I like to think that the human body is capable of more than we think and that adding in something new and different is a great way to not only spur more metabolic action and muscle activation but also to squeeze out that last bit of energy and release even more endorphins to end your workouts on a high note.
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But that's the great thing about the world of training. You have the opportunity to try so many different programs and techniques to find the ones that work the best for your specific needs. Below are eight intense finishers to give you the challenges you might be looking for.
Pick one, two or try all eight over the course of the next few workouts. Don't think too much into them and just do them, have a little fun and reap big rewards.
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8 Killer Workout Finishers
#1 - Bodyweight blitzBodyweight training is the perfect antidote for finishing off any workout especially when metabolic conditioning is on the docket for the day. For those who don't have access to a bunch of fancy equipment or don't necessarily want access this is perfect. After a hard weight training session or a long, low-intensity steady state cardio run you might want something a little outside the box.
This bodyweight finisher includes certain training variables such as muscular endurance, power, plyometric and metabolic conditioning. Try it after any type of workout or as a replacement for cardio for a quick conditioning session.
Shoot for three to five rounds of 10 to 15 reps each. At first take your time and get through the circuit at moderate pace. During the next few sessions increase your pace, number of rounds, number of reps or all three.
- Box jumps
- Pull-ups or inverted rows
- Hanging leg raises
- Reverse lunges
- Pike presses
- Planks (held for 20 seconds)
#2 - Kettlebell conundrumThe awesome thing about kettlebells (aside from the fact that they are here to stay) is that they provide what dumbbells can't unstable loads when lifted. This acts as a type of variable resistance of sorts which will stimulate muscle fibers differently than traditional dumbbells and barbells and challenge your cardiovascular system in new ways. It's a win-win situation any way you look at it.
If you are new to kettlebell training there is a slight learning curve as they "feel" different than lifting dumbbells. Give yourself time to master the exercises and always strive to perfect your form.
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- Single-arm swings
- Single-arm clean and presses
- Goblet squats
- Offset push-ups (10 reps each side)
- Suitcase lunges
- Weighted crunches
#3 - Barbell barrageNothing gets simpler than the barbell. Its basic function is hard to argue with as its unforgiving "dead weight" can be used for virtually any exercise. Most lifters relate it exclusively to big, multi-joint muscle-building training, but look at it with a new perspective. A light to moderate weighted barbell is a great addition as a post-workout finisher and even a metabolic conditioner.
The thing to remember here is to use only a lighter than normal barbell. Your goal isn't to heave up heavy loads to muscular failure; it's to challenge your entire body with basic, fundamental exercises.
For the circuit below, again, go with three to five circuits of five to 10 reps each. Some exercises are a bit technical so your execution is much more important than speeding through the circuit.
- Power cleans
- Abdominal rollouts
- Front or back squats
- Overhead presses
- Bent-over rows
- Forward lunges
#4 - Abdominal assault
Finishing a workout with abs isn't some brand new concept sure to change your world promising the physique you've always dreamed of, however, you can still end on a high note. You see, most lifters tack on abdominal training as an afterthought performing subpar exercises with subpar intensity. Why not use that time effectively? Why not take advantage of every minute of each workout and let them work for you instead of just spinning your wheels.
An effective ab circuit is the cure you've been looking for. Abs are endurance oriented and demand to be trained hard so a circuit is the perfect setup. Going through without stopping will challenge your mettle as well as your endurance.
Perform the circuit below for three or four rounds and 10 to 15 reps for each exercise resting for one minute after each circuit. Don't just blast through each exercise paying no attention to form.
- Floor crunches
- Lying leg raises
- Bicycle crunches
- Side crunches (one side at a time)
#5 - Lower body lashingWhether you're a heavy lifter wanting to increase muscle mass or someone who wants to increase functional strength while staying lean and mean a good lower body finisher can be a beast when it comes to recruiting as many muscle fibers as possible. The lower body makes up an enormous amount of muscle and anything that taxes it will surely jack up your metabolism and burn major fat.
Perform the following lower body lashing as supersets. Do each pair of exercises without rest until all sets for that pairing is completed. Rest for one minute before starting the next superset and commence as before. Go for 10 to 12 reps for each exercise, do three rounds of each superset and avoid going to muscular failure. This is to spur calorie burning and EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) the ability to continue burning calories well after your workout is through.
- Superset 1: Step-ups with goblet squats
- Superset 2: Box jumps with reverse lunges
- Superset 3: Walking lunges with prisoner squats
- Superset 4 (optional): Bulgarian split squats with wall squats
#6 - Upper body uproarJust as you hammered your lower body above, now it's time to give the same treatment to your upper body. Don't worry. This upper body finisher won't "ruin your gains." You can only benefit from pushing things just a little further when needed most. Since it's mostly a bodyweight type finisher you'll most-likely tap into some training variables you've rarely ventured into namely muscular endurance.
As with the lower body version you'll perform superset style pairs of exercises. Perform all sets for each superset without rest. Once all sets are completed for that particular pair, rest one minute. Shoot for three supersets for each pair and 10 to 12 reps.
- Superset 1: Feet-elevated push-ups with inverted rows
- Superset 2: Triceps push-ups with renegade rows
- Superset 3: Ball slams with wall balls
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#7 - Full body weighted furnaceNow let's get nasty with a full-body finisher that will have you questioning your decision. Full body here means both working most if not all muscle groups and using full body exercises to do the job.
For this finisher perform it as a circuit with little-to-no rest between exercises. If you need a quick breather take one. It's much better to use good technique and form to lessen the risk of injury versus going through the motions and screwing up a shoulder or knee.
Go for three to five total circuits of five to eight reps. Why a lower number of reps than normal? For the fact that you will be performing some pretty technical lifts that won't bode very well with high reps which can break down your form.
- Barbell squat to presses
- Kettlebell double arm front swings
- Barbell hang cleans
- Chin-ups with hanging leg lifts
#8 - Abdominal assault part 2Finally, we save the best for last. Earlier you read about an abdominal assault circuit guaranteed to get your midsection nice and sore from top to bottom and side to side. With this assault circuit you'll turn up the intensity a notch or ten and be challenged like never before.
Only try this if you're either familiar with the exercises and are ready for a new challenge or if you want to give it a try and have some apprehension you can perform them as standalone sets and strive to improve strength, stability and coordination.
Perform the circuit below for three or four rounds and 10 to 15 reps for each exercise resting for one minute after each circuit.
- Dragon flags
- Floor windshield wipers
- 3-way planks
- Incline bench three-way sit-ups
- (Optional) floor crunches to failure