The blood is pumping through your arms. The sweat is streaming down your face. Your eyes are narrowed and your mind is focused on the job in hand. Nothing matters in the world, but this set. Each rep is a battle. Each exercise is a war. This is hard work. This is what champions are made of. This is a finisher.
A good workout will leave you sore. A great one will leave you knowing you did your ABSOLUTE best and left nothing in the tank. It not only builds muscle, but pride, mental toughness, and a sense of accomplishment. That’s what a finisher can do for you.
What is a Finisher?
Finishers end your workouts ensuring that you have actually given your all. They’re typically comprised of a few characteristics:
☐ Very high intensity
☐ Challenges your mental toughness
☐ Time: 2-10 Minutes
☐ Multiple exercises
A finisher will either be supersets or circuit exercises performed to near failure or total failure. They last anywhere from two minutes up to ten and can turn your mediocre workout into an incredible one. Examples of finishers I do are below and you can challenge yourself by incorporating them into your routine.
All finishers are extremely high intensity and have very little, if any, rest time. Because of that, finishers potentially double as cardiovascular training.
I took a complete break from traditional cardio activities – running, cycling, walking – and focused on implementing finishers at the end of my workouts 2-3 times per week. When I came back to running two months later I was in just as good, if not better condition. It really works!
Here are a few examples of the finishers I made and used throughout my training.
|Incline Dumbbell Press||8+||Pick a weight that you can get around 8-10 reps with and try to get as many as possible.|
|Cable Chest Fly (Low to High)||10-15+||Each rep should look like this:
1) power up
2) pause at the top for 1-2 seconds
3) release down slow and controlled
|Cable Chest Fly Partials (High to Low)||As Many As Possible||You’re only performing the top 1/3 of the movement. Pick a light weight,
but If you can get more than 30 reps then the weight is too light.
|Push-ups||As Many As Possible||Power up, slow down. As many as possible.|
|Dead Hang||:30 – 60 sec||Just hang from the pull up bar. Fully extended.|
|Pull-up||As Many As Possible||Use momentum once you reach failure to get an extra couple pull ups.|
|T-bar Row Ladder||6-12 each set||Place four plates (any weight 10s-45s) on the bar. Perform 6-12 reps.
Remove a plate. Repeat until you’ve removed all the weight. Then do 6-12 reps or until failure each set, but instead of taking weight off put plates back on until all the weight is back on.
|Heavy Barbell Cheat Curl||8+||Get the weight up with slight momentum at the bottom to allow yourself to use heavier weight. On the eccentric portion of the movement take
|Incline Dumbell Curls||12+||Set an incline bench to the second highest angle. Perform at least 12 reps or until failure. Does not matter if you alternate arms or not.|
|Incline Dumbell Hold||:30 – 60 sec||On the same incline bench hold the weight at full stretch. Flex your triceps to ensure the biceps are fully stretched|
|EZ Curl Bar Curls||100||Put 10 – 15 pounds on each side of an Ez curl bar. Take as many sets as needed to perform 100 reps, but try to do it in as few as possible.|
|Bulgarian Split Squat||8-12+ each leg||Pause slighty at the bottom of each rep before coming back up.|
|Deep Squat Jump||25+||Go to squat depth and explode up. Land back in a squat and pause
slightly to reset before exploding back up.
|Walking Lunges||8-12+ each leg||Keep core tight and don’t let your knee go past the feet.|
|100m Sprints||4+||Hop on a track, treadmill, or go outside. You may rest up to 1:30
Note: When performing movements to failure it means as many as possible with good form. If you cannot properly perform one more rep, do not attempt to. Bad form can result in injury. There is no rest in between exercises unless specified.
Take Home Message
If you’re wondering if finishers are for you. The answer is ABSOLUTELY! Whether you’re an athlete looking to diversify your off-season conditioning, a powerlifter, or anything in between, I would recommend finishers to everyone. They are very rewarding, and a direct rival to your cardio workouts in intensity and effectiveness, and test your mental toughness to the absolute limit. It will be difficult, but no pain, no challenge and no challenge, no growth. Try a finisher. Give it all you’ve got, and let the results speak for themselves.