Today, I have some info on workout finishers. Something new that trainers have been chatting about.
I went to the person who started the workout finisher craze, Mike Whitfield.
Rick: Let people know a little more about yourself
Mike: I am Mike Whitfield, a Certified Turbulence Trainer in Acworth, GA. I specialize in fat loss using Turbulence Training style workouts and metabolic workout finishers. I got into fitness because I have lost over 100 lbs, which helps me connect with my clients. It also allows me to love what I do because I can certainly share in the clients’ success.
Rick: What is a workout finisher, and why is it important?
Mike: I have been experimenting with workout finishers for almost three years. They are a way to replace interval training. They are short, intense “mini-workouts” that can be done at the end of any workout program. I found that my clients and campers enjoy them more than interval training. They typically use all major muscle groups, which burn more calories. They can be more “fun” than intervals, enabling you to stay consistent. We all know how interval training can help with fat loss. I just wanted to take interval training to the next level. I’m a big believer in consistency for fat loss. One of my favorite finishers is the “Upper/Lower Countdown“:
Do the following superset resting only when needed. In the first superset, you will perform ten reps of each exercise. In the next superset, you will perform nine reps. Continue in this fashion until you complete one representative of each activity.
- 1A) Lunge Jumps (starting with ten reps on each side)
- 1B) Push-ups (starting with ten reps)
Rick: Let’s go back to when you were 100 lbs heavier. When you were that big, how did you start to exercise?
Mike: I remember starting; I was pretty conservative because I was nervous. I was also really out of shape.
Exercising around the track at my old high school exhausted me. I was sick of feeling that sluggish. But that’s why I started.
As for a finisher – I certainly wouldn’t do one like the one above. I would have substituted the lunge jumps for full-body extensions, where you partially squat down, bring your arms behind you, then stand up and extend your arms over your head.
I also would probably start at six instead of 10.
A kneeling or incline pushup could be used for beginners instead of regular.
Finishers came into play when I lost the last 30 lbs. We all know the pain of a plateau. I have found that finishers can fix that, helping me lose the 105 lbs.
BREAK TIME – I met Mike in Las Vegas at a fitness conference. Here we are after one of the sessions:
Rick: Where did the idea of Workout Finishers come from?
Mike: It’s funny because I was actually “under pressure” to develop finishers.
My clients were getting results from interval training, but one of two things was happening was:
- The cardio equipment would be taken up, and they couldn’t get to them for the interval training
- They were looking for something to replace interval training because they wanted something different
That’s when I would put together a “mini-workout” to replace the intervals. I purposely put in a mix of exercises with short rest periods to mimic intervals. But the results were my clients getting leaner faster, and they would stick to doing finishers better than intervals. Then it hit me. Why not better results? We’re using more muscle and burning more calories. That’s when I started to implement finishers regularly.
This is Mike and his son, Champ (Yes, Champ).
Rick: Do you need any equipment to do workout finishers?
Mike: Some finishers use simple things like dumbbells and stability balls, but many just use bodyweight.
Rick: How would you add Workout Finishers into a Bootcamp?
Mike: I love incorporating workout finishers into my fitness camps.
But with my camps, I have various fitness levels to work with. So instead of using a specific rep scheme, I would use timed sets using a stopwatch or a gym boss. I also like to offer substitution exercises.
For example, I would have some people perform Spiderman Push-ups for 30 seconds while some perform Kneeling Push-ups for the same amount of time. That way, people of all fitness levels get benefits from finishers.
Rick: How would you add a Workout Finisher to a personal training session?
Mike: Once they are done with their main workout, I’ll take my clients through a finisher based on their goals and fitness level.
If they are at the gym without me, they have one written down to follow – trust me (ha-ha). It’s a staple in my clients’ programs, and they expect it. I wrote a more accessible version of each finisher in the program because I know everyone has different fitness levels.
Here is an example of Mike in action doing a Workout Finisher with John Romanello:
Rick: Can someone do Workout Finishers if they do not have time to do a boot camp class or a full workout?
Mike: Any exercise is better than no exercise. You can look at this program or finishers as a fast workout if you’re tight on time. But it’s certainly designed to complement the main activity and not replace one.
Rick: How can a Workout Finisher help you prevent injuries?
Mike: The way I look at it is that you have someone who chooses treadmill intervals after their workouts. All those repeated reps are done with the legs, leading to over-use injury. But what if we did some bodyweight movements, including upper body moves like push-ups and inverted rows instead? You use more muscle groups, burn more calories and take some workload away from the legs.
Rick: Where can people get more information about yourself?
Mike: They can get more info about workout finishers at www.workoutfinishers.com, and my fat loss blog is at www.cranktraining.com
Thanks a lot, Mike, for the Q&A.
Rick Kaselj, MS