Cathe Live: PHA Plus Cardio Blasts

#238 PHA Plus Cardio Blasts is another workout in Cathe‘s growing collection of PHA workouts. This workout is different from her other PHA workouts. It is more like a bootcamp workout but it still uses the PHA principle. 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 elevated 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.

This workout is made up of 10 circuits or rounds and each round consists of one cardio exercise, one lower body exercise and one upper body exercise. And no exercise is repeated, so there is lots of variety. This workout burned out my lower body more than other PHA workouts tend to because the cardio exercise is frequently lower body focused–so the muscles are already fatigued then you go straight into a lower body strength exercise. In other PHA workouts your lower body muscles haven a chance to recover while you are working your upper body, just as your upper body recovers while you are working your lower body. PHA workouts have built in recovery. I felt like my legs were getting less recovery than they usually get in a PHA workout. Normally I have no problem with something like that but in this instance, it kind of defeats the purpose of PHA. Maybe the upper body exercise should have been done first. I don’t know.

There were some real obvious form issues with some of the exercisers in this class. There always are in most live classes but they aren’t always glaring. Well, in this workout they seemed to leap out at me. You know how trainers always tell you not to let your knee go past your toes when doing a lunge? I never really understood how someone could do that and think they were doing a lunge properly. Well…. I saw it happen in this class. There are all sorts of unique “forms” going on during the lunges but I actually saw one person doing a front lunge with their knee going past their toes. That was a first for me. That wasn’t the only excercise I had to witness bad form on–rounded backs on deadlifts and more. Things I can’t unsee. Cathe actually tried to correct form on the deadlift. It looked to me as if she was looking directly at the rounded back when she started giving form pointers but the person she appeared to be targeting with her corrections was oblivious and continued deadlifting with a rounded back. In addition, Cathe’s rep count was off on a few of the exercises, so one side of the body got more reps than the other.

I did enjoy this workout. I got a great total body metabolic strength + cardio workout but I will not be buying this one. You can do Cathe’s live workouts by subscribing to her streaming site or purchasing the individual downloads. Here is a video clip of this workout.

PHA Plus Cardio Blasts is 54:30 minutes; 6 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. Equipment: a full step with 3 risers on each side (10 inches) plus a variety of dumbbells. I used the same weight as Cathe on the majority of the exercises. I think I lifted heavier on two exercises and those are noted in the breakdown below.

Circuit 1:

  1. Squat digs (squat jumps with legs together, reaching arms overhead and pulling them down when jumping); changes to 45 degree squat digs (alternate sides)
  2. Drop squats off side of step holding one DB in both hands, 16 reps each side (Cathe is using one 15# DB)
  3. Push ups to various tempos

Circuit 2:

  1. Wide squat jump facing the side then jump into a lunge facing forward, slamming one elbow/forearm down, alternate between these two moves, jumping as you alternate, 12 reps to each side
  2. Stand behind step with one foot on it and one on the floor, step up onto step and tap other foot on step and when you step off, lower into a narrow lunge, 16 reps each leg (Cathe is using 10# DBs)
  3. 3 single arm rear delt flys + 1 single arm row, repeat this pattern 2 times then continue alternating one single arm rear fly with one single arm row 4 times; ends with 8 single arm rear delt flys (Cathe is using one 10# DB)
  4. Repeat #3 on other arm except you do more reps

Circuit 3:

  1. 4 regular jumping jacks + 4 squat jacks with chest press arms, 6 reps of this combo
  2. Pivoting sumo squats, alternating sides, both singles and pulses (Cathe is using one 15# DB)
  3. Wide bicep curls to 2/2 count, 16 reps (Cathe is using 12# DBs)

Circuit 4:

  1. 4 slow lateral hops + 2 sets of 4 fast lateral hops, 8 reps of this combo (Cathe is using one 8# DB)
  2. Push dips, 16 reps each leg (in stationary lunge with back foot on step behind you, hinge torso forward and do partial reps–DBs will lower to ankles and only raise to knee height) (Cathe is using 12# DBs)
  3. Fast tricep dips off edge of step, 32 reps + 24 reps + 16 reps + 16 reps with a brief rest between each set

