Review of Cathe's LITE: PHA 2
Updated: Apr 14
Review of LITE: PHA 2 from Cathe Friedrich – a total body workout that alternates between lower and upper body exercises to enable maximum muscle recruitment & keep that heart rate elevated throughout.
PHA 2 is part of Cathe Friedrich’s new Low Impact Training Extreme (LITE) workout series, which consists of 7 DVDs plus numerous bonus add-ons and 100’s of premixes. The series is aimed at intermediate exercisers. However, Cathe states that it will also provide a solid challenge for the advanced exerciser through ramped up bonus segments, higher weight options, and premixes. For more details on the full LITE program, click HERE or check out my blog post – Your Ultimate Guide to Cathe’s New LITE Workout Series.
This is the second PHA workout Cathe has released, the other being part of the advanced series – Strong & Sweaty. (She also has 3 PHA live classes on her streaming service). The concept is based on 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”.
Both of the Live versions and the Strong & Sweaty workout are extremely challenging and very metabolic workouts but they are not necessarily my favourite workouts – mainly due to the repetition - as you are generally repeating each set of exercises three times. So I was rather pleased that the LITE version only runs through each set of exercises twice! With the right weights this is a fast and effective workout and you will definitely be breathing harder in places. The nature of the workout lends itself to being more metabolic and you will definitely make the most of your workout time here. (And the fact there is less dread factor for the repetitions – makes it more likely I would return to it too!)
The moves are generally all traditional effective strength training exercises and as the rep speed is very controlled, you can go as heavy as you wish to really up the intensity. The rep ranges are also not too high, generally between 12 - 24 reps (although a couple of moves (pushups & close grip bench press) have a slightly different pattern - 1 rep at 2/2 count and 2 singles, which is repeated five times). Cathe's weight selections for this workout were not that light and are actually similar to what she uses in her Live workouts. So although I did increase my weights, on many of the exercises, you could easily use the same weights as Cathe and still get a great workout.
I really enjoyed this workout, it was an excellent and very effective total body workout.
PHA is a metabolic strength workout that consists of two rounds of 8 exercises - alternating lower and upper body exercises. Each round is repeated once more before moving on to the next round. You will need a full size step both for some of the lower body and upper body exercises. You could substitute a high step and / or the floor, if you don’t have a full size step, for many of the exercises.
This DVD also includes a Pyramid Pump Biceps, Extended stretch #2 and 6 Pack Abs #1.
What You Need to Know
(The information below is based on how I did the workout, using heavier weights, but not including any of the bonus add-ons).
(Rating scale – 1= lowest & 5 = highest).
(The weights listed below are what Cathe is using)
PHA 2 is 43 minutes long. The workout starts with a 4:30 minute warm up before moving into the first round. The workout ends with a really nice 4 minute stretch.
Alternating side to side sumo squats – one 15# db (I used 20) - 24 reps
1 arm rows (alternating angled rows with palm facing forward and then back) – one 15# db (I used 20) - 20 reps
Forward leaning glute lunges – one foot on topper of step & one 10# db - 12 reps each side
Pullovers on the step – two 12# dbs (I used 15's) - 12 reps (2/2 count)
Squats – two 15# dbs (I used 20's) - 12 reps
Pushups – 1x 2/2 count & 2 singles repeated x5
Rear lunges off the step (3 risers each side) – two 10# dbs (I used 12's) - 12 reps each side
Close grip chest press (lying on the step) – two 15# dbs (I used 20's) - 1x 2/2 count & 2 singles repeated x5
Side lunges (one side then the other) – one 15# db (I used 20) - 12 reps
Standing bicep curls – two 12# dbs (I used 15's) - 12 reps (2/2 count)
Elevated push dips with one leg on step (3 risers each side) – two 8# dbs (I used 10's)
Side to front lateral raises – alternating the hands to meet in front of the hips & to the side – two 5#dbs - 24 reps
Static lunges – one 15# db (I used 20) - 12 reps each side
W curls – two 10# dbs (I used 15's) - 12 reps (2/2 count)
Deadlifts – two 15# dbs (I used 20's) - 12 reps (2/2 count)
Lying tricep extensions (lying on the step with knees bent off the ground) – two 10# dbs (I used 12's) - 12 reps (2/2 count)
Pyramid Pump Biceps Bonus is 6 minutes long. Pyramid training is a stepped approach to sets and repetitions. In this case you start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight, whilst decreasing the reps, for 3 sets of each exercise (pyramid up) then you reverse that starting heavy and going lighter, whilst increasing the reps, for 2 sets of each exercise (pyramid down). The rep pattern is as follows - 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps, 12 reps. This bonus is focused on one body part – Biceps and goes both up and down the Pyramid for two different exercises listed below (5 sets per exercise). The exercises for upper body are supersets so, for the biceps you do both standing sweeper curls and incline bicep curls on the ball. You start with your light weights and do set one of sweeper curls and one set of incline bicep curls before you move up to your moderate weight for set two and so on.
