Peripheral Heart Action Workout

Contributed by Courtney Horan, Author of the healthy living blog Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life. Courtney is a former teacher turned personal trainer, who loves blogging about healthy food and fun fitness ideas. You can connect with Courtney on Facebook and on Twitter.
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:
  • Vertical Loading vs. Horizontal Loading
  • Anaerobic Interval Training
  • Supersets
  • Tempo
  • Functional Training
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
  • Chest Press on Stability Ball
  • Dumbbell Squat
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Row
  • Step-Ups with Dumbbells
  • Single-Leg Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Group #2
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Swing
  • Deadlift
  • Ball Crunch on Stability Ball
  • One-Leg Hammer Curls
  • Dumbbell Side Lunges
Group #3
  • Squats
  • Chin-ups
  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Hanging Leg Raise (can be done in a Captain’s Chair or on a bar)
Group #4
  • Flat Barbell Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Barbell Rows
  • Close-Stance Leg Press (can be done with the at-home version linked or the machine)
  • Standing Barbell Curl
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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