How will you end your strength training sessions? You have two choices.
- Finish your last rep and call it a day.
- Finish your last rep but then take 3-5 minutes to go all-out on a few movements that will make your heart race and muscles burn, and then call it a day?
If you want to burn fat and optimize the effects of your workout, you should choose option No. 2.
During a high-intensity finisher like battle rope rounds or sprints, your body has to work overtime to provide adequate energy to your cells. At the completion of the exercise, your body starts to slow things down, but your oxygen levels take a long time to return to normal. This leads to something called EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
The good old O2 helps rid your body of the lactic acid that accumulated during exercise, repairs tissue damage that occurred during your workout, and aids numerous other recovery processes.
Losing all the science terms, your metabolism increases in the hours after your workout, which can help you shed stubborn excess fat. How long EPOC lasts depends on what study you look at, since it isn't fully understood exactly how long the measurable effects last.
Let's get into the kinds of things you can do to stimulate EPOC. Below are five examples of finishers I use when training my athletes and adult clients at Xceleration Sports.
1. Sled & Swing
- Prowler or some other type of sled
- Medium weight kettlebell
- Throw some plates on your sled
- Put a kettlebell on top of the plates with the handle around the plate holder
- Push the sled 30 yards.
- Grab the bell, perform 12 Kettlebell Swings and place it back on the sled.
- Push the sled back to the starting line and perform 12 more Swings.
- Repeat this pattern for 3 minutesand see how many rounds you can get in.
2. Suicide by Sled
- Prowler or some other type of sled
- Cones to mark out every 5 yards for 30 yards total
- Put a lighter load than usual on the sled.
- Push the sled 5 yards and perform 5 Push-Ups.
- Turn around, push the sled back to the starting point and perform 5 more Push-Ups.
- Push the sled 10 yards and perform 5 Push-Ups.
- Repeat the pattern until you have completed the 30-yard pushes with 5 Push-Ups at each stop.
3. Heavy Bag Carry with Ground 'n Pound
- Heavy bag
- Boxing gloves or MMA sparring gloves
- A large open space
- No setup required!
- Throw the gloves on, stand a heavy bag up and squat down in front of it. Wrap your arms around it and lock your hands together.
- With your hands locked, come up out of the bottom of your squat and pop the bag onto your shoulder.
- Walk for 30 yards and toss the bag to the ground.
4. Bodyweight Beatdown
- None, just a little open space!
- Perform the following for 5 rounds.
- 10 Burpee Broad Jumps: perform full burpees, but instead of jumping straight up, jump out in a broad jump.
- 7 Diamond Push-Ups: place your hands close together in a diamond shape on the ground and rep 'em out!
- 7 Plyo Push-Ups: assume a normal push-up position, lower yourself to the ground and explode out of the bottom with your hands leaving the ground.
- Battle Ropes
- Make sure the ropes are attached to a solid support.
- Check that you are clear to swing your hammer and people around you are aware you will be swinging it.
- Perform 3 rounds with 45-second rest between rounds.
- 6 Alternating Slams to 1 Double Rope Slam (x 30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds on)
- Sledgehammer Strikes On the Tire: 10 strikes each side (right hand on top on sledge vs. left hand on top)
- Tire Jump Through: x8 — Start on one side of the tire, jump up and forward and land in the center of the tire, and without stopping, leap out to the other side.
Turn around and repeat
The goal of a finisher is to go all-out. Not every training session should leave you on the ground in a pool of sweat, but there are times when it is required. Give these a shot at the end of your workout to burn more fat and help you reach your athletic goals.
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