You will need dumbbells and a stability ball for this segment. With the right weights you will feel these exercises and this makes a nice little add-on for any workout.
Standing sweeper curls - two 8, 10, 12# dbs
Incline bicep curls on the ball - two 8,10,12# dbs & stability ball
6 Pack Abs #1 is also included on this DVD. This bonus core section is 10 minutes long and does not include a warm-up (as Cathe is assuming you are adding it on to another workout) but does include a quick stretch at the end. You will just need a mat for this core bonus.
This is a good little bonus that works the core pretty well and finishes off any workout nicely. The routine is boxing inspired and includes some new moves and some more familiar moves with a new twist. The moves flow from one to the next with little rest. This is a nice, fun routine that isn’t too tough. I found this easier than 6 Pack Abs # 2.
Alternating sit outs (starting in beast position, pull the leg through and tap to the ground whilst tapping hand to opposite shoulder. These are done at a nice slow pace)
Triangle choke reverse lift (lying on back with one leg hooked behind the other lift up the hips)
Guard block crunches (lying on back with hands in guard position, crunch up & slip to one side then down & repeat to other side)
Body shot sit ups (lying on back then sit up & body shot one side, lie back down & repeat on other side)
Boxer sit ups (starting in seated position leaning back, lie back down, come up & alternate punches at the top – 2 high & 2 middle)
Hip thrusts with upstrike (start lying on your back with knees bent then raise hips & punch over the body to one side then the other)
V planks (in straight arm plank, tap foot to outside of hand – one side then other)
W planks (in straight arm plank, tap one foot to outside of hand & back, then same foot taps straight in & out, then other foot taps straight in & out then taps to outside of other hand)
Supermans (lying on your stomach with hands out in ‘W’ position, raise & lower arms / legs at same time)
Extended Stretch #2 – is 11 minutes long and only requires a mat. This is another really relaxing stretch routine that I enjoyed very much. The routine starts standing with a flow of moves, including breathing in, swan dive down into forward fold then half lifts. This is repeated a few times before you move to towards the floor. The stretches are all familiar moves, including downward dog, straddle stretch etc and provide a nice way to end a workout session or as a standalone if you want a little flexibility work. I found this very calming and it nicely stretched out my lower body. Again the upper body, I felt, was a little neglected but overall it’s still a nice addition to add to my weekly routine.
PHA 2 has 18 premixes on the dvd.
(Premixes are extra bonus workouts included on the dvds that use the main workout as the backbone and then add, remove or change the order of elements to create a new routine).
1. Main Workout + Extended Stretch #2: 50:30
2. Main Workout + 6 Pack Abs #1: 54:44
3. Main Workout + 6 Pack Abs #1+Extended Stretch #2: 60:27
4. Main Workout + Pyramid Pump Biceps: 50:36
5. Main Workout + Pyramid Pump Biceps + 6 Pack Abs #1: 60:33
1. Timesaver #1: First Half Only: 27:19
2. Timesaver #2: Last Half Only: 25:00
3. Timesaver #3: 2 Segments Mixed (1A + 2B): 25:52
4. Timesaver #4: 3 Segments Only (1A + 1B + 2B): 35:33
5. Timesaver #5: 3 Segments Only (1A + 2A + 2B): 34:06
6. Timesaver #6: Lower Body Exercises Only: 26:14
7. Timesaver #7 Upper Body Exercises Only: 26:05
8. Timesaver #8: Pyramid Pump Biceps: 15:20
Mish Mosh Premixes
1. Scrambled #1: 43:47
2. Scrambled #2 (Abs Mixed In After Rounds 1B and 2B): 53:44
3. Scrambled #3 (Abs Mixed In After Every Round): 53:44
4. Extreme #1: 6 Rounds: 61:42
5. Extreme #2: Double it- 8 Rounds: 78:53
These workouts are available as a bundle or individually on DVD, download or through Cathe’s On Demand streaming service ($19.99 per month, which also includes access to all of the Cathe Live archived classes).
Check out my reviews of each of the other workouts in this series by visiting my Recent Posts Page HERE.
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