If you spent your formative years growing up in the 90s like I did, you know what I’m talking about.
A fighter can perform a special move when the message “FINISH HIM!” appears on the screen, destroying his dazed opponent.
Damn, did I hate when someone got me in that prone position.
But it was extra satisfying when I was doing the finishing. Pun intended. (Hey, I was a teenage boy…)
With that covered, let’s address the real reason for this article: Finishers.
Simply put, a “Finisher” is a series of exercises performed at the end of your workout specifically to make you puke all over the unsuspecting girl on the elliptical.
They aren’t fun or easy, but it’s a great way to combine conditioning and strength training in one quick burst of activity.
Here’s a couple quick rules to follow before we give you some actual workouts to try.
Rule 1. Don’t do them all the time.
When do you do them?
Assess yourself at the end of your planned workout. Do you have a few beads of sweat on your forehead and feel like you could handle more work? Spent most of the workout on your phone? Or are you crawling away from the squat rack after a grueling leg beatdown?
If it’s the former, not the latter, toughen up and get after it.
Rule 2. Make it quick.
Get it done in 5 minutes. Maybe 10 if you’re stubborn. This isn’t some marathon “Murph” Crossfit challenge where you die of heatstroke halfway through.
Here are three ‘finisher’ options to choose from
Studies have confirmed that pressing strength increases dramatically by working or even statically stretching the antagonist muscles between sets of benching.
The antagonist to chest is your back.
The antagonist to your quads is your hamstrings.
The antagonist to your biceps is your triceps.
You get the idea, right?
Anyway, for chest and back, you might use something like this:
A1) Bench Press
A2) Barbell Rows
Perform for 4 rounds of 8 reps using the same weight. In this particular instance, you want to rest a bit between exercises as strength is still a focus here at a lower rep range with heavier weights.
These can be performed with weight (which I prefer) or bodyweight in a pinch. Hell, you could use a chair in your hotel room and get a good sweat going doing these.
In this instance, we’ll setup in the gym and hammer out 4 exercises in succession.
A1) Landmine Squats
A2) Increased ROM Push-Ups
A3) Med Ball Push-Ups
A4) 3 Ways
Perform as many reps as possible of A1, then move on to A2, then A3, then A4. Perform a total of 4 rounds, resting just long enough to catch your breath between rounds (maybe 2 minutes).
Another option, especially if your gym is a crowded mess, is to simply use the same piece of equipment or dumbbells for all of the exercises.
Let’s say, for example, you pair dumbbell flyes with dumbbell stiff legged deadlifts and dumbbell split squats. Use the same weight, cycle through the exercises, and sweat your ball bag off.
Another option, which I do a lot with my clients, is set a timer for 5 minutes. Perform the exercises in order for 10 reps of each exercise, one after the other, as shown above. But perform as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes with as minimal rest as humanly possible.
Again, nothing revolutionary here, but the tried and tested work, so why get funky with it?
A barbell complex is nothing more than a circuit of compound movements using a single barbell. You use the same weight throughout the circuit and never take your hands off of the bar.
In the video example, you’ll be doing five exercises in sequence without putting the bar down. For a full-body routine to try: floor deadlifts, overhead presses, barbell rows, stiff-legged deadlifts, and floor barbell bench presses with the same weight.
Of course, stick to the plan and focus on your core training program first. But finishers can add a challenging calorie burn to finish things off.
Sometimes, you may only have time for a finisher. Ideal? No. But if you’ve had a tough day at the office and the couch is calling your name, convince yourself to do a finisher before you sit down for a binge session of Game of Thrones. It can be done in your living room with a little creativity.
But if you’re feeling fresh and prepared to run through a wall that particular day, tack on finishers at the end of your regular workout.