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Cathe Live Review: PHA 2020 (#278)

Updated: Apr 14

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Cathe Live Review: PHA 2020 (#278)


PHA 2020 is an excellent total body strength workout that will get those muscles pumping and that heart working.


This workout if based on the principles of Peripheral Heart Action Training – 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 is the fourth PHA Live, as there are three others in the Cathe Live archive (PHAT 1 #57, PHAT 2 #94 & PHA 3 #184). There are also three PHA workouts on DVD (Strong & Sweaty PHA, LITE PHA 2 and STEP Boss PHA3). They are all fantastic total body workouts but I love the more recent editions the most, as there is less repetition and this one is in a similar vein. The routine consists of two groups of eight exercises that are each repeated (rather than 3 sets in the earlier editions). I loved everything about this workout, there are no exercises to dread, as I often do in the other PHA workouts, as there are usually 1 or 2 moves that I don’t like but this was perfect! The fact that you don’t use a step, for any of the lower body moves, probably also helps!


Each group of eight exercises starts with lower body and then alternates upper and lower. The reps are not too high here – generally 12 to 24 reps but they are generally done at a faster pace than usual. The 8 point bicep drop curls were particularly fast and I had to drop from 15’s to 12’s in the second set. Cathe used moderate weights throughout and I increased on a few but I think it may be challenging to go too much heavier, given the pace of the workout. You also move quickly from one exercise to the next so there is little rest in between. This keeps both the muscles and the heart rate firing and I was pretty drenched by the end as there is also a good cardio effect. This aspect of the routine is much more in line with the new PHA3 DVD and some of the moves are directly lifted from that workout. Each muscle group is hit at least once with biceps, triceps and shoulders getting hit twice. The lower body work is not as challenging as the upper body work, in my opinion, but does keep the workout more metabolic. The key here though, as always, is selecting the right weights, for each exercise, to really challenge yourself and maximise the benefits from this style of routine.


Overall, this is another excellent addition to the PHA series of workouts and one that I love. This provides a great total body challenge along with a nice cardio effect.


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


The Workout


PHA 2020 is a pure strength total body, metabolic workout consisting of two rounds of eight exercises that are each repeated. Cathe used moderate weights and a mat for this routine.


What You Need to Know

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


The Moves


PHA 2020 is 44 minutes long and originally aired on 2nd January 2020 (#278). The workout starts with a 6 minute warm-up before a quick water break and starting the first lower body exercise. You will need to ensure that all of your equipment is handy, as you will be moving quickly from one thing to the next.

Round 1a

  • Alternating side lunges – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 16 reps

  • Push-up & tap foot to outside shoulder / push-ups – mat – 8 reps (tap) & 8 reps (push-up only)

  • 3 Squat hops & 1 rear lunge – one 10# Db (I used 1x 15) – 12 reps

  • Front raise / woodchops (side & middle) – one 12# Db – 12 reps (ft) / 8 sets (chop)

  • Step out sumo squats – one 15# Db – 16 reps

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

  • Crossback lunges – two 15# Dbs – 20 reps

  • Bicep curls / external rotations - two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 2 sets (3x up ½ way, external rotation & down, up 4 counts, 3x down ½ way, external rotation & up, down 4 counts), 2 reps (2/2 count) & 4 reps (singles)


Round 1b

  • Alternating side lunges – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 16 reps

  • Push-up & tap foot to outside shoulder / push-ups – mat – 8 reps (tap) & 8 reps (push-up only)

  • 3 Squat hops & 1 rear lunge – one 10# Db (I used 1x 15) – 12 reps

  • Front raise / woodchops (side & middle) – one 12# Db – 16 reps (ft) / 8 sets (chop)

  • Step out sumo squats – one 15# Db – 16 reps

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

  • Crossback lunges – two 15# Dbs – 20 reps

  • Bicep curls / external rotations - two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 2 sets (3x up ½ way, external rotation & down, up 4 counts, 3x down ½ way, external rotation & up, down 4 counts), 2 reps (2/2 count) & 4 reps (singles)



Round 2a

  • Alternating back lunges – two 15# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Tricep push-ups (on knees) – mat – 8x 2/2 & 4x 3/1 counts

  • Deadlifts – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) – 16 reps (2/2 & 3/1 counts)

  • 8 Point drop curls (bicep curl up then come down a little further each time for 8 reps then start from the top again and repeat) - two 10# dbs (I used 15's) – 4 sets (these are fast)

  • Alternating front lunges – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 24 reps

  • 1 Arm row – Cathe used two 12# Dbs in on hand (I used 1x 20) – 16 reps each side

  • Front sumo squats (Dbs held between wide legs) – two 15# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Tricep kickbacks in plank – one 10# Db & mat – 12 reps each side


Round 2b

  • Alternating back lunges – two 15# Dbs – 20 reps

  • Tricep push-ups (on knees) – mat – 8x 2/2 & 4x 3/1 counts

  • Narrow stance deadlifts – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) – 16 reps (2/2 & 3/1 counts)

  • 8 Point drop curls - two 10# dbs (I used 12's) – 4 sets (these are fast)

  • Alternating front lunges – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 24 reps

  • 1 Arm row – Cathe used two 12# Dbs in on hand (I used 1x 20) – 16 reps each side

  • Front sumo squats – two 15# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Tricep kickbacks in plank – one 10# Db & mat – 12 reps each side


The workout ends with a 4 minute cool down and stretch.


Take Action

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If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Vertical Loading 2 (#194) – HERE.


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