Circuits are a great way to burn fat and get in better shape. There is however one problem with circuits – and that, of course, is the burning lactic acid build up, which can make the trainee exhaust very fast. Although it is very similar to circuit training, peripheral heart action training, or PHA training solves that problem in a way.
This program is designed to push blood through the muscles by alternating upper and lower body resistance exercises. The blood movement prevents localized congestion in one muscle and therefore limits the pump and build up of lactic acid. During the PHA workout your cardiovascular system is forced to work extra hard to divert blood to your working muscles, which creates greater energy expenditure per workout.
The key is to use compound movements and move from exercise to exercise as quickly as possible. The layout of a PHA workout is shown below:
1) Compound leg exercise
2) Upper body pushing exercise
3) Compound leg exercise
4) Upper body pulling exercise
5) Abs or cardio
The whole group of exercises is called a cycle. Beginners should start with only one group of exercises ( or one cycle) and gradually increase the number of cycles over time. All exercises from the cycle are completed for 10-12 repetitions and the cycle is repeated three to five times. Every new cycle, more weight is added and just enough rest is taken, so you can only do 10-12 reps (suggested rest periods are 30 seconds between exercises and 1 to 2 minutes between cycles). As the trainee gets more advanced, a second group of exercises can be added. A sample workout is listed below:
Incline Bench Press
Wide Lat Pull Down
In addition to being a great program for fat loss and muscular endurance, PHA training workout is also effective for strength training. Limit your workout days to 3 per week and avoid or limit your cardio sessions during this time. If your goal is strength and mass, you should do no more than one group of exercises per workout.