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PHA Training – What, How and Why!

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Read on to find out everything you need to know about PHA Training and why it is such an incredible fat loss training regime!

PHA Training stands for Peripheral Heart Action training and refers to a type of circuit training that is excellent for fat burning and muscle building. Many bodybuilders will include this type of workout in conjunction with HIT (High Intensity Training) during their cutting phases and competition prep. PHA Training was developed by Dr Arthur Steinhaus and made infamous by the 1960’s legend bodybuilder Bob Gajda (Mr America and Mr Universe) – ultimately this type of training does exactly what it sets out to do!

This training style is specifically designed to keep the blood circulated throughout the whole body during the entire workout, where the smaller muscles around the heart are worked on first before the larger muscles around the body’s periphery. You then alternate between upper and lower body exercises which helps facilitate circulation to various muscles allowing you to not develop the “burn” in one particular muscle group. As your body doesn’t develop the lactic acid within just one muscle group it has the ability to keep pushing and working at a high intensity for longer periods of time and therefore you will be burning fat at a higher rate after exercise. This is down to something brilliant called EPOC – Excess Post Oxygen Consumption – which allows us to keep burning fat for up to 72 hours post exercise! This form of training is vigorous and due to its requirements of intense exercise for a continued period of time without any rest, this training programme is seriously intense. If you’re like me and love the sound of intense training then I have written down my own PHA workout guide that I have just completed – and yes it nearly killed me… but I loved it!

With PHA Training’s goal being to ‘shunt’ your blood up and down the body, which is not only extremely taxing on your cardiovascular system but also on your muscular endurance; the benefits you gain are quite obvious. Your body fat will decrease, your anaerobic as well as aerobic capacity will increase and your metabolic rate will improve – meaning you’ll be able to eat more calories and not put weight on. Additionally, if you’re not in the midst of shredding or prepping for competitions and your aim is to build strong muscle then you can still use PHA Training to your advantage and aim for strength over endurance. As each body part exercised will be getting adequate rest during the circuit phase due to the sequence of the exercises, strength will not be a lessening factor and even close to maximal strength can be achieved in the next exercise. You should still keep your weights heavy and technique spot on, just because your heart rate will be elevated close to its maximal does not mean your strength is diminished. Try using 50-70% of your 1 rep max weights on compound movements if strength is your desired goal – for example: deadlift, shoulder press, squat, military press, lunges, chest press or bench etc.

As I am currently not shredding but am eating a sufficient amount of calories and prefer to stay lean (ish) all year round I completed the following PHA Training programme to develop my muscular strength as well as endurance and gain that fat burning intensity I am looking for:

My PHA workout:

Warm-up – 1000m jog or 5 minutes jog on the treadmill

Exercise 1: Incline Treadmill Sprints – Incline 9.0 Speed 17kphm – Sprint for 30 seconds

Exercise 2: Bodyweight Squat Jumps – 30 seconds

Exercise 3: Standing Shoulder Press – 8kg dumbbells – 30 seconds

Exercise 4: Press up Rows – 8kg dumbbells – 30 seconds

Exercise 5: Bodyweight Lunge Spilt Jumps – 30 seconds

Exercise 6: Plank to press up – 30 seconds

Exercise 7: Burpees – 30 seconds

Rest for 30 seconds

Repeat the whole circuit 5 times

Total time: 25 minutes (including 5 minute warm-up)

Heart rate after PHA: 178 b.p.m

Resting heart rate: 48 b.p.m

NOTE: Adjust weights and speed of treadmill to suit your fitness levels.

If you give this workout a go then I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on it! You can contact me via Instagram @fitnessfanbikini or on Twitter @HayleyMadigan

Additionally, if you would like to know more about further fat burning workouts and diet plans then drop me an email at fitnessfanhayley@gmail.com or fill out our Fitness Fan contact form on this website.