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Finish With A Finisher


Finishers or metabolic interval circuit are ideal for most gymer’s and most athletes looking to squeeze all the juice out there workouts and it is all done in just a little extra time.

Finishers can be put together in a number of different ways and targeting various goals. Think of a finisher or metabolic interval circuit as a 5 to 15 minute window at the end of your workout, in which you have the opportunity to target your goals further with an intense sequence of exercises.

Often as a football player at University of Mount Union, we always had daily finishers to create mental and physical toughness, competitiveness, and effort. Whether it would be plate pushes, planks, or sprints. You knew you had to will yourself to win. In, my post football life and I always look for the same just kill yourself mentality. Now they are more goal oriented. This may means you ‘kill’ yourself in 15 minutes or less but the real goal here could be fat loss, increasing work capacity and mental toughness.

Unless you are just hammering yourself into the gym floor from the minute you walk into the gym (which is on leg days), it is likely that your workouts are split into targets area more than just fat loss. To increase strength or high intensity / high skill development (i.e. the box squat or muscle up) a significant portion of your time will need to be spent doing those exact movements, ideally at the start when you are fresh.

This may mean minimal reps at a high intensity and plenty of rest periods take up the majority of your workout. This doesn't leave you much time left to work on other goals you may have at that time, for example, fat loss, increase work capacity, aerobic endurance , etc.

This is where the finisher comes in:

Common goals that can be targeted with an interval circuit:

  • Fat loss:  High intensity finishers are a great way to torch fat. The EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) caused will leave you burning calories long after you have finished your workout.

  • Increase general work capacity: Work capacity is, essentially, the total amount of work you can perform, recover from, and adapt positively to. The total volume of work you expose your body to which determines your level of fitness that will, in turn, determine your level of preparedness. Increasing your work capacity will allow you to place increase demands on the body, resulting in you progressively getting fitter, stronger, faster, etc.

  • Increase specific work capacity: This is an increase in work capacity for a specific movement. For example, my pulling endurance is pretty whack, so a finisher for me could look like:

5 muscle ups, 10 dips, 10 pull ups

4 muscle ups, 10 dips, 10 pull ups

3 muscle ups, 10 dips, 10 pull ups

2 muscle ups, 10 dips, 10 pull ups

1 muscle up, 10 dips, 10 pull ups.

Over time resulting in an increase in work capacity specific to them movements. I.e gets easier.

  • Muscle building: Finishers can be used to increase the volume and stress placed on specific muscle groups, resulting in growth.

The goals above will often overlap but it's important to use finishers to support your primary goal. Also bare mind that an increase work your work capacity is only effective if you're recovering and adapting from it.

There are hundreds of different finishers out there, and with a bit of creativity you can make up your own. I've listed a few examples below:

1. Medicine ball finisher

  • Be explosive with each throw! When throwing, use your legs to help drive the medicine ball

  • 3 rounds of (2min rest) between sets using a 5kg ball

  • 8x Squat Push Throws, 6x Overhead Throws w/step (alternate legs), 16x Rotary throws (alternate sides), 8x Overhead Floor Slams

2. Bodyweight Finisher

  • 3 Rounds Total - Max reps in 1 min

  • (No rest between exercises, 2 min rest between sets)

  • Squat Jumps, Mountain Climbers, Speed Air Squats, Burpees with Push Up

3. Push Pull finisher

  • 2 Round total of:

  • 20 pull ups, 20 dips

  • 15 pull ups, 15 Russian dip,

  • 10 pull ups, 10 Russian dip,

  • 5 pull ups, 5 Russian dip with 5 sec hold at bottom

4. Barbell Complex Finisher

Perform 8 reps on each exercise. Go from one exercise to the next without dropping the barbell. Once the set has been completed, rest 60 seconds then perform 7 reps on each, followed by 6,5,4,3,2,1.

  • Bent over row, High pull, Push press, Front squat, Lunges EL

5. Rowing Finisher

Simple but still a lung burner! The 30 seconds working should be at max pace.

30 secs on/30 secs off for 10 minutes.

6. Assault Bike Sprints

Another simple lung and leg burner.

  • 30 seconds work (high resistance, as fast as humanly possible)

  • 60 seconds rest (low-no resistance, just keep it moving) for 10-15 intervals..

Finishers can come in various different forms and there is an endless amount of them out there. Figure out what the goal is, see what equipment you have available and get to work.

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