Circuit 5:

  1. Quarter turn jump squats (jump side, back to center, then to other side, back to center)
  2. Side/Crossback/Side Lunge Combo, alternate legs, 12 reps (Cathe uses one 15# DB)
  3. Double arm overhead presses, one set of 12 reps, one set of 10 reps, final set is done to a pattern: one slow overhead press + 2 fast, do 4 sets of this combo (Cathe is using 12# DBs)

Circuit 6:

  1. Rope climb + attack, 8 reps each side (3 sumo squat jumps while pulling arms down like you are rope climbing then “attack”–pivot jump into a lunge while bringing elbow/forearm down as if attacking something–that is one rep)
  2. Front lunges, 16 reps each leg (Cathe uses 12# DBs)
  3. Chest fly to 2/2 count, 12 reps; changes to opening arms in a chest fly, raise them partially, open them wide again then raise them back to top/start of fly, 5 reps of this pattern (Cathe uses 15# DBs)

Circuit 7:

  1. 4 alternating jump lunges + 8 scissor runs, 8 reps of this pattern
  2. Start standing on top of step, rear lunge off and pulse 3x + 2 single lunges (all on same leg), 4 reps of this pattern + 8 single reps (still on same leg); repeat on other leg (Cathe uses 10# DBs)
  3. Pullovers to 4/4 count, 2 reps; do the first part of the pullover, lift DBs halfway, lower back to bottom of pullover then lift DBs back to start, 7 reps (Cathe uses 15# DBs)

Circuit 8:

  1. Sumo squat jumps with hands clasped together, bringing hands from overhead down between thighs each time you jump, every 4th jump you quarter turn jump to side until you are facing the front again then you do 24 to the front
  2. Single leg deadlift to 2/2 count, 4 reps then changes to 3 down/1 up count for 4 reps, then alternate the two different counts (one 2/2 followed by one 3/1); repeat on other leg (Cathe uses 10# DBs; I used 15# DBs)
  3. Close grip bench press laying on the step, 8 reps then it changes to lowering to bottom then raising halfway, lowering to bottom then raising all the way, 4 reps of this pattern; changes to alternating the arms in single close grip chest presses + 2 double arm narrow chose grip presses, 4 reps of this pattern (Cathe uses 15# DBs)

Circuit 9:

  1. One arm burpees (placing hand on step), alternate hands, 16 reps
  2. Squat toss (pulsing squat while holding one DB in one hand in front of chest, other arm is extended straight in front of you, each pulse you pass the DB to the other hand while extending the arm that just held the DB–one rep is each hand holding the DB once, so 2 squat pulses= 1 rep), 20 reps (Cathe is using one 10# DB)
  3. Bicep curls drop sets: 8 supination curls with heaviest DBs, 8 supination curls with medium DBs, 8 supination curls with lightest DBs, ends with 4 traditional bicep curls to 2/2 count with heaviest DBs  (Cathe uses 10# DBs, 12# DBs & 15# DBs)

Circuit 10:

  1. Squat thrust with hands on step + 4 plank jacks; the plank jacks change to moguls (jump out to plank then jump both feet up toward one side of step, jump both feet back to plank then jump both feet up to other side of step, jump both feet back to plank then jump both feet back to hands–that is one rep)
  2. 8 squats + 4 deadlifts to 2/2 count; changes to 4 squats +  2 deadlifts to 2/2 count, do 3 reps of this pattern; ends with 8 squats (Cathe uses 15# DBs; I used 20# DBs)
  3. Straight arm side raises, 20 reps (Cathe uses 5# DBs)
  4. Scarecrows, 12 reps (Cathe uses 5# DBs)
  5. Circle straight arm/DBs (big circles, arms raise to about shoulder level), 6 reps in each direction (Cathe uses 5# DBs)

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