You warm up for 5-10 minutes, then you perform your main workout, and finally, you work your way over to the cardio machines for your interval training or perhaps some steady-state cardio.
You’re actually fine with your warm-up and workout routine, but you’re finding yourself burned out on the same old workout “finales” like cardio or intervals.
You can fix that.
As you know, a workout finisher is a combination of interval training and resistance training with very brief rest periods (if any). The beautiful thing about finishers is that you can get the same results in as little as 4 minutes as you would with a 30-minute cardio session.
Check out this study:
Canadian researchers at Queen’s University tested a workout using finishers style of training against long cardio (Reference: Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Sep 20.)
22 college-aged women did 4 workouts per week for 4 weeks in one of three groups.
Group A did 30 minutes of treadmill running at 85% maximum heart rate
Group B did 8 rounds of 20 seconds of a single exercise (burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers or squat thrusts) with 10 seconds of rest between rounds.
Group C did nothing (they were the non-training control group).
Results: Both training groups increased their aerobic fitness levels by the SAME amount (about 7-8%).
That’s right, the short workout finishers (of just 4 minutes) worked just as well as 30 minutes of cardio.
However, only Group B, the finishers style of training, also increased muscular endurance in common exercises like chest presses, leg extensions, sit-ups and push-ups.
And finally, the finishers style of training used by Group B also resulted in greater overall workout enjoyment.
I don’t know about you, but when I actually enjoy my workouts, I’m a lot more consistent. But to get even better results? That’s icing on the cake. That’s how I was able to drop 105 pounds. I ate better and stayed consistent because I loved using finishers.
Finishers offer unique set and rep schemes, density style circuits, ladders and more that you don’t get with a normal workout routine.
After all, where else can you find a circuit where you complete numerous rounds of heart-thumping exercises performing only one rep?… right here on this page.
Now it’s your turn to have some fun. After your next workout or on an off day, try out one of these workout finishers (aka grand finales) to add some much-needed spice back into your routine. In fact, the titles and new exercises alone add the spice…
Workout Finisher # 1 – “One by One”
Do the following circuit as many times as possible in 5 minutes, resting only when needed. If your form gets sloppy, you must take a break. The secret to a solid finisher is putting in quality work.
Lunge Jumps (1 rep per side)
Burpee/Pull-up Combo or Burpee (1 rep)
Squat Thrust (1 rep)
Lateral Jumps (jump from one side to another) (1 rep per side)
Spiderman Climb (1 rep per side)
- Brace your abs. Start in the top of the pushup position.
- Keep your abs braced, pick one foot up off the floor, and slowly bring your knee up outside of your shoulder and touch your foot to the ground.
- Keep your abs braced and slowly return your leg to the start position.
- Alternate sides until you complete all of the required repetitions.
Workout Finisher # 2 – “Decline of the Bulgarians”
Do the following superset resting only when needed. The next time you perform this finisher, try to BEAT your previous time (with good form of course). It’s a great way to improve your conditioning while challenging yourself, too.
In the first superset, you’ll perform 8 reps of each exercise. In the next superset, you’ll perform 7 reps of each exercise. Continue in this fashion until you complete 1 rep of each exercise. Then you’re done. So, for your first superset, you’ll perform 8 reps on each leg of the Bulgarian Jump Squat, and then 8 reps of Decline Push-ups.
1A) Bulgarian Jump Squat (8 reps on each leg, 7 reps on each leg, etc. down to 1 rep on each leg)
1B) Decline Push-ups (8 reps, 7 reps, etc. down to 1 rep)
Bulgarian Jump Squats
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbells in each hand if needed.
- Place the instep of one foot on a bench. Step forward with the other foot, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
- Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.
- Jump using the front foot, and keeping the upright position. Stay in a split-squat stance.
- Land in the bottom of a Bulgarian squat and repeat
- Perform all reps for one leg and then switch.
Workout Finisher # 3 – “The Burpee Combo Gauntlet”
Do the following circuit 4 times, resting only when needed. You’ll love the burpee combination exercises.
1) Burpee/Spiderman Pushup Combo (8 reps)
2) 1-Arm KB or DB Swings (left side) (15 reps)
3) Burpee/X-Body Mountain Climber Combo (8 reps)
4) 1-Arm KB or DB Swings (right side) (15 reps)
Burpee/Spiderman Pushup Combo
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Squat down on your feet and hands
- Kick your feet out to form a pushup position
- Perform a Spiderman pushup by going down into a pushup, bringing one knee to the side. Repeat for the other side (do 1 rep on each side).
- Kick your feet back and stand or jump back up
Burpee/X-Body Mountain Climber Combo
- Start with your feet shoulder width apart
- Squat down and brings your hands to the floor
- Kick your feet out to form a pushup position
- Perform an X-Body Mountain Climber by bringing one knee towards the opposite elbow, keeping your abs braced. Repeat for the other side (do 1 rep per side)
- Kick your feet back and then stand or jump back up.
Welcome to your new “cardio”. It’s hard work. it’s addicting work. But the best part?… Finishers work.
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