Growing up, I was a big wrestling fan, I mean huge! Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, you name it and I was all about it. I lived to see all of my favorite stars go head to head and beat the snot out of each other (yes, I knew it was fake even back then). But, what I loved most was watching the way these guys would end their matches. There was always something to look forward to, a special move that would leave their opponent out for the count – a FINISHER.
This was something that always made the matches exciting and gave everyone something to look forward to. It was what made each wrestler unique and notorious all at the same time.
You’re probably thinking “what does all this have to do with fitness?” Two reasons actually. First, I just really liked wrestling as a kid and I thought I’d make that mainstream information. Second, the most electrifying and devastating part of a well programmed workout is also known as a finisher.
wrestling sure was good back in the day!
Depending on who you talk to, the finisher may be the most dreaded or the most welcomed portion of a workout. There are a few characteristics that make a finisher truly effective:
- Highly metabolic – your conditioning is definitely put to the test
- Includes a variety of compound movements – the more muscles working the better
- 5-15 minutes long – long enough to do damage but not so long that intensity is compromised
- You’re spent – it’s called a finisher for a reason
The primary objective of any good finisher is to:
- Increase metabolic conditioning – both aerobic and anaerobic systems will be targeted
- Burn more fat in less time – higher intensity yields greater fat burning potential
- Preserve muscle mass – compound movements help to maintain lean muscle
- Make workouts more challenging and exciting – beats sitting on a treadmill for an hour
The sky’s the limit when it comes to putting together killer finishers. The key things to keep in mind are your current fitness level, exercise selection, and how much you’re willing to suffer! It should go without saying that intensity is definitely the name of the game here.
Over the years, I’ve definitely put myself as well as others through some pretty epic workouts. However, there are a few spicy ones that come to mind. Here are 7 finishers that will hopefully one day go down in the hall of fame.
1. “Death by burpees” – Anytime you hear the words “death by” you should be afraid….. very afraid. The “death by” rep scheme is where you perform 1 rep of an exercise, the next minute you do 2 reps and you keep adding one rep every minute until you cannot complete the full rep count within the minute. It gets intense pretty fast but makes for a great conditioning workout. Your workout would look like this:
1st minute – 1 burpee
2nd minute – 2 burpees
3rd minute – 3 burpees
4th minute – 4 burpees
etc. until failure.
A good goal would be to get to 15 minutes or more. Burpees….Never leave home without them.
2. Thrusters – The thruster is likely the most feared barbell exercise. It’s potency is not to be underestimated. This full body exercise will get your heart pumping and send your metabolism into overdrive in no time! Your thruster workout will look like this:
Every minute on the minute for 8 minutes: perform 8 thrusters.
Start on the minute and perform 8 thrusters. The time remaining in the minute is your rest. Repeat for 8 minutes – 64 reps total).
Use a moderate weight that will allow you to complete all the reps in the allotted time.
Sounds simple enough, but the short rest periods will catch up to you pretty fast leaving you gasping for air and drenched in sweat in a mere 8 minutes!
3. Row 100 calories for time – Rowing sucks. But it delivers one hell of a workout.
Fellas aim for 5 minutes or less.
Ladies aim for 6:20 or less.
Things to remember:
- Maintain long and powerful strokes.
- Don’t go out too hard from the start.
- Keep your breathing controlled.
- Try keep a consistent pace.
- Save some gas for the final 20 calories.
3. Wall/balls and double unders – These two exercises were made popular by Crossfit and for good reason – they will humble even the biggest and strongest specimens on the planet. The combination of throwing a medicine ball to a 10ft target paired with a high skill conditioning exercise like double unders will serve up an extra large can of whoop ass! Your workout will look like this:
In 10 minutes, complete as many rounds and reps of:
1a. 15 wall/balls
1b. 30 double unders
(men use a 20lb ball/women use a 14lb ball)
Aim for 6 full rounds or more.
Things to remember:
- Try to keep a steady pace for the entire 10 minutes.
- Break up the wall/balls early to prevent “redlining” and taking too many long breaks.
- Stay relaxed and don’t get too frantic with your double unders.
not sure what’s worse, wall/balls and double unders or a tombstone piledriver
4. Box jumps and pushups – These are two great body weight exercises that make for an effective full body workout. Your workout will look like this:
1a. Box jumps 21/18/15/12/9/6/3
1b. Pushups 21/18/15/12/9/6/3
You can approach this workout in 2 ways:
- Try to keep all sets of pushups and box jumps unbroken and rest 45-60 seconds between sets (rest only after you’ve completed a set of box jumps and pushups).
- Complete the entire rep scheme as fast as possible.
The first option may be better for beginner to intermediate lifters and the second option will definitely challenge advanced lifters. Either way, you’re gonna get a fantastic workout.
5. Dumbell snatches and split jumps – All you need is a dumbell and some heart for this little ditty. Your workout will look like this:
1a. Dumbell snatch 5ea/6ea/7ea/8ea/9ea/10ea arm
1b. Split jumps 5ea/6ea/7ea/8ea/9ea/10ea leg
Again, you can either do unbroken sets with short rest periods (45-60secs) or complete the entire rep scheme as fast as possible. Choose a weight for the dumbell snatch that is challenging to do 5-6 reps with and use that weight for the entire workout.
sometimes a single dumbbell is more than enough…
Things to remember:
- Make sure you get full range of motion with your split jumps (back knee touches the ground and full extension of knees and hips in the air).
- Make sure you get full range of motion with your dumbell snatches (dumbell touches the ground at the bottom and arm and legs fully extended at the top).
6. Clean and Jerk/Back Squat Complex – There’s nothing like a good barbell complex to put hair on your chest (or give you that bikini body if you’re a lady). Disputably the most effective way to burn calories and hence burn fat, barbell complexes are must if you’re looking to get shredded. Your workout will look like this:
1a. Clean and jerk 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8
1b. Back Squats 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8
Use the same weight for both the clean and jerk and the back squat. The limiting factor in this workout will be the clean and jerk so use a weight that you can clean and jerk comfortably 4-5 times.
Try to perform unbroken sets with short rest periods (45-60secs) or complete the entire rep scheme as fast as possible. Get ready to sweat, this one’s gonna cook.
7. Kettlebell swings and stairs – Nothing fancy here, just good old fashioned work. Sometimes keeping it simple is the most effective way to go. Your workout will look like this:
1a. Stairs 3/4/5/4/3
1b. KB Swings 15/15/15/15/15
Fellas try a 24kg kettlebell.
Ladies try a 16kg kettlebell.
Depending on your fitness level and mobility, you can either use the Russian or American swing. For the more advanced lifter with no injuries, you can use the American swing. For beginners or anyone with shoulder or lower back issues, the Russian swing will be a safer option.
the American swing definitely packs a punch!
Try to perform unbroken sets with short rest periods (45-60secs) or complete the entire rep scheme as fast as possible.
If you don’t have access to a staircase, you can do shuttle runs instead (i.e. 50/75/100/75/50 meter shuttle runs).
We all want to get the best results in the least amount of time possible but unfortunately that means you’re going to have to endure a little pain and suffering to get there. It’ll be all worth it when you have herculean strength and a body that would have given the Ultimate Warrior a run for his money.
rest in peace Warrior!
What other exercises do you like to use for finishers? Drop a comment below!
Don’t forget to subscribe below to get your FREE copy of the Pure Payne Method and more great articles delivered to you directly.