hypertophy

Incline Barbell Press: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Flat Dumbbell Press: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Decline Barbell Press: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Machine Flys: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
Preacher Curls: 3 sets: 8-15 reps
Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets, 8-15 reps
Cable Curls: 3 sets, 8-15 reps
Over Head Dumbbell Extensions: 3 sets, 8-15 reps
Dips: 3 sets, 8-15 reps
Rope Press Downs: 3 sets, 8-15 reps

Friday: Legs

Hack Squat Machine: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Leg Press: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Lunges: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Glute Ham Raises: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
Leg Extensions: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets, 10-12 reps
Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets, 12-15 reps

Saturday: Back/Shoulders

Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Straight Arm Pulldowns: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
T-Bar Rows: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Cable Rows: 2 sets, 8-12 reps
Dumbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
Dumbell Lateral Raises: 3 sets, 8-15 reps
Rear Delt Machine: 3 sets, 8-15 reps

**Keep in mind this is nothing but an example. Choose your own exercises. I just gave this so you can visually see the layout of the routine.

My Experience on P.H.A.T.

Since I am suggesting you guys try this routine, it is pretty obvious I have had success with it. I trained each body part once per week for 3 years and although I made progress, it was extremely slow. After I switched to P.H.A.T, I put on 7 pounds of muscle in 6 months. I made better progress in 6 months on P.H.A.T. than the previous couple of years doing a standard routine. However, this takes a toll on the body and I would suggest you only follow this if you have been training for 1-2 years already.

Like I said earlier, I prefer doing chest with back and arms with shoulders but the layout I gave is how it is typically done. I would suggest super setting biceps with triceps so that the work out doesn't take as long. You can do the same thing with leg extensions and leg curls. Currently, I am following a 4 day version of this routine. My power days are similar to how I have them above but rather than have 3 hypertrophy days, I have 2. I have an upper body hypertrophy day rather than a separate chest/arms and back/shoulders day. To fit this all into about an hour, I do less sets than I would if I had 2 separate hypertrophy days. I'm doing this simply because after being in the gym 5 days a week for so long, I felt like my body needed an extra day off. Feel free to try any variation of this routine but please, whatever you do, stop training each body part once per week! It's just so much less effective and you could be making a lot better progress. I know that change can be scary but you won't regret the switch. Feel free to ask any questions if you need me to clarify anything.


AJ Rodgers said...

Do you still following the rules of progressive load on a PHAT rountine?

Kyra said...

What if you are a newbie in the gym and do no have much strength/endurance? Is this appropriate to start out with?

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