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Peripheral Heart Action Training

by Courtney on March 22, 2012

I’ve got a new workout comin’ atcha today!

One of my favorite things when I was studying for my NASM certification was learning about the different types of workouts. For so long, I had been doing various types of workouts without really knowing what the real name was (if there was even one) or why the heck they were designed the way they were.

Here are some previous workouts/resistance training systems I’ve shared:

Today, I want to share another resistance training system known as PHA, or Peripheral Heart Action. This type of system requires you to move through upper and lower body exercises in a circuit fashion, moving from one exercise to the next with minimal rest.

It is actually designed to avoid the “pump” effect you get when doing multiple sets of same-muscle exercises, and instead, attempt to keep blood flowing through your entire body. This helps avoid lactic acid buildup, which will allow you to push yourself harder and have a very metabolically challenging training session. Sounds good, right?

So I’ve put together a little “cheat sheet” on PHA, with four different workout options to choose from…

PHA workout

You can choose to create a workout using one group or two, depending on how much time you have. But no matter how many groups you choose, here are some specific guidelines of PHA training:

  • Use 5-6 exercises per circuit
  • Perform 12-15 repetitions per exercise
  • Repeat the circuit 5 times during each workout
  • Rest as little as possible between exercises (you can start with one-minute rest periods, but try to decrease gradually)
  • You can choose to perform 3-4 workouts each week (one from each group above)
  • When doing the same workout, increase the weight you use each time you move through the circuit. Start with a weight you can easily lift for 12-15 repetitions your first time through, but gradually increase it so you are using a very challenging weight by the end of your workout. You want to feel the burn, but you don’t want to work yourself to muscle failure.

**Edited to include – Below are the descriptions/pictures for the moves shown above:

Group #1

Group #2

Group #3

Group #4

So there ya have it! Perhaps a new workout for some of you to try soon?

Question for the Afternoon:

Have you ever tried (or heard of) PHA Training? Do you think it’d be something for you?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! March 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Ive never heard of it but it definitely looks intriguing!!

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2 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I’m with Andrea … never heard of it, but now I kinda want to try it!

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3 Elizabeth @ Chocolate Drops and Pearls March 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm

These workouts look great! I will definitely be giving them a try soon.
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4 Lena @Fit on the Rocks March 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm

So interesting. This gives me options to change up my workouts from the typical supersets.
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5 Kate @ the little spoon blog March 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I’ve never heard of this technique but you can bet that I’m going to spook into it and give it a shot! Thanks for sharing!!
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6 Karen March 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

This sounds great, you may have posted this before and if so, let me know where…but do you have the description of all of these workouts????

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7 Courtney March 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Thanks for the reminder, Karen! I just included them all in the post above so you should be all set! :)

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8 Karen March 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

Your the best…thank you so much! Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

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9 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance March 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I’ve never heard of it, but I feel like it’s being used in bootcamp a bit this week?
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10 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance March 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for the NASM exam review, Courtney ;)
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11 Courtney March 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Haha, you betcha ;)

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12 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles March 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I’ve never heard of it but this looks intense! I think it would get the job done for the heart and for the muscles! WOWZA!
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13 Juju@getfitwithjuju March 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I’ve never heard of it, but glad that you shared this with us. I get so bored with routine, so this should change things up a bit! xoxo =]
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14 Tina @ Best Body Fitness March 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Darn you, woman!!! I had this exact topic slated for a post next week. hahaha!
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15 Courtney March 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Oh no, LOL! I guess great minds really do think alike?!?

Looks like we’re going to have to do a run through of our upcoming posts in our next gchat session. ;)

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16 michelle kim March 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm

This is the first time hearing about it, but it seems like something I can do for a quick hit-every-body-part workout. I’m sure if I move quickly enough through the moves, it will be like cardio, too
michelle kim recently posted..BodyPump

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17 Courtney March 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Yes! It definitely will – there should be VERY minimal rest so your heart rate will definitely be up!

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18 Erin March 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm

This looks awesome! I’m definitely going to try some of these soon. And possibly make my coworkers do them with me!
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19 Michelle (Better with Berries) March 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I’ve never tried this type of training, but it looks like an awesome workout! I have it saved for this weekend :-) And thanks for including links to how-tos on the workouts – I’m always having to look them up!
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20 Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection March 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I love this post and obviously this workout idea! It actually reminds me of Jillian Michaels workout videos because she’s all about working the whole body in circuits to keep the blood flowing and blast fat, etc…Definitely pinned it! : )
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21 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean March 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm

great post court! i’ve never heard of this before. love it!
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22 Janae Wise March 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm

So if you’re supposed to increase weight with each circuit, and using hand weights, wouldn’t this mean you’d have to have 5 different sets of hand weights? I’d think if I was progressing the weight, by the 5th circuit I wouldn’t be able to do as many reps (maybe 6 or 8) and it would more likely than not be to failure. Thoughts?

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23 Courtney March 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Hey Janae, that’s a great question!
For someone like me, and possibly you, my weight isn’t very heavy so it may be difficult to have that many sets of dumbbells. I’d say try increasing the weight once, maybe twice, within the circuit. That way you’re still keeping the workout more challenging, but more attainable too. Thanks for pointing that out!

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24 Janae Wise March 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for answering my question. I’m looking forward to trying this format–I’m a big believer in changing things up, and I haven’t tried this format before.
Janae Wise recently posted..The Stay-at-Home Dad

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25 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 23, 2012 at 12:22 am

Thank you for sharing, I’m going to try it in my workout tomorrow!
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26 Shannon March 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm

No, I’ve never heard of PHA training, but I’ve heard of lactic acid formation and what it does to your muscles, etc. I always feel so proud when you bring up the biology parts of your job. I feel so smart because I have covered the majority of it this year in Science.

Maybe I’d like this type of workout, it’s fast paced, but the only thing I wouldn’t like is the minimal rest factor, especially if I got exhausted in the middle of the group of workouts. :(
Shannon recently posted..St. Patrick’s Day clarification, a new feature, and Lady Gaga becoming a mom?

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27 achat sac longchamp en ligne March 22, 2013 at 7:13 am

No i know. Thank you for sharing this.

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