Cathe Live Review: PHA – No Repeats (#348)
Updated: Jun 29
Cathe Live Review: PHA – No Repeats (#348)
PHA – No Repeats is a fast paced, metabolic strength workout that is packed with variety. I quite liked this routine but I didn’t love it as much as I expected to. I love PHA style workouts and the idea of a no repeat version, for me, was even better so I had really high expectations for this one, as one of things I sometimes dislike about Cathe’s PHA workouts is that there is so much repetition. However, this was a much faster pace than usual and therefore, I sometimes struggled to keep good form with heavier weights and at times, it felt a little out of control and so I didn’t feel I got the most out of it. I certainly never reached muscle fatigue, although I was definitely sweating throughout. In addition, as with the last Cathe Live – Back At It! Bootcamp (detailed review HERE), Cathe modified most of the moves or just walked around the room after getting everyone started. I will say I am not really a fan of when she does this, as the camera work then tends to be rather shaky and unstable, which makes me feel a little dizzy.
This is the seventh PHA workout now in the Cathe Live archive. The others are PHA Training 1 #57, PHAT 2 #94, PHA 3 #184, PHA 2020 #278, Hooked On PHA #288 & PHA Barbell (#299). There are also three PHA workouts on DVD (Strong & Sweaty PHA, LITE PHA 2 and STEP Boss PHA3).
They are all excellent and challenging workouts based on PHA (Peripheral Heart Action Training), which 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 routine is, as the title states, a no repeat routine – meaning that every exercise is different. There are twenty two different exercises alternating between lower and upper body. I really liked the variety of exercises and also the fact that Cathe sometimes incorporated two different versions of a move into one exercise. For example, you alternate hammer curls with wide hammer curls or one arm rows with wide rows. This was great for making the reps fly by and so 50 minutes actually seemed rather short!
The strength exercises are a mix of different moves targeting all of the different muscle groups except the core, although obviously your core is working to stabilise you in many of them. The rep range is generally around 12 to 16 reps but as many of the moves are done at a faster pace, it is hard to go too heavy in this one. Cathe and class used 5 to 15 pounds for this one. Despite Cathe saying at the start of the class that the work will be at a controlled pace, you are moving quickly from the outset. I particularly found the bench press / narrow grip chest press combo and the 1 arm overhead press uncomfortably fast and you could see the class members’ form fail frequently. I would have much rather Cathe paced it a little slower, as I think for me I would have gotten a much better workout as a result and could have used much heavier weights. I also found a few of the moves a little awkward, such as, the lunge with the knee lift (passing the dumbbell underneath) and the squat / crossback lunge on the step – both of these were also done too fast for my preference and again I didn’t feel that my form was the best.
Overall, a varied metabolic strength workout but not necessarily a favourite for me.
PHA – No Repeats is a pure strength total body workout using the PHA training approach. The routine consists of a series of twenty two alternating upper and lower body strength exercises with no repeats.
What You Need to Know
(Rating scale – 1= lowest & 5 = highest).
PHA – No Repeats is 50 minutes long and originally aired on 10th June 2021 (#348). The workout starts with a 7 minute warm-up, before a quick water break and then moving into the first exercise for lower body.
Uneven squats – one 15# Db & step w/ 3 risers – 16 reps each side
1 Arm row / 1 arm wide row – Cathe used one 15# Db & one 5# Db in one hand (I used 1x 20) – 8x 1 arm row & 8x wide row each side
Lunge & knee lift (passing Db under leg) – one 10# Db – 16 reps each side (fast)
Pullovers – two 15# Dbs & step w/ 3 risers – 8x 1.5’s & 8x 2/2
Pendulum lunges (forward & back lunges) – one 15# Db – 12 reps each side
Push-ups – mat – 16x on toes & 16x knees
Step out sumo squats – one 15# Db – 19 reps
Bench press / narrow grip bench press combo – two 15# Dbs & step w/ 3 risers (I used 20’s) – 16 reps (fast)
Elevated lunge hops (back foot on step) – step topper – 40 reps each side
Hammer curls / wide hammer curls – two 12# Dbs (I used 15’s) – 15 sets (1 of each)
Push dips (back foot on step & leaning forward) – two 12# Dbs & step topper – 16 reps each side
L raises (front & side raise) – two 5# Dbs – 12x singles, 8x 2’s & 8x singles
Squat & cross back lunge (over step) – one 15# Db & step w/ 3 risers –
1 Arm bicep curl & iso hold (1 arm held at halfway; curl other arm up & down) – two 12# Dbs – 16 reps each side
Wide stance deadlifts / close stance deadlifts – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) – 4 sets of 4 of each
Tricep kickbacks / dips – two 12# Dbs & step w/ 3 risers – 2 sets (8x kickback & 16x dips) & 1 set (8x kickback & 24x dips)
Reverse lunges off step – two 12# Dbs & step w/ 3 risers – 16 reps each side
Chest flys w/ 1 leg extensions – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) & step w/ 3 risers – 16 reps
Alternating side to side pick-up lunges (putting down & picking up Dbs) – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 28 reps
1 Arm push press / 1 arm push press w/ palm facing forward – one 15# Db – 8x press & 8x palm fwd each side (fast)
Drop set calf raises – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) – 24 reps, 22 reps & 20 reps
Overhead tricep extensions – two 12# Dbs – 12 reps (2/2 & 1.5’s)
The workout ends with a 3 minute cool down and stretch.
If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Totally Pumped Total Body (#149) – HERE.
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