There are no shortage of training methods when it comes to sculpting sleek muscles. Whether you’re schooled in powerlifting, loyal to CrossFit, or into traditional bodybuilding, you’ll find a theory to match every style.

But the best results may well come from a combo of methods. “When you focus on one type of training, other areas such as strength, muscular endurance, and conditioning can suffer,” says Kyle Hopkins, head coach of Dynamic Strength and Performance in Nashville, TN. That’s where power hypertrophy pump (PHP) comes in. It bridges the gap among symmetry, strength, endurance, conditioning, and recovery by combining powerlifting, basic bodybuilding hypertrophy, and high-intensity interval and rep training.

PHP encourages working in multiple rep ranges and rotates movements to get a varied approach, allowing adequate recovery time and initiating less muscular trauma than in powerlifting or strict bodybuilding. It works best when pairing one, two, or three body parts—which is why this training is ideal for targeting the chest and shoulders.

Power Hour

PHP is generally broken into three movement types. 

POWER: PHP opens with a power compound movement, which includes big lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, military presses, and Olympic lifts such as clean and jerks or snatches.

BUILD: After this powerlifting movement, you move on to hypertrophy work in a more typical bodybuilding fashion. These movements can be executed in the 6-15 rep range and will focus on more concentrated, isolated exercises that can be used in dropsets, trisets, etc. These movements should be completed with challenging weights.

PUMP: This phase focuses on muscular and cardiovascular endurance through 50-100 repetitions of a movement with body weight or light weight. Working in this rep range pumps muscles full of blood, increases heart rate, and burns fat, especially with higher-intensity movements like burpees or kettlebell swings.


  • Begin each PHP group with 5 sets of 5 reps of the power move, resting 60-90 seconds between sets. Increase weight with every set.
  • Once complete, immediately move to the build superset, completing 1 set of 12 reps of exercise A before moving onto exercise B to do 12 reps. Repeat for 4 complete rounds, increasing weight with each set. 
  • Finish with 50-100 reps of the pump, resting as little as possible until all the reps are done. The workout should take about 1 hour.
  • Advanced Option: Increase reps on the pump portion, or complete workout with a “finisher” of your choosing, such as kettlebell thrusters and swings. You can also do high-intensity cardio bursts after each PHP grouping. 

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