Over the past several years, the health and fitness world has become increasingly interested in high-intensity workouts. And these come in all sorts off different styles. Sometimes, the entire workout routine is performed at this higher, more demanding level. Occasionally, high-intensity portions are sprinkled in as a way to mix things up.
One method that has enjoyed a gradual–and understandable–rise in popularity is the metabolic finisher. What, exactly, is this particular ominous-sounding workout approach? Why should you consider making metabolic finishers part of your routine? How can you do so safely?
What It Is And What It Does
Simply put, a metabolic finisher is any high-intensity circuit routine added to the end of your regular workout. And that’s it. So really, you have a huge range of options to choose from–allowing you to tailor these finishers to your individual needs, goals, and abilities.
Why, though, would some decide to do this to themselves? After all, aren’t you supposed to go all out during your entire workout? Well…no.
To fully understand the benefits of metabolic finishers and how to use them properly, it’s important to remember that finishers are–at their core–circuit workouts. So even when they include strength training exercises, the focus of finishers is to quickly burn large amounts of calories by combining strength and cardiovascular challenges.
This is important.
When performing a strength training routine, you aren’t generally doing much for your cardiovascular system and the intensity–typically measured by your heart rate–isn’t usually that high. Metabolic finishers, then, can be used to add a little extra burn at the end of your workout. In fact, a well-designed finisher can also burn out the muscles that you worked that day to ensure that you really challenged them fully.
How To Do It
As mentioned, there really aren’t a lot of rules when it comes to designed or executing metabolic finishers. The general guidelines, however, do require that you pick compound exercises that target your biggest muscles and that these movements are performed quickly with little-to-no rest between sets.
Remember, this could also be an opportunity to further challenge your target muscles for the day. So if you just performed a chest workout, you could include push-ups into your finisher. Similar substitutions can be made for other upper-body muscle groups. In order to maximize your calorie-burning potential, always include leg exercises in your finishers.
Clearly, there is a lot of room for creativity here. To get you started, here’s a basic outline of an effective metabolic finisher:
- Plyometric leg exercise – 20 reps
- Strength leg exercise – 20 reps
- Upper-body strength exercise – 20 reps
- Core exercise – 20 reps
Once you have your exercises selected, tack your finisher to the end of your normal workout. At first, you may only be able to get through one round. Eventually, however, try to work your way up to performing 3 sets, resting no more than 90 seconds between each.
by Jonathan Thompson
Jonathan Thompson is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist whose health and fitness articles are scattered all over the internet. Jonathan has also written for several wellness periodicals, including IgNite magazine and has recently published his first fitness book – Weighted Vest Workouts