post 7 Best Workout Finishers (Guide to End Your Workout Strong)

7 Best Workout Finishers (Guide to End Your Workout Strong)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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In my years as a coach, I've noticed that workout intensity often wanes towards the end.

To truly optimize results, like fat loss and muscle development, it's crucial to keep up the intensity, something I always emphasize to my clients.

As a fitness trainer with many years of experience, I've used several exercise finishers with my clients, which proved effective.

In this guide, I'll share my expertise on the best workout finishers to perform, drawing from my extensive experience.

Quick Summary

  • To end your workout strong and maximize results, incorporate intense workout finishers like a full-body flush and tabata.
  • These finishers, including kettlebell conditioning and battle rope exercises, are designed to boost metabolism, increase fat loss, and enhance muscle development.
  • According to the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports, beginners benefit from high-intensity intervals under 30 seconds, while more experienced individuals should opt for longer sessions up to 15 minutes.
  • In my expert view, combining workout finishers with top-notch post-workout supplements significantly enhances both physical and mental resilience.

Effective Workout Finishers

A person in the gym doing an effective workout finisher push up

1. Full-body Flush

I've found the full-body flush to be the top post-workout finisher, effectively boosting metabolism and depleting each muscle group.

The exercises are basic, but the intensity and number of reps accomplished are high.

Perform the following workouts in the sequence listed:.

Each exercise should be performed with the correct form for 25+ repetitions or until failure.

Let your repetition count determine the load you use when selecting a weight. You want to be hitting that repetition count or failing close to it.

Also, perform full push-ups in every burpee.

When performing step-ups, drive your body weight into your heel rather than your toe.

This will put more strain on the glutes and less on your knee.

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Inverted row
  • Burpees
  • Single-leg step-up (perform one leg at a time)

2. Tabata Finisher

A person doing jump squats in the gym for the finisher workout

In my practice, the tabata finisher also stands out as one of the most effective ways to wrap up a workout.

It's fast-paced and intense, therefore high fat burning. You'll be fatigued at the end of this one.

Push past the pain since your muscles will burn from the lack of rest periods.

The total finish time will be four minutes, with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

Perform two rounds of the following exercises in the order they are performed.

  • Jumping Lunges
  • High Knees
  • Burpees
  • Up-Down Planks

Related post: Best Tabata Workouts to Boost Your Cardio and Endurance

3. Kettlebell Conditioning Finisher

Aiming to boost cardiovascular fitness and strength, I often recommend kettlebells to my clients for powerful, full-body exercises with minimal rest.

Make sure you pay close attention to the form.

If you only have one kettlebell, cut the training duration in half and complete the thrusters unilaterally.

  1. Double Kettlebell Thrusters for 30 seconds
  2. Alternating Kettlebell Cleans for 45 seconds
  3. Double Kettlebell Swings for 60 seconds
  4. Rep the circuit 3 to 5 times. Rest for 90 seconds in between circuits

4. Battle Rope Finisher

A buff male doing a battle rope finisher workout

Battle ropes workouts are a great way to add variation to your upper-body act.

They'll get your core, shoulders, forearms, and upper back working. Furthermore, your pulse will be racing from the start.

If you have to rest more between sets, feel free to do so until your physical stamina and work capability improve.

Consider shortening your rest intervals as you advance in your training.

  1. Battle Rope Wave for 20 seconds
  2. Take a 20-second rest
  3. Battle Rope Slam for 30 seconds
  4. Take a 20-second rest
  5. Repeat the circuit five to ten times. Between circuits, take a 45-second break.

Related: Battle Ropes Benefits

5. Sally Up, Sally Down Finisher

Bodyweight squats, press-ups, jump squats, pull-ups, and plank push-ups are popular workouts for the Sally Up and Sally Down finishers.

You will need the tune Sally Up, Sally Down for this finisher. You may find it online by searching Sally Up, Sally Down. To perform this workout finisher, listen to the lyrics up and down in the song.

For instance, if you pick jump squats, you would begin in a standing squat posture, with your toes facing front and feet slightly wider than hip-width; this is your up stance.

When you hear the phrase down, sit into a squat posture and maintain it there until you hear the word up, at which point you can return to a standing squat position. Repeat for the duration of the song.

6. Sprint Finisher

A person about to do a sprint in a field

I've used sprint finishers to help clients lose fat, maintain muscle mass, boost anaerobic threshold, and enhance cardiovascular health.

This is ideal for athletes. You'll need to go out on the track or find a large field for this one. An empty road will also suffice.

