PHA 2 is part of Cathe‘s LITE series. LITE stands for Low Impact Training Extreme and Cathe created it as intermediate level workout series. For more information on the LITE series as a whole, please see the LITE Series review. PHA 2 contains 3 bonuses that are included in premixes and can also be done on their own: 6 Pack Abs #1, Pyramid Pump Biceps and Extended Stretch #2. They are all broken down below the workout breakdown.

PHA stands for Peripheral Heart Action. What this means in training terms is you alternate between upper and lower body resistance exercises, allowing as little rest as possible between each movement. The lack of rest and recovery keeps your heart rate up for cardiovascular and fat burning benefits, while switching between upper and lower body exercises maximizes blood flow to all parts of the body and reduces build up of lactic acid.

Cathe has created quite a few PHA workouts that are very popular. In fact, one of my all time favorites (and the workout that introduced me to PHA training) is her first Live PHAT workout. In fact, the description above was given by Cathe when she first created that workout.

This is an excellent workout! I loved it! It is a total body strength workout that really elevates the heart rate so you are getting cardio, too (metabolic weight training). According to my FitBit I remained in my cardio zone the entire workout and a few times it even spiked up into my peak heart rate zone for a minute or two! I used to be an advanced home exerciser and just a year ago I would have found this workout too easy, at least as presented by Cathe. But for my current fitness level it is perfect. I did use heavier weights than Cathe on some exercises, but overall it is exactly my current fitness level. It worked me hard and I also believe there is room to grow. Due to the pace of some of the exercises you cannot lift super heavy, but as I get stronger I will be able to easily increase the weights I use on a lot of the exercises. In Circuit 2 those elevated push dips (#3) are deceiving! I really thought 8 pound dumbbells would be too light but I think that exercise would be tough even sans dumbbells! I know I will be getting fierce again when I can increase my weight on that exercise! The second time I did this workout I did Extreme Premix #1 in which you do 3 rounds of each circuit instead of 2 and it is 62 minutes long–I think that will be my new go to. I have a wonderful afterburn going on in my back, glutes and shoulders right now. I adore this workout!

PHA 2 is 44 minutes; 4:30 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and full step @ 10 inches. Unless indicated below, I used the same weight as Cathe used.

Circuit 1:

  1. Side to Side Sumo Squat (Cathe is using one 15# DB)
  2. Single Arm Row alternating hand position (palm to the front then rotate so palm faces behind you) (Cathe is using one 15# DB)
  3. Forward Leaning Glute Lunges (start standing on 4 inch step topper, do reverse lunge off topper bringing DB down to foot on step when lunging)  (Cathe uses one 10# DB; I used one 15# DB)
  4. Pullover (laying on step @ 10 inches) (Cathe uses 12# DBs; I used 13# DBs)
  5. Squats (Cathe uses 15# DBs; I used 18# DBs)
  6. Push ups to a rep pattern (down 2, up 2 + 2 singles, repeat 5x)
  7. Rear Lunges off Step (Cathe uses 10# DBs; I used 15# DBs)
  8. Close Grip Bench Press (done to down 2, up 2 + 2 singles pattern, repeat 5x) (Cathe uses 15# DBs)
  9. Repeat 1-8

Circuit 2:

  1. Side Lunges (Cathe uses one 15# DB)
  2. Bicep Curls (Cathe uses 12# DBs)
  3. Elevated Push Dips (in lunge w/ back foot on 10 inch step, hinge forward so DBs frame front foot and raise and lower in lunge) (Cathe uses 8# DBs; I used 10# DBs)
  4. Side to Front Lateral Raise (straight arms, raise and lower DBs to sides then raise and lower arms to sides but bring DBs together in front of body) (Cathe uses 5# DBs)
  5. Static Lunges (Cathe uses one 15# DB; I used one 20# DB)
  6. W Bicep Curls (wide bicep curls) (Cathe uses 12# DBs)
  7. Deadlifts (Cathe uses 15# DBs; I used 25# DBs)
  8. Lying Tricep Extensions (lying on bench @ 10 inches w/ knees bent and feet elevated) (Cathe uses 10# DBs; I used 11# DBs)
  9. Repeat 1-8

6 Pack Abs #1 is 10 minutes; 30 second stretch. Equipment: fitness mat. This was an impressive core bonus! I love it and it did an excellent job working my entire core, front to back. It has a lot of boxing inspired moves. I always have a pair of boxing grips near by and used them for any core move that included a boxing arm movement. I definitely think this is intermediate level–maybe even high intermediate level. It really challenged me but I was able to do every exercise as presented by Cathe, so it isn’t advanced. I loved it!

