Have you tried the new Build + Burn workouts? The three, 3x2 circuits are consistent in each of the workouts so you can become familiar with the format and crush each round with new movements. Each workout has a unique finisher at the end of our workout together to kick it up a notch. But, why? Read on!
What Is A Workout Finisher?
A finisher is an workout technique that involves fast, intense bursts of cardio and/or strength exercises performed at the end of your workout. These routines are typically 1 to 10 minutes, and are meant to push your body to the limit. Think of it as your home stretch of a workout - if you knew the cool down was on the other side of your power push, how much could you give in that moment?
For example, if you just completed a lower-body workout, you could perform a leg finisher (one that I like to call "Squatabata") where you perform 8, 20-second efforts alternating air squats and jump squats in a 4-minute Tabata round further exhaust the targeted muscle groups. The idea is that you're pushing yourself through speed, a high number of repetitions, a strong weight or an extended period of time until you really feel like your targeted body parts are just toast. What's the goal? Whatever exercises you pick, you want to feel fatigued immediately at the end 🔥.
What Is the Benefit Of A Finisher?
By taking target muscle groups to your max, you can build more muscle, strength and endurance over the long term. You can also increase the overall caloric burn of your workout by taking advantage of a physiological phenomenon known as post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Here's how EPOC works: When you exercise intensely — as during a workout finisher — you use up more of your energy stores and create more damage to working muscles than when you exercise at a lower intensity. Your body then has to replenish those energy stores and repair the muscle damage after you're done, which uses up a lot of energy - talk about a bang for a metabolic buck!
Pushing yourself to do more work when you're already fatigued has mental benefits as well. From building extra strength, speed, and/or endurance - but (my favorite) they build confidence to understand that your body can still work hard, even in a fatigued state. This confidence can be especially helpful during races or competitions when things get tough. Mind over matter, you'll realize that you can handle anything for a certain amount of time... because you're a boss ⚡️.
When Should I Do A Finisher?
The great thing about workout finishers is that they help just about any fitness goal, whether you're trying to gain muscle, build strength, boost endurance or speed or stay healthy.
There are countless ways to structure a workout finisher, but how long the finisher is and what you do will depend on your workout of the day, fitness level, goals and how fatigued you are after your workout.
In Build + Burn, they are 1-2 minutes in length because the circuits before the finisher consist of powerful strength work combined with some cardio sprinkles, and the same goes for KE Squad Power! If you're adding it to a workout where cardio is already intertwined - stick to the lower end of the spectrum for just 1-2 workouts a week. This also applies to when you're first starting out - as you build strength and fitness and become more familiar with how finishers feel, you can kick things up a notch. If you're workout of the day is primarily strength/low impact, you can make the finisher a bit longer if you're feeling spicy.
What you do for your finishers will depend on your goals. If you're looking to get a mix of both strength and conditioning during your workouts, you could follow a strength routine with a conditioning-focused finisher and vice-versa. I like combining them because of it's efficiency and the time-saving opportunity - with 2 toddlers at home, if it's not efficient it's likely not happening! If I can crush a strength/cardio combo in under an hour, I'm feeling like my best self. Many strength and conditioning finishers on demand incorporate dumbbells, kettlebells or body-weight exercises - my favorite is zero equipment because it really gives you that confidence boost when you realize you can do even more with your body as the machine.
On the other hand, if you want to build up specific muscle groups, you could use finishers to sneak in more reps. So, if you want to focus on biceps, snag a set of lighter weights and perform alternating hammer curls exercises nonstop for a minute after Upper Body Strength — you'll be amazed what just a minute can do.
Are you a runner? If you want to practice running fast in an already-fatigued state — a helpful skill for any runner training for a race — tack on a quick sprint session! One finisher option is as quick as it is simple: See how fast you can go for one to two minutes on the treadmill, indoor rower, bike or other piece of cardio equipment.
Keep in mind - while you certainly want to feel tired after your workout and finisher, you don't want to work yourself to the point of total exhaustion. My hope for you in class is that you honor the fact that you gave it you're all but you're not completely wiped out - we all have so many other hats that we wear throughout the day and we need to make sure we have energy for that too. We workout to feel our best, enjoy our time, and then spread good vibes like confetti. Make sure to keep that in mind in your next Build + Burn workout!
What if you're taking a workout that doesn't call for a finisher, but you're looking to add a little heat? Try one of these:
1. Cardio Finisher
Using any outdoor space or treadmill, indoor rower, stepping machine, bike or other piece of cardio equipment - there are a few options you can take:
Sprints: 30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest for 6-8 rounds
Sprint Distance: .25 mile sprint on treadmill followed by 1 minute of rest for 5 rounds or 200 meter row on a indoor rower followed by 45 seconds of rest for 6 rounds
For Distance: See how far you can run/row/bike for 1-2 minutes straight. Write that distance down and try to beat it again in 4-weeks.
2. Plyo Finisher
Pick a plyometric movement (squat jumps, plyo lunges, skater jumps, burpees, etc.) and do as many reps as possible in one to two minutes. If jumping causes discomfort, you can get a great burn by scaling to any of the plyometric movements' low-impact options for one to two minutes. Reminder: we don't want to empty the tank to the point where it can't be refilled - take a moment to catch your breath if/when needed!
3. Conditioning Circuit
For a more structured routine, try this AMRAP circuit! AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible. Perform as many rounds of the circuit as you can in five minutes, taking little to no rest in between exercises. Pause if needed; form over everything.
10 kettlebell swings
10 goblet squats
Exercise 1: Kettlebell Swing
Start in a hinged position, holding and tilting the kettlebell in front of you (still on the ground) at arm's length.
Straighten your legs without locking your knees and hinge at your hips as you hike the kettlebell between your legs and above your knees.
Drive your hips forward as you stand, swinging the kettlebell until it reaches about chest height.
Exercise 2: Goblet Squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly out, and hold one heavy dumbbell (or kettlebell) at your chest.
Bend your knees and hinge your hips back to squat down as if you are about to sit in a chair.
Press through your feet to return to standing.
Exercise 3: Push-Up
Start in a high plank, hands under shoulders, core braced, legs extended behind you, balancing on balls of feet, body in a long line from head to heels. (Modification: scale to your knees or elevate your hands in a high plank)
Keeping your body aligned, brace through core and bend elbows out at a 45-degree angle to lower chest toward the floor.
Push back up.