Add Conditioning To Your Strength Workouts – Three High-Intensity Finishers

The problem with trying to live a life where you’re always looking to be your best is that you often run into the issue of too much stuff and not enough hours in the day to do it.  It’d be great if you had plenty of time to get all of your work done, hang out with your family and friends, learn new things, catch up on the latest Netflix series (some are pretty damn good, I have to admit), eat right, call your mom, all along with getting your strength, agility, AND conditioning workouts in.

Unfortunately, you don’t have that kind of time.

I don’t, either.

Neither do my clients.

So when it comes to making sure that you and my clients get all they can from the time they do spend in the gym, thus helping them go on and love life outside of it, we often employ workout “Finishers” after their main workout to help keep their conditioning up.

What is a Finisher?

Workout Finishers are quick cappers on the end of your workout involving relatively simple movements that we usually use to get a little bit of extra aerobic and/or lactic training in or work on a specific body part.  In other words, it’s either going to be some basic stuff that’ll make you huff and puff a little bit or we’ll program some extra muscle building work to bring up a lagging or rehab-needing body part.

When do you use a Finisher?

Edward Aston obviously knew how to mix strength and conditioning.

We most frequently use Finishers at Relentless when someone is pressed for time and only going to be able to make a few training sessions in a week.  Because I know they are going to have more days off, I don’t mind adding a little extra to their workouts because they’ll have that recovery time.  Also, it allows us to hit more bases in a single workout, which isn’t always perfect but it way better than not hitting them at all.

We also use Finishers sometimes as a little bit of a break in the monotony that basic strength training can sometimes have.  The truth is, coming in and lifting for strength can sometimes be a slow process and it can seem like you didn’t “do much”, even when you did exactly the right thing.  A well-timed, five or ten-minute Finisher can bring some extra challenge, fun, and intensity to a training session without beating you up so badly that you’re struggling in your next workout.

When do you NOT use a Finisher?

Not every session is ideal for a Finisher.  We typically don’t prescribe them very often for clients with a moderate to high amount of training frequency or people who are already training under very heavy stress loads.  There’s only so much that the body can handle, and if someone is being pushed close to the max by the training that they’re actually focused on, doing more work is going to be counter-productive.  This varies by the individual, of course.

Sample Finishers

Here’s a few of the Finishers we love to use at Relentless.  You’ll see that they’re pretty basic movements that you can do with a minimum form breakdown under fatigue, but they will get your heart rate up and work on developing some particular strengths in the body.

Finisher #1
2-5 Rounds of:
Kettlebell Swings x15
Turkish Get-up to Hip-up x5/side

This one blasts the midsection through making you maintain stability and generate force at some point in your glutes, hips, obliques, frontal abs, upper back, and shoulders.  You’ll go from getting a high heart rate on the Swings to having to stabilize and then move under load on the Half Get-ups.

Some serious cheating, but Casey Viator knew what he was doing!

Finisher #2
Neutral-Grip Push-ups x10, 9, 8…1
Ring Rows x1, 2, 3…10

Looking for an upper body blaster to finish a workout?  These two bodyweight exercises, done in an inverse ladder style, will do the job.  Start with ten of the Push-ups, then hit a Ring Row.  Go back for nine Push-ups followed by two Ring Rows.  Repeat the count down and count up for the ten rounds.  Minimize your rest, this is supposed to be a burner!

Finisher #3
2-5 Rounds of:
Jump Rope x50-100
Waiter Carry x30yd each arm
Underhand Pull-aparts x30

Walter Payton getting after that jump rope!

This will one will get your heart rate up while you work on your oblique strength, upper back, and shoulder stability.  Get the heart pumping with some Jump Rope and then immediately grab a kettlebell or dumbbell, lock it out over your head, and go for a smooth, controlled walk.  Make sure you’re keeping your midsection tight.  Once you’re done with your walks, grab a band and go right into the Pull-aparts, making sure really squeeze the shoulder blades together to finish off your upper back.

Looking for how we add these to workouts?  Grab your three FREE kettlebell workouts on the right and you’ll get some workout with Finishers already built in!

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