  1. Alternating Sit Outs (lower into bear crawl position, place one hand on ground and extend same side leg out underneath you and straight out to side while tapping shoulder with opposite hand, alternate sides)
  2. Triangle Choke Reverse Lift (lay on back, extend one leg straight to ceiling, other leg is bent with foot behind other knee, hands are on mat beside hips, do a reverse crunch in this position; do 8 reps then swap legs and do 8 more reps, do 8 more reps alternating legs)
  3. Guard Block Punches (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, hands are on guard, crunch up then lean to side, return to center then lower (Cathe calls it “slip side”, alternate sides)
  4. Body Shot Sit Ups (do a full sit up then do a body shot punch, alternate arms)
  5. Boxer Sit Ups (full sit ups w/ 4 cross punches at top of sit up–two high and two low)
  6. Hip Thrusts w/ Upstrike (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, do hip raise and punch arm across body toward floor at head level, alternate sides)
  7. V Plank (in straight arm plank, bring foot up outside of same side hand, alternate sides; changes to bringing foot up to outside of same side hand then bring same foot up under body, knee toward chest, alternate sides)
  8. Supermans
  9. Repeat #7 & 8

Extended Stretch #2 is 11 minutes. This is absolutely wonderful and exactly what I need at this time in my life–more flexibility work. I am so thrilled that Cathe has added one of these extended stretches to each DVD in this series. I plan to use them a lot. Maybe every single time I do a LITE workout. This one is wonderful and the fact it starts with some basic standing flows really just extends the cool down with some dynamic stretching. When she uses the Extended Stretches in premixes (tacked on to the end of the workout) you skip the stretch that is part of the workout and go straight to the Extended Stretch bonus.

Extended Stretch #2 starts in mountain pose. Inhale and extend arms overhead then swan dive down into forward fold, straighten spine/flatten back then roll back up to standing, keep repeating this flow. Hold forward fold. Step one leg back so you are in runners lunge then lower back knee to mat; leave one palm on floor and rotate spine raising other arm (same side as front leg) to ceiling. Return to forward fold. Raise into flat back and hold; roll back to standing, raising arms overhead, forward fold then step back to down dog. Child’s pose. Butterfly stretch w/ palms on floor behind hips to stretch chest. Still seated on mat, knees bent and feet on floor, hands still on mat behind hips, raise hips and cross one ankle over opposite knee then lower hips to floor; from this position, lower leg to floor so you are sitting in a modified lotus position, twist spine placing one hand on floor behind you and other arm on knee; in same position, take arm that was on floor behind you and extend overhead and to opposite side. Sit on bottom with straight legs extended in a wide V in front of you and walk hands out between thighs. Sit cross-legged and walk hands out on floor in front of you. Sit cross-leg with backs of hands resting on knees, palms facing the ceiling and eyes closed.

Pyramid Pump Biceps (7 minutes) Each exercise is done for 5 sets and each set increases in reps then decreases back down the pyramid in this fashion: 1 set of 12 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 8 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 12 reps. Equipment: dumbbells, sliding device, stability ball and a fitness mat.

Since I did not do any of the Pyramid Pump Bonuses as add ons to the main workout, I cannot accurately review them that way. I did the Pyramid Pumps using the bonus DVD that collects them all together. See the Pyramid Pump review if you want more information.

Standing Sweeper Curls (DBs) + Incline Curls (stability ball + DBs)

(Cathe uses the same DBs for both exercises: 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set)


Basic Premixes:

Main Workout + Extended Stretch #2 (50:31 minutes)

Main Workout + 6 Pack Abs #1 (53:45 minutes)

Main Workout + 6 Pack Abs #1 + Extended Stretch #2 (60:28 minutes)

Main Workout + Pyramid Pump Biceps (50:36 minutes)

Main Workout + Pyramid Pump Biceps + 6 Pack Abs #1 (60:34 minutes)

Timesaver Premixes:

Timesaver #1: First Half Only (27:19 minutes)

Timesaver #2: Last Half Only (25:01 minutes)

Timesaver #3: 2 Circuits Mixed (1A + 2B) (25:52 minutes)

Timesaver #4: 3 Circuits Only (1A + 1B + 2B) (35:33 minutes)

Timesaver #5: 3 Circuits Only (1A + 2A + 2B) (34:07 minutes)

Timesaver #6: Lower Body Exercises Only (26:14 minutes)

Timesaver #7: Upper Body Exercises Only (26:06 minutes)

Timesaver #8: Pyramid Pump Biceps (includes warm up & stretch) (15:21 minutes)

Scrambled Premixes:

Scrambled #1 (scrambles entire workout) (43:47 minutes)

Scrambled #2 (Abs mixed in) (53:45 minutes)

Scrambled #3 (Abs mixed in differently than in #2) (53:45 minutes)

Extreme #1 (6 rounds: 1A + 1B + 2A + 2B + 1B + 2B) (61:43 minutes)

Extreme #2: Double It (8 rounds: 1A + 1B + 2A + 2B + 1A + 1B + 2A + 2B) (78:53 minutes)



4 thoughts on “LITE: PHA 2

  1. I loved your comment about getting fierce again… but I think you are already there! I am really enjoying the LITE workouts and their premixes. I especially like stacked upper and lower body because there is so much variety and never a chance for boredom. Also I have used the pyramid pump add-ons quite a bit after other workouts. Thanks for all your reviews, keep them coming please;-)


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