The total finish time will be approximately five to six minutes.

The work-rest ratio is 1:2, which means you will rest twice as long as it took you to complete the sprint.

Begin at 200 meters while working your way down to 50. Then you're finished.

  • 200 meters
  • 150 meters
  • 100 meters
  • 75 meters
  • 50 meters

7. Functional Finisher

In my experience, essential movements like pulling, pushing, and carrying often get overlooked in training programs.

This finisher is intended to boost your working capacity and grip strength and to address possibly missed parts of your functional training program.

Perform each workout in turn, taking as little of a break as possible.

  • 15-meter Sled Push
  • Unilateral Overhead Carry (left side) for 30 seconds
  • 10 repetitions of Burpees
  • Unilateral Overhead Carry (right side) for 30 seconds
  • 15-meter Sled Pull
  • Repeat the circuit 3 and 5 times. Rest 45–90 seconds between circuits

What Is a Workout Finisher?

A person doing a workout finisher in the gym

I always remind my clients that workout finishers, though brief and intense, are crucial after the main strength training.

They're all about circuit and interval training to spike your heart rate. You might sprint or use equipment like good adjustable kettlebells, battle ropes, or sleds.

Another choice?

Bodyweight finishers. Think burpees, pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups, crammed into a set time. These finishers are tough – they push you to your limits.

The idea?

Amp up your workout intensity after those barbell lifts to see bigger gains. Finishers, with their circuit and interval focus, boost your overall conditioning and stamina. They're not just physical – they toughen up your mind too. The equipment matters less than how hard you push yourself.

Research in the World Journal of Cardiology shows short bursts of mixed upper and lower body exercises ramp up metabolic conditioning [1].

"Finishers increase the effectiveness of your regular workout by causing an acute metabolic boost."

- Megan Dahlman, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist 

According to a 2018 Plos One study, moves like burpees, kettlebell swings, and thrusters up your strength game [2].

And, as the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness reports, folks prefer these high-intensity intervals over less demanding workouts. So, to end your workout with a bang, finishers are the way to go [3].

How Finishers Work

A person in the gym doing a push up

I've observed that finishers, when done post-strength sessions, significantly boost metabolic fitness and strength.

They help your body handle intense workouts better, letting your muscles and lungs take on more weight and reps. This leads to bigger strength gains.

To improve recovery and breathing during heavy sets, work on your VO2 max, a key cardiovascular fitness indicator. Deep, controlled breathing during finishers enhances endurance and performance.

These intense bursts of activity post-lifting increase your body's tolerance for hard work.

Finishers aren't one-size-fits-all; they vary based on your training level.

Short, high-intensity intervals (under 30 seconds) work for beginners, while longer sessions (up to 15 minutes) suit the more experienced, as per the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports [4].

Lastly, don't forget to mix in flexibility and mobility exercises for recovery and muscle health.

Importance of a Workout Finisher

A person doing a push up workout finisher in the gym

Anaerobic fitness: I've seen how finishers ramp up intensity and challenge the body's oxygen supply to the muscles. This anaerobic state boosts metabolism, improves body composition, power, bone strength, joint protection, and lowers illness risk.

Calorie burn: Finishers are great for burning extra calories, aiding in weight loss and fat reduction.

EPOC: Intense finishers keep burning fat during and after a workout. They're more taxing than moderate workouts, depleting energy reserves and requiring calorie energy for muscle recovery.

"The body uses roughly five calories of energy for every 1 liter of oxygen. As a result, raising the volume of oxygen taken during and after an exercise might result in a spike in the number of net calories burnt."

- Pete McCall, ACE Certified Personal Trainer 

Speed and endurance: Burst workouts in finishers enhance speed, explosiveness, and overall endurance.

Psychological perks: Finishers also build mental toughness and a sense of achievement, boosting workout satisfaction and commitment to fitness.


Are Finishers Good for Muscle Growth?

Yes, finishers are good for muscle growth. Finishers make good anaerobic fitness builders due to their rapid and intense nature. Like sprinting, lifts, and plyometric motions, anaerobic workouts can accelerate metabolism and enhance EPOC, power and explosive capability, and muscular endurance.

What Is a Good Core Finisher?

Crunches and side crunches are good core finishers. Perform 12 crunches, then 12 side crunches on each side, and repeat for two more sets.

Do Workout Finishers Work?

Yes, workout finishers work. Exercise finishers are efficient and effective ways to improve your fitness and raise your work capacity. Incorporate them into your routine twice or thrice weekly to gain greater strength and cardiovascular fitness benefits.


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