Oh no not again…Cardio! Not everybody enjoys cardio, however it is a key component of reaching your health and fitness goals. However, cardio does not have to be boring, and it certainly does not have to monotonous to be an effective part of your training. Cranking up the intensity on your workouts with peripheral heart action training will reduce the time required to complete your workout while speeding up your fat oxidation.
Peripheral Heart Action Training or PHA training historically is a bodybuilding circuit that was immortalised by Mr America and Mr Universe Bob Gajda in the 1960s. This training method is specifically designed to keep your blood circulating throughout your body during the whole workout. The title comes from the smaller muscles around the heart being worked on initially, before the larger muscles around the body’s periphery (1). This technique requires you to continuously exercise over a set amount of time with shorter calculated breaks to reduce rest. And due to modern research and sports science impacting on how we exercise, what was old is now new again!
At the Fresh Start boot-camp in Chiang Mai we certainly utilise the benefits of PHA training, encompassing this intense form of circuit training in which you group several exercises together that exercise the entire body. Instead of pumping a lot of blood into one particular muscle or work set our goal is to increase circulation by pumping blood through muscles rather than just into them.
This is the end to painfully boring workouts as with PHA training the idea is to focus on compound exercises and to move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible, with little rest. PHA training is founded on the principles of HIIT, high intensity interval training. A 2001 study from East Tennessee State University (2) demonstrated that subjects who followed an eight-week HIIT program dropped 2% body fat over the course of the experiment, while, those who went through the eight weeks on a steady-state program lost no body fat. Research continues to prove that HIIT sessions are better fat-burners and time after time HIIT cardio is the best way to lose fat, despite the fact that it requires less total time.
Jez is a fresh start trainer here at the Chiang Mai boot camp; he has specifically designed PHA training sessions for individuals looking to burn fat and maintain muscle mass. He has called a particular session the ‘Dirty Dozen’ HIIT workout. Jez utilises the use of Kettle Bells and TRX ropes to access large muscle groups across the entire body, he calculates the rest to workout ratio to trigger the peripheral heart action.
Jez’s workout is as follows; all reps are relative to the individual but should be set at a resistance that will allow for a maximum of 12 repetitions
1) KB Russian Swing
2) TRX Horizontal pull ups
3) KB Goblet squat
4) TRX Chest press
5) Double KB clean & press
6)TRX Reverse fly
7) Double KB Split squat (6 each leg)
8) TRX Chest fly’s
9) KB Farmers walk (50m)
10) TRX Punch forward in plank
11) KB Turkish get up (6 each arm)
12) TRX alternate both knees to elbows in plank (feet in loops)
Jez encourages his class to take up to a minute break in between each exercise for beginners, however, over time the goal is to reduce the rest period between exercises until you are not resting at all in between each set. This method is designed to shunt blood from lower body to upper body alternately to put more demand on the heart and therefore optimising the effect on Cardio vascular endurance.
Working through these 12 different exercises targeting different muscle groups can also help to reduce a build-up of lactic acid in muscles, this is because the muscles receive enough time to clear lactic acid whilst blood moves to other working muscles. The key is to keep the intensity of the exercise high, but remembering to always adopt good form and technique throughout, but taking as little rest as possible to ensure the session is even more efficient.
You will be pleased to hear that the quicker you do it, correctly, the quicker it’s over. The 12 different exercises provide enough variation to keep things interesting, and of course these can be changed and selected by you. The key is to get in, get it done and get it out. Jez will help you to correctly complete each exercise and move on; limiting PHA training to 20-30 minutes will maximize intensity while actually aiding muscle growth and burning fat.
By attending out boot camp holiday in Chiang Mai, Thailand you will have unique access to many New Year workout tips and routines, including Peripheral Heart Action Training on the way to reaching your health and fitness goals. This is also the place to relax after you’re done reaching your goals that day, recharging your batteries with fabulous food and leisurely wanders throughout Thailand’s northern capital.
2. King, J.W. A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese premenopausal women (thesis). East Tennessee State University, 2001