On the Peripheral

PHA Training could be the answer to postworkout pain
Pumping iron: avoiding pains in the process

The days of wincing in pain following ‘Leg Day’ at the gym could be long gone, as full-body circuit training grows in popularity. Hot on the heels of the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) method, PHA (Peripheral Heart Action) training is set to be the acronym on every fitness fanatic’s lips, spruiking combination workouts that work the whole body to promote afterburn but avoid postmuscle soreness.

What is it?

Peripheral Heart Action training works muscle groups of different extremities to avoid too much lactic acid build up while still allowing you to train hard. Workouts are specifically structured to keep blood circulating throughout the whole body during the entire workout. The smaller muscles around the heart are worked first before the larger muscles around the body’s periphery.

How does it work?

Developed by Dr Arthur Steinhaus in the 1940s and brought to the forefront of the bodybuilding world in the 1960s by former Mr Universe Bob Gajda, the method calls for eight to 12 reps of an upper body move followed by eight to 12 reps of a lower body move, with little rest between the two. This could be an upper body press and a squat, a leg press and a push up, or a deadlift and a leg curl. These combinations prevent too much lactic acid building up in any one part of the body so you can avoid muscle fatigue and keep up the intensity for longer periods of time.

What are the benefits?

City-based gym Ultimate Performance starts all beginner clients on at least a few weeks of straight PHA training, before incorporating other strength-based workouts. Senior personal trainer Akash Vaghela says it’s a good way to establish a baseline level of fitness to build from. “It takes people back to basics, so even if you have a good level of fitness PHA will get your technique right,” he says. “You’re stimulating your muscles three times a week so you’ll see results quicker, and also get higher EPOC [Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption], which is that afterburn effect of training. “Stick to the rest intervals and you can burn calories up to 48 hours after your workout.”

How much?

A 60-minute one-on-one session with an Ultimate Performance trainer will set you back £83 as a base rate, more during peak periods.

Where can I try it?

Ultimate Performance City is at 44-48 Paul Street EC2A 4LB, visit upfitness.co.uk for more details.