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Layne Norton's P.H.A.T. Routine: Your Thoughts?


#1

I have been on Layne Norton's PHAT routine for about 3 months now (granted I am in college and drinking/partying sometimes interfere with working out) However, it seems like alot of volume. Overall do you guys think I should keep doing it or switch to a different routine? Currently I am trying to bulk up while stay relatively lean for summer.

Stats:
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 230lbs
Bench: 225x3 (about 2-3 weeks ago)
Squat: 245x5
DL: 365x3-5ish depending on how I feel
MP: 115x7

And here is the actual routine for those unfamiliar:
Day 1: Upper Body Power
Day 2: Lower Body Power
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy
Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy
Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy
Day 7: Rest

Day 1: Upper Body Power Day
Pulling Power Movement: Bent over or Pendlay rows
3 sets of 3-5 reps
Assistance Pulling movement: Weighted Pull ups
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Auxiliary Pulling movement: Rack chins
2 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 Power Day
Pressing Power Movement: Squats
3 sets of 3-5 reps
Assistance pressing movement: Hack Squats
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Assistance extension movement: Leg extensions
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Assistance pulling movement: Stiff legged deadlifts
3 sets of 5-8 reps
Assistance pulling/curling movement: Glute ham raises or 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 speed work: Bent over or Pendlay rows
6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Rack chins
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 bracing upper body against an incline bench
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Close grip pulldowns
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 speed work: Squats
6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hack squats
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: Romanian deadlifts
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: Donkey 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 speed work: Flat dumbbell presses
6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
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 flyes
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 bracing upper body against an incline bench
2 sets of 15-20 reps
Hypertrophy extension exercise: Seated tricep extension with cambered bar
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable pressdowns with rope attachment
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable kickbacks
2 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 7: Rest

Now, would this be too much volume? Too many isolation exercises? Can you guys see any problems with this routine or am I overthinking things.

I have been running the program word for word for about the last 4-5 weeks and I love the workouts, however I think I am going to change some of the rep schemes around. On the Hypertrophy days I am going to keep the rep range between 8-12 and on the Power days I am going to keep all supplemental exercises between 5-8 reps. Do you guys think this is a good alteration or not?

Overall, what is your opinion on this routine. It is extremely popular over at bb.com so I decided to come over here and see what your guys opinion on it is.


#2

If you love the workouts and you are seing results, then it doesnt matter what anyone here thinks,
just do it.

One word of advice: If you are going to change something, be shure that it doesnt fuck the program up,
remember that the guy who made it, Did choose to put it togheter as it is for a reason, By changing things
up you are in danger of ruining the balance in the program, so be absolutely confident that your changes
doesnt go against the reasoning behind the program.

Good luck and I wish you more lovely workouts in the future :slight_smile:


#3

[quote]florelius wrote:
If you love the workouts and you are seing results, then it doesnt matter what anyone here thinks,
just do it.

One word of advice: If you are going to change something, be shure that it doesnt fuck the program up,
remember that the guy who made it, Did choose to put it togheter as it is for a reason, By changing things
up you are in danger of ruining the balance in the program, so be absolutely confident that your changes
doesnt go against the reasoning behind the program.

Good luck and I wish you more lovely workouts in the future :)[/quote]

Thanks for the reply. However, don’t you feel this is alot of volume and that I will stall easily?


#4

Like was stated earlier, if you’re seeing results and enjoying your workouts, keep doing them. Norton is a reliable guy. If he approves of something, not many people on here have the credibility to question it. I’m not trying to see you should blindly follow everything he says, but it’s unlikely you’ll have anybody post on this thread that is more knowledgeable than he is.


#5

And honestly, what is ‘too much’ volume? The only way I think you can do too much is if you don’t recover fast enough to keep up (duh) and trust me, noone knows how fast you recover better than… you. (duh again).

So, I dunno, take it until you plateau on gains and then pack in more food. If you STILL plateau, move on to a different program. You and I have different body types, but that’s advice I would give to anyone from a beginner to someone so experienced he isn’t listening to my advice anyway.


#6

Funny that this was posted, i’m starting it this monday. The only thing that I thought about changing around was on that first off day separate shoulders and back. Also do bi’s before legs and chest with tris.


#7

[quote]Liv92 wrote:
Funny that this was posted, i’m starting it this monday. The only thing that I thought about changing around was on that first off day separate shoulders and back. Also do bi’s before legs and chest with tris. [/quote]

I strongly discourage a beginner changing up an expert’s program if they don’t need to.


#8

Layne has a whole article explaining that this should be viewed more as a template rather than a routine. He simply stated the routine I posted is what he personally does. He also goes on to state that you can work up to “full volume” the first few weeks until you get used to it. But, I understand where you are coming from. I personally believe that only major changes really affect a program (ex. substituting leg extensions for Squats, or Cable Flyes for a chest pressing movement)

I guess my main problem here is routine ADD. I find a routine I like, stick with it for a few weeks, start looking around on the forums for a better routine, then obsess about what I should do next.

