What Is PHA: The Peripheral Heart Action Training System

In the realm of fitness, the Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) training system has carved a niche for itself. PHA is a total body training system that has been around for decades, yet its principles remain popular even today. This blog post will delve into the intricacies of PHA, its benefits, drawbacks, and the potential risks associated with it.

Unraveling the PHA System

PHA is a circuit training system that utilizes resistance training, predominantly employing weights or isokinetic machines. The underlying theory of PHA is the continuous and prolonged stimulation of all muscle groups. This is achieved through multi-joint exercises, such as squats, pulls, pushes, and presses, ensuring each muscle group is stimulated only once per circuit lap.

The organization of a successful PHA training session requires the recruitment of muscles located far from each other, alternating between large and small ones, and spacing out the upper and lower parts. Ideally, a PHA circuit includes 5 or 6 exercises, each consisting of a variable number of repetitions, maintaining an intensity between 60 and 75% of one repetition maximum (1-RM) for 5 or 6 laps of the circuit.

The intensity of PHA training is high, but not as high as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). PHA promotes a high general metabolic fatigue, which prevents reaching strength peaks that can be achieved with interval training. It also discourages the accumulation of localized lactic acid and rarely causes muscle exhaustion or failure, maintaining a local "buffer" level of fatigue.

The Cardio-PHA Variation

There is a variation of PHA known as cardio-PHA, which includes aerobic exercise stations made up of fitness machines or free body exercises. In comparison to traditional PHA, strength exercises in cardio-PHA maintain approximately 20 reps at an intensity of approximately 45% 1-RM, while aerobic stations should have an intensity within the aerobic range and a duration of approximately 5 minutes.

The Benefits and Advantages of PHA

PHA is lauded for its aesthetic effects and its impact on overall fitness. The continuous, intense nature of the workout promotes numerous benefits including reduction of nervous stress, cardiocirculatory improvements, normalization of blood pressure, respiratory function advantages, and better energy production capacity.

In addition, PHA can lead to an increase in strength and muscle trophism, maintenance of good joint health, high calorie consumption during training, optimization of glucose metabolism, improvement of lipemia, and possible reduction in uric acid.

PHA and Weight Loss

While PHA can significantly increase calorie expenditure, weight loss is only achieved when the diet remains the same as when you were sedentary, or in any case increases in a small way. This is due to the fact that physical exercise enhances the stimulus of appetite and hunger. Therefore, maintaining self-control and avoiding overestimation of calories "burned" during the session is key.

PHA Supplements

The practice of PHA often leads to increased sweating and expulsion of water vapor through breathing. This results in the loss of large quantities of minerals, especially sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Therefore, athletes often resort to supplements to replenish these lost nutrients.

The Drawbacks and Risks of PHA

Despite its numerous advantages, PHA has its drawbacks. It may not be suitable for obese individuals, and beginners who practice home fitness may be at a high risk of muscular, tendon, or ligament injuries.

PHA also has contraindications linked to pre-existing uncomfortable or pathological conditions, or to individual susceptibilities, or to excessive commitment. These include severe obesity, severe underweight, severe heart disease, severe low back pain, muscle or tendon impairments, joint impairments, and serious balance problems.

The risks of PHA for a healthy individual are mainly limited to muscle, tendon or joint injuries. To reduce these dangers, it is crucial to pay attention to the correct technical execution of the exercises and to take your physical condition into consideration.


PHA is a dynamic and intense fitness system that offers numerous benefits. However, like any fitness regime, it comes with its share of risks and contraindications. Therefore, it is essential to undergo a preliminary medical evaluation and never train alone. As with any fitness journey, it's vital to listen to your body and adjust your routine accordingly.

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