I don’t know about you all, but I love a good metabolic finisher at the end of my workout. I don’t do them every day, but once or twice a week I’ll throw a finisher in to really kick my own butt and add a little cardio/metabolic burst to the end of a session.
If you’re not familiar with metabolic finishers, it’s a term used to describe a short bout of high intensity exercise, meant to give you an extra metabolic burn following your workout. Think HIIT, with out the low points of the intervals, and for a short period of time. These usually last anywhere from 5-10 minutes, but leave me sweaty and gasping for air by the end of that short time!
Again, I don’t do these every day and I don’t recommend doing them every day, especially after a max out lift session or something equally as taxing. But if you are looking for a little bit of fat loss without adding in hours of cardio to your routine, finishers after weight lifting a couple of times per week, plus one or two days of cardio or HIIT could be the way to go. These usually involve continuous motion for the time you are working; very little rest, or as little rest as you can tolerate while still safely completing the exercises is the key here.
Today I’m giving you some of my favorite finishers to try. They’re all pretty simple on paper, but if you push yourself and do them correctly, you’ll get that deep burn you’re looking for! The key here is working as hard as you can for those few minutes, or you won’t get favorable results. Short bouts of high intensity training are really only effective if they are just that — high intensity! So lace up your shoes, get ready to sweat, and let’s go.
KB Swing/Goblet Squat x6 min: 12 kettlebell swings immediately followed by 8 goblet squats, repeat AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) for 6 minutes. The KB swings should be relatively heavy, the goblet squats should be a moderate weight. No rest if possible!
TM Incline Sprints – Contrary to above, you will include some rest periods in this finisher. This is to allow your legs to recover so that you can complete all out effort during the work period. Put the treadmill incline to 8-10% (or adjust to challenge yourself at your level). Standing on the sides of the TM, increase the speed to a quick pace for you (recommended between 7-8 mph). Hop on for a 20s sprint, followed by a 40s rest, while again standing on sides (straddling the belt, if you will). If you have never done start/stop work like this on a treadmill before, please practice hopping on and off from the sides at a low speed and work your way up.
Jump Squat/Plank Up Down x5 min: Complete designated reps of each exercise continuously for 5 minutes. With your jump squats, remember to land softly and with knees facing straight forward (not moving in towards each other). Do these in front of a mirror to be sure of your form. Plank Up Downs: Start in high plank position (on toes and hands), bring your right arm down to your forearm, followed by left arm; now you are in low plank position. Starting with right arm, return to high plank position one hand at a time. This is one rep.
Goblet Squat/Skater Jump/Push up /Burpee AMRAP x 5-10 min: Complete the designated reps of each exercise, in order, continuously for 5-10 minutes depending on your fitness level. For the skater jumps, start on your right leg, slightly bent. Jump laterally to your left, landing on bent left leg. Continue jumping back and forth, landing as low as possible each time (imagine speed skating, although not quite that low).
I usually add these in at the end of a full body lift day (but like I said, not a max attempt day or anything else that’s too taxing on my central nervous system). Except for the treadmill sprints (unless you have a TM at home), all of these can be done at home as well, so these can easily be added in to an at-home workout for those days that you can’t make it to the gym.
As much as I hate to sound like an infomercial here, you really don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill or elliptical to lose body fat (in fact, doing so is likely counteractive). Just 5-10 minutes at the end of your workout could give you a great metabolic boost if you truly work hard enough, and when combined with weight training could be the key to reaching your goals while maintaining healthy, lean muscle. Time is valuable to all of us, so make sure that your time spent in the gym is getting you the results you want without having to spend hours each day doing so.
Readers: Do you add finishers to your workouts? What are some of your favorite exercises to include in metabolic finishers? If you haven’t tried yet, give one of these a try and then let me know how you do!