You’re not done yet: Workout finishers.
There’s nothing like the feeling at the end of a workout; tired but elated, dripping with sweat, full of satisfaction and the healthy, well-earned appetite of someone about to really enjoy a post-workout meal! But what if you could make this even better? Enter the workout finisher!
A finisher is simply a little add-on to the end of your workout to increase your metabolic rate and compliment the work you did in the main part of your session. There are a number of different types of finisher, so here are a few of my favourites:
- Sprints (track, treadmill, rower, or bike)
- Loaded carries
- Dropsets/running the rack
Essentially you’re trying to add work without impeding recovery so choose your options carefully! If you’ve done a bunch of rowing movements in your main session, you may want to run for your sprints to spare your back the extra load. If you squatted, you might want to try ‘running the rack’ with an upper body movement to give your quads a break. Or you can pair loaded carries with more or less anything!
Finishers should take no more than 20 minutes absolute maximum and I would generally shoot for about 10. If you’re sprinting, go with intervals of 10-20 seconds for 5-10 minutes. The famous Tabata intervals (20 seconds full blast, 10 seconds active recovery for four minutes) works pretty well here on any of the options listed above. There are also free timers all over the internet for these!
Loaded carries are simple; pick up a heavy object or two (dumbells, kettlebells, barbells, sandbags, large containers of miscellaneous objects can all work) and walk as far as you can or for a set distance. Set a goal for distance or number of carries before you start and make sure you achieve it. The cardiovascular and strength benefits of regular loaded carries can be truly astonishing!
As for dropsets, these are a great way to finish a weight training session. Either go with an exercise you already did or a new one just for the finisher and do as many reps as possible with a reasonably challenging weight (let’s say you can start with up to 15 reps). Then you decrease the weight and try to crank out more reps. Keep dropping the weight a rep or two short of failure until you reach something embarrassingly light but still can’t move it! Running the rack is a variation on this where you literally use each set of dumbbells along a rack to do a dropset. By the end your heartrate should be through the roof and your muscles should be pumped with blood to help with your growth and recovery.
Ten minutes is not a big time investment to seriously increase your progress, so give these a try. I would advise using these up to three times a week. If you start using them regularly, I guarantee you will see a difference.
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