Finish Strong: 5 Workout Finishers For Maximum Gains

If you aren't satisfied until your muscles scream for mercy, these workout finishing techniques may be just what the iron doctor ordered.

Picture this: You're cruising through your workout at 100 miles per hour, blasting past everything in your way. You zoom through every exercise listed on your training log at a breakneck pace, feeling like a million bucks. You smash your last movement and, much to your dismay, you've still got plenty of gas in the tank. What gives? If this sounds familiar, it's time for a finisher.

Finishing techniques are designed to help you get maximum growth from any workout. They ensure you leave every ounce of energy in the gym and get the biggest bang for your exercise buck. They help you end an "average" workout in a brutal way, ensuring that no weight is left unturned or fiber untrained. The following list of finishing moves will help you squeeze every ounce of growth from any workout.

Legs /// Pressing the Issue

Load up the leg press with a load that would require moderate effort at 10 reps, and start with your feet high and close for hamstring emphasis. Hit the 10 reps. To focus on your quads, change your foot position so your feet are low and wide, and then hit 10 more reps. After the 10th rep, lower your feet into a calf press position and knock out 10.

After the 10 calf presses, rest for 10 seconds, and start over by performing nine reps for each movement. When you finish nine calf presses, rest for nine seconds and start over again at eight reps for each exercise. Continue for seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one rep. By the end of this massacre, you will have performed 165 reps total and will respect every rep as you crawl out the gym door.

Leg Finisher


Shoulders /// Plates of Pain

Grab a 5, 10, 25, 35, and 45-pound plate and find an open area so you have space and privacy. Start with the 5-pounder and perform 10 front plate raises. When you finish, drop the 5, pick up the 10, do 10 more reps, and immediately grab the 25. Repeat this action until you finish the same number of reps with the 35 and 45. When you finish 10 reps with the 45, rest for 10 seconds, pick up the 45 again, and start over with 10 more reps. Work your way back down until you finish 10 reps with the 5-pound plate.

Shoulder Finisher
  • Front Plate Raises Front Plate Raises

    Front Plate Raises

    5 sets of 10 reps adding weight each set
    , 5 sets of 10 reps reducing weight each set

Chest /// Push Your Pecs

Find a bench or a platform where you can elevate your feet. Get in a push-up position with your hands on the floor and your feet on the bench. Start doing push-ups until you reach failure. Rest for 15 seconds and do more push-ups with your hands and feet on the floor. When you hit failure, rest for 15 more seconds and elevate your hands, keeping your feet on the floor, and go to failure for a third time. Now you're cooked.

Chest Finisher

Arms /// 100-Rep Revolution

Find a flat bench and load up a bar with enough weight that makes 25 reps tough but achievable. Start with 25 reps of close-grip barbell curls. When you finish, immediately change to a wide grip and perform 25 more reps. Then lay on the bench with the bar, perform 25 skull crushers (lying triceps extensions), and end with 25 close-grip bench presses. When the smoke clears, you will have performed 100 reps total, and your arms will be shaking.

Arms Finisher

Back /// Row, Row, Row

Find a seated row machine or a low-cable pulley and load it with weight that you can lift for 20 reps with moderate effort. Lift the weight with a one-count and lower the weight with a six-count. Make sure you get a good stretch with each rep and don't cheat yourself. These are called negative reps. If you think your grip will give out before your lats, use straps to help. When you reach failure, rest for 15 seconds and go to failure again. This will set your back on fire.

Back Finisher