A “Finisher” is something you do at the end of a training session or a stand alone training session that is thrown in periodically during the course of a training program. The key here is to do them periodically, an not do them after every training session, the “more is better” notion is not useful when it comes to finishers!
More specifically, though, from a bang for- your-training-buck standpoint, finishers are unparalleled. For starters, there way more efficient. Unlike slow, steady state cardio, finishers are usually completed in 10-15 minutes. You get going, work your butt off and then your done. Whats more, as research has repeatedly shown throughout the last decade, metabolic work (in the form of finishers, circuits, high intensity interval training, whatever you want to call them..) trumps steady state cardio in every category from fat loss, to improved VO2max.
The key here with finishers is getting out of your comfort zone!
1. Metabolic Resistance Training- with studies
Basically we’re using resistance training as the cornerstone of our fat loss programming. Our goal is to work every muscle group hard, frequently, and with an intensity that creates a massive “metabolic disturbance” or “afterburn” that leaves the metabolism elevated for several hours post-workout.
A couple of studies to support this:
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.
This study used a circuit training protocol of 12 sets in 31 minutes. EPOC was elevated significantly for 38 hours post-workout.
Thirty-eight hours is a pretty significant timeframe for metabolism to be elevated. If you trained at 9AM until 10AM on Monday morning, you’re still burning more calories (without training) at midnight on Tuesday.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.
Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).
The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn’t result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.
Thirty-six sessions of up to 50 minutes is a lot of work for one additional pound of fat loss. However, the addition of resistance training greatly accelerated fat loss results.
3. Sample finishers. Here are a couple favorite finishers from the staff at Precision Fitness.
Josh- KB swing Ladder. Example swing 60lb KB for 10, 55lb KB for 15, 45lb KB for 20. 3-4 rounds.
Jason- Weighted carries. Heavy DB, or Trap bar. 30 second carry, with 30 seconds rest. 6-8 times
Verun- MB with sprint- rotational MB throws, paired with shuttle run. Sprint 15-20 yards, touch cone, and sprint back. 5 rounds
Mark- Hill Sprints with Pushup or Pullup- Sprint up hill-15-20 seconds, walk down, do 10 pushup or 5 pullups repeat for 6-8 times.
Matt- Rope Intervals- Alternating rope for 15 seconds, take 30 seconds recovery. Repeat 6-8 Times
RJ- Body weight complex. 20 push-ups, 10 pull-ups, 10 squats, 10 lunges. 3-4 rounds.
Get out of that comfort zone every once in a while and reap the benefits!