Some routines I like, others I hate, some are “overtraining,” others aren’t enough volume. Some swear by splits, others live by 3xweek fullbody.

I haven’t really done a split since I first started lifting about 3 years ago… Should I give a split a try? Maybe KingBeef’s “do this routine not that dumb one” Ill look into it.


#9

I don’t get it, you’re enjoying the programme and making progress so why do you want to change it? Do YOU feel that it is too much volume? You’re the one that’s been doing it after all, it’s not like there is a “one-size fits all” volume requirement for training programmes.


#10

[quote]034lifter wrote:
I have been on Layne Norton’s PHAT routine for about 3 months now (granted I am in college and drinking/partying sometimes interfere with working out) However, it seems like alot of volume. Overall do you guys think I should keep doing it or switch to a different routine? Currently I am trying to bulk up while stay relatively lean for summer.

Stats:
Height: 6’4"
Weight: 230lbs
Bench: 225x3 (about 2-3 weeks ago)
Squat: 245x5
DL: 365x3-5ish depending on how I feel
MP: 115x7

[/quote]
With those numbers you should probably be doing a program called Starting Strength.


#11

really all you need to do to gain size is the following:

  1. Eat enough - 1.5g x bw in protein and enough cals to gain
  2. adequate volume - you need to degrade enough protein to induce hypertrophy
  3. get stronger - strength is the limiting factor in hypertrophy

you don’t need to do layne’s routine…it’s what works for HIM…that what he feels works best for him…he genuinely believes undulating periodization is the best form of training…he believes in his routine…

I’ve tried layne’s routine, and I personally prefer a 5 day split better…where i’m doing 6-12 sets per body part…there are a lot of high level natural bbers(better than norton) who also use 5 day splits, so they work just fine…

So stopping looking for secrets…Believe in a training method…develop tunnel vision…start working torwards your goals…


#12

[quote]034lifter wrote:
Thanks for the reply. However, don’t you feel this is alot of volume and that I will stall easily?[/quote]

Aslong as you are able to recover and grow, then its not to much volum.

But if you stall then the total workload can be the problem, but it can also bee a poor diet, not enough sleep, other stressing factors in your life or a combination of some or all of the above. So if you want to scale back on the total workload, then be shure that diet, sleep or other factors arent the problem. If its one of the other, fix them not the program.

Hope that made sense.

good luck man :slight_smile:


#13

To be honest (and no offense to your help), I have never done starting strength and I never will. I will agree with you that, yes, it is a solid program backed up by countless success stories. However, I cannot see myself working out 3x a week doing 2 different workouts. I do believe that my numbers would be higher if I did give starting strength a try, but I am too stubborn. There are also posters on here that do not believe in the routine and feel that you could accomplish the same gains off of a split.
Also, my ass grows at an alarming rate and I couldn’t imagine what squatting 3x a week would do to it.

I know the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” However, I am looking at the big picture here and I could not see myself running this program for an extended period of time. Like the poster below you said “develop tunnel vision” and stick to a routine. I think that in the long run, I would eventually start to “overtrain” and spin my wheels and I feel that there is a program better suited for me (an average joe, not sponsored by a supplement company, who has a life outside of training/dieting/supplementation) As stated, this program works for LAYNE and is designed for him. He is not really someone I can compare myself to. So, last night I searched around for a routine I would believe in and consistently do for an extended amount of time and I believe I’ve found it. (I’ll get to that later)

[quote][i] wrote:

Aslong as you are able to recover and grow, then its not to much volum.

But if you stall then the total workload can be the problem, but it can also bee a poor diet, not enough sleep, other stressing factors in your life or a combination of some or all of the above. So if you want to scale back on the total workload, then be shure that diet, sleep or other factors arent the problem. If its one of the other, fix them not the program.

Hope that made sense.

good luck man :)[/i]
[/quote]

That does make sense, thank you. However, like I said above, I feel that in the long run, it is too much volume for me to handle.

Last night I spent a few hours lurking around these boards and found “T-Cell Alpha” and read a few of the the threads. One in particular really sparked my interest. The thread titled Bodypart Once Weekly by MODOK.
http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/blog_sports_training_performance_bodybuilding_alpha/bodypart_once_weekly?id=3025999&pageNo=0

I read all 8 pages of that thread and thought, this is what I have been looking for. I feel that higher frequency and less volume would suit me better. I am going to “develop tunnel vision” and run this program through summer and see how my body responds to it. Also, this routine has far less volume per bodypart than Layne’s. For example there are only 12 sets weekly for back and chest, as opposed to 23 for back and 19 for chest. Idk, there’s something about this routine that I feel will work.

Also, thanks for all the replies, guys. I really appreciate it.

I guess my main thing to focus on now is eating everything in sight, lifting heavy, and STICKING TO THIS ROUTINE.