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Cathe Live Review: Hooked On PHA (#288)

Updated: Apr 14

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Cathe Live Review: Hooked On PHA (#288)


Hooked On PHA is a fantastic and fun total body workout with a good cardio effect too.


I love Cathe’s PHA workouts and so when I saw she had made another one, I had to do it straight away! Fortunately, it did not disappoint – this is another excellent addition to the four others in the Live archive (PHAT 1 #57, PHAT 2 #94, PHA 3 #184 & PHA 2020 #278 ). There are also three PHA workouts on DVD (Strong & Sweaty PHA, LITE PHA 2 and STEP Boss PHA3). This still doesn’t take PHA 2020’s place as my absolute favourite version but I did enjoy it.


As always the concept of PHA (Peripheral Heart Action Training) is alternating between lower and upper body exercises with very short rest periods between exercises. As Cathe states “the goal is to maximise blood flow between the upper and lower body, while shortened rest periods keep your heart rate up for cardiovascular and fat-burning benefits”.


This one is structured into two rounds and, like all of Cathe’s most recent versions, each round is then repeated once more. I like this format, much more than the earlier versions, as there is less repetition. The first round has eight exercises and the second round has six. Cathe does change one exercise, on the second round, swapping out overhead tricep extensions for pullovers and this is shown in ‘The Moves’ below. Therefore, the rounds are not completely identical and also sometimes the rep numbers vary slightly from one set to the next. The reps are generally 12 - 16 reps but a few are slightly lower and a few higher, such as the sweeper lunges. Cathe used light to moderate weights and I only increased on a couple of the moves. The next time I would probably go a little heavier, on some of the moves, but as you are moving pretty quickly, during the exercises, and there is very little rest between moves, it may be difficult to go really heavy. Even with similar weights to Cathe, I still got a good workout and was really feeling the sweeper lunges and push-ups by the last set.


The routine hits all of the major muscle groups, at least once. Many of the moves are also more compound or metabolic moves, particularly the lower body moves, so none of these are heavy strength moves. Instead you are moving quickly and these really got my heart rate up a little more. Many of these moves are from Cathe’s most recent Step Boss: PHA 3 DVD and they use the step platform, for a few of the lower body and upper body moves. I did find the rear lunge, where you are passing the dumbbell under the leg, to be a little awkward and found it hard to really lunge properly, at that speed, and still pass the dumbbell. Looking at the class they were also having trouble as their form was also suffering. Therefore, these didn’t feel very effective for me - as they were a little too rushed. As with the other PHA workouts, there are no specific core moves in the routine, however, as many of the moves include a balance challenge you are getting some core work in too. The whole workout is very metabolic and I was pretty drenched by the end.


Overall, a good total body strength workout that has a strong cardio effect and will get those muscles working.


(For more information about Cathe Live, how to sign up & to see all of my Cathe Live reviews, click HERE).


The Workout


Hooked On PHA is a total body strength workout consisting of two rounds of exercises. The first round has eight exercises and the second round has six. Each round is repeated one more time before moving onto the next one.


What You Need to Know

(Rating scale – 1= lowest & 5 = highest).


The Moves


Hooked On PHA is 53 minutes long and originally aired on 12th March 2020 (#288). The workout starts with a 4 minute warm-up, before a quick water break and then moving into the first exercise.


Round 1a


  • Static lunges – two 15# Dbs – 16 reps each side

  • Step out Arnold press – two 12# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Rear lunge off step (passing Db under 1 leg) – one 10# Db & step platform - 16 reps each side

  • Bicep curls (one foot on tubing) – two 5# Dbs & resistance tubing (I used 2x 15# Dbs only) – 14 sets (1x both & 1x 1 arm)

  • Side slide pick-up lunges – one 12# Db & one gliding device – 20 reps each side

  • Plie squat & 1 arm overhead snatch – one 12# Db – 12 reps each side

  • Squat & crossback lunge – one 15# Db & step platform– 12 reps each side

  • Kettlebell swing & double arm lat pull down – two 8# Dbs (I used 10’s) – 8 reps


Round 1b


  • Static lunges – two 15# Dbs – 16 reps each side

  • Step out Arnold press – two 12# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Rear lunge off step (passing Db under 1 leg) – one 10# Db & step platform - 16 reps each side

  • Bicep curls (both feet on tubing) – two 5# Dbs & resistance tubing (I used 2x 15# Dbs only) – 16 sets (1x 1 arm & 1x both)

  • Side slide pick-up lunges – one 12# Db & one gliding device – 20 reps each side

  • Plie squat & 1 arm overhead snatch – one 12# Db – 12 reps each side

  • Squat & crossback lunge – one 15# Db & step platform– 16 reps each side

  • Kettlebell swing & double arm lat pull down – two 8# Dbs (I used 10’s) – 12 reps


Round 2a


  • Side tap toss (tap out to side & hop switch to change sides; passing Db from one hand to other) – one 10# Db – 29 reps

  • Standing overhead tricep extensions – two 12# Dbs– 16 reps (2/2 count)

  • Forward to back lunges (pendulum lunges onto & off step) – two 10# Dbs & step platform – 12 reps each side

  • 1 arm row in straight arm plank (one hand on step) – one 15# Db (I used 1x 20) & step platform – 16 reps each side (alternating between standard row & horizontal row every 4 reps)

  • Sweeper lunges – one 15# Db (to rest hand on) & one gliding device – 64 reps each side

  • Drop set push-ups – mat – 10 reps, 9 reps & 8 reps


Round 2b


  • Side tap toss (tap out to side & hop switch to change sides; passing Db from one hand to other) – one 10# Db – 32 reps

  • Pullovers – two 15# Dbs & step platform – 10 reps (partials)

  • Forward to back lunges (pendulum lunges onto & off step) – two 10# Dbs & step platform – 12 reps each side

  • 1 arm row in straight arm plank (one hand on step) – one 15# Db (I used 1x 20) & step platform – 16 reps each side (alternating between standard row & horizontal row every 4 reps)

  • Sweeper lunges – one 15# Db (to rest hand on) & one gliding device – 64 reps each side

  • Drop set push-ups – mat – 10 reps, 9 reps & 8 reps


The workout ends with a 3:30 minute cool down and stretch.


Take Action

Try it today! Find out more about how to subscribe and to check out all of my Cathe Live Reviews - click HERE.


If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Vertical Loading (#124) – HERE.


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