Avoiding Injuries Using Workout Finishers

The “buzz word” of the day in the fitness industry is “finishers”.  But unfortunately, most people, including fitness professionals, go about them all wrong and they end up doing more harm than good.

What are Workout Finishers or Metabolic Finishers?

First, if you haven’t heard the phrase “workout finisher” or “metabolic finisher”, let me explain.  I like to call them “intervals on caffeine without cardio equipment”, but that’s just me.  By the way, why do I keep putting “quotations” on random “words”?  I have “no” idea.

How to Incorporate “Finishers” into your Clients’ Workouts?

Anyway, Rick asked me to give you some information on how to incorporate finishers with your clients or yourself with your current workout program.  That’s actually part of the beauty of a finisher – you can use them with just about any workout program.

The idea behind a finisher is to complement your efforts of your main program.  It’s like taking your workout and pouring awesome sauce on it.  The awesome sauce will help you burn more calories during your workout, but more importantly, after the workout (what the cool kids call, the “afterburn effect”).  Ha-ha, quotes.

A workout finisher typically takes 10 minutes or less, but the effects of them lasts for hours.  I’ve used metabolic finishers that last literally just one minute.  The variety of them can prevent boredom, plateaus, and most importantly avoid injuries.  I think Rick talks about avoiding and getting through injuries on this blog, but I’m not sure.  << Ha!  Good one, Whitfield.

That’s the key to using finishers with your program – avoiding injuries.  It’s especially important when you are using exercises with the abs.

That “Abs” Buzz Word

Abs – that’s another one of those buzz words.  99% of the time, that is what clients are looking for: to lose belly fat.  My coaching clients know that the simpler approach you can use to gain a goal, the more successful you will be in obtaining it.  But most people try to lose their gut by doing things that have very little return on investment (if any).  Some people even sabotage their efforts by doing these two common things:

  • Long, steady state cardio as their main workout
  • Crunches, sit-ups and other exercises that can actually strain your lower back and neck

The One-Two Punch for Losing Belly Fat SAFELY

Studies have shown that you can actually increase your appetite when doing long, steady-state cardio.  So, let’s say you burned 250 calories using cardio, but your appetite caused you to eat 350 more calories than usual due to your appetite.  That’s a surplus of 100 calories each day.

In my professional opinion – that’s NOT awesome sauce.

But there’s good news.  Studies have shown that intervals and/or finishers burn even more calories than steady-state cardio, without increasing your appetite.  So, by replacing your steady state cardio with a short ab-focused finisher like the following, you’ve established punch number one against belly fat (in case you didn’t get that – punch number one is using a finisher).

After your main workout, do the following circuit twice, resting for 20 seconds between circuits:

  1. Lunge Jumps (6 ea)
  2. Decline Push-ups (10)
  3. Inverted Rows (8)
  4. KB/DB Swings (20)
  5. Cross-Body Mountain Climbers (8 ea)

As you can see, there are no crunches or sit-ups.  This is also better because you are spreading the effort between different muscle groups, unlike steady-state cardio or intervals.  If you are performing intervals on a bike, that’s much better than cardio, but your legs are doing all the work, with no effort from the upper body.  With a finisher like above, you’re using different muscle groups and you’re doing it in less time.  This allows you to burn fat with less risk for injury.  By using a strategic combination of conditioning moves and core exercises, along with incomplete recovery, you have set up your body to burn more fat, along with safely strengthening your core.  That brings me to punch number two.

Safe, but Effective Ab Exercises

With my clients (as well as myself), I use a variety of movements that challenge your core safely but effectively.  This includes a variety of planks, jackknifes, renegade rows, etc., etc.  Your abs were meant to work in unison.  By using crunches,  you’re just working the top layer of your abs, as well as possibly putting strain on your back and/or neck.  The risk for reward simply isn’t worth it.

But here is where it can be tricky.  You only have so much time.  If you want to work on your waistline, using the above moves simply won’t be enough.  Sure, your abs will get rock solid, but you will need to burn the layer of fat on top.  It would be like buying a really awesome t-shirt and telling your friends about it, but you wear it inside out.  Hhmmm, not really.  That actually doesn’t make any sense.  And now I’m making this even more awkward by pointing out the oddness of it.  I think I’m just going to start a new paragraph… kinda’ like a clean slate.

Wow, that was rough.  Anyway, you can actually combine the powerful effects of effective core work and a metabolic finisher at the same time.  The key is to use incomplete recovery, effective ab exercises and conditioning moves in a strategic combination to keep the heart rate up and to be able to manage fatigue.  In other words, doing a bunch of box jumps over and over can lead to injury as well as not being the most effective means to burn fat.

I would say the perfect ab finisher is when you feel your core being worked, you love/hate it at the same time, and you feel victorious at the end of your workout, but just before the defeated borderline 🙂   The idea is to finish strong, but not zap you so hard, that you find yourself not being able to recover between workouts.

Along with a solid nutrition program and a professionally designed resistance training program, finishers will help you to start seeing a difference in your abs and clothes in no time.  I use finishers all the time to help my clients jump-start their fat loss program or bust them through a weight loss plateau.  They are challenging, but they do work.

But if it was easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing them?  I have 105 reasons I use them with my training programs.

I Have Lost 105 lbs Myself

Finish strong and thanks for having me Rick!
Mike Whitfield, (AKA “Mikey”), CFNC, CTT

Mike has designed 33 Ab Finishers you can use yourself or with your clients right here:


CLICK HERE for Mike’s 33 Ab Finishers

Mike Whitfield, CFNC, CTT (known as “Mikey”) is a certified Turbulence Trainer who resides in Georgia.  After losing 105 lbs, his passion propelled him into the fitness industry.  His unique approach of using metabolic resistance training and metabolic workout finishers has helped thousands of people lose fat through his online and offline programs.  He is known across the fitness industry for his “finishers” and he is the author of the Workout Finishers and Ab Finishers programs. He has been seen on the Turbulence Training blog, Men’s Health Blog, and he has been featured in the AJC.  You can read his humor and fat loss advice at CrankTraining.com .
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