Growing up I loved to help my dad “finish” his workouts. I’d see him coming up the driveway after a long run and challenge him to a race. Or I’d run the last few fartlucks (some people call them gassers) with him after he’d already done 20. I’ve shared before that one of my favorites was the pull up competitions we’d have after he’d already lifted weights.
Of course, I was just leveling the playing field for myself at the time, but looking back, I take full credit for helping him achieve optimal fitness once he was over the hill….Well, maybe not full credit. My dad was modeling the concept of a hard finish for me and I just recently realized it. He was incorporating workout finishers and taking it to the next level.
You know those workouts where you are dripping sweat, you’re out of breath and you’re feeling pretty good? I want to plant this little voice inside your head that says,
“How about one more? What do you say to a hard finish? What do you have left in the tank?”
The concept of pushing past your normal finish has several mental and physical benefits.
- You will see results you’ve never achieved before and get them faster.
- Instead of dripping sweat, you begin pouring sweat, and that is the sign of a great workout.
- Those hard earned endorphins feel extra sweet.
- Your overall conditioning will drastically improve.
- You’ll get an extra boost of confidence for pushing yourself.
- Extra reps (with good form) can break down muscle fibers even more so they build up stronger faster.
- A five minute hard finish can be a fat torcher literally using more calories than a 2 mile run.
- You will bust through any plateaus that you encounter.
- It’s a great way to get better at something like sprinting form, body weight squats, balance, etc.
- A hard finish can be fun! Seriously. Think back to when you were a kid and you played HARD. That was fun wasn’t it?!
So what exactly is a hard finish or finishers as some trainers call them? The exercise industry (particularly a guy named Mike Whitfield) has several fancy formulas for a finisher based on your workout but basically, you need to bust your behinny as hard as you can for 3-8 minutes with some pretty crazy set and rep schemes. The idea is to push yourself past exhaustion at the end of your workout.
Here are some examples:
- Five 100 meter all out sprints with 15 second rest in between
- 60 seconds of jump squats, rest 30 seconds, 20 spiderman pushups, repeat twice
- 30 seconds of burpees, 30 seconds jumping jacks, 30 seconds split jumps, 30 seconds burpees, 30 seconds jumping jacks, 30 seconds mountain climbers, 30 seconds rest. Repeat x4
- Set up “doggies” or “run lines” with at least 5 sprint distances for 5 full circuits
- 10 burpees, 1 squat, 9 burpees, 2 squats, 8 burpees, 3 squats….. 1 burpee 10 squats
- 33 Jump Squats, 33 Decline Close-Grip Pushups, 33 kettlebell or dumbbell Swings
- You get the idea!
Just pick a finisher, any series of metabolically taxing exercises, and add the series to the end of your workout. You just made it a SUPER workout.
It’s the easiest way to make a good workout, great! And you will get great results too.
Don’t you think this concept of the “hard finish” is a great life lesson too? Big shout out to my dad for showing me the value of working hard to the end and then pushing even further to get better. And for making it fun in the process!
Since we are still in the month of September and our Back to School Special is still running, I challenge all the parents in the OHW community to step up and think of how you can challenge your kids to push themselves to improve when they think their job is over in school, in house chores, in sports, in being a good friend, in keeping their bodies healthy….