Want to boost fat loss, improve your conditioning, build some extra muscle, and increase your mental toughness, all in less than 20 minutes?
Adding training finishers to the end of your workouts is an extremely effective way to do all of the above.
Most of the time Primal finishers take the form of either high-intensity cardio, a hard hitting bodyweight circuit, or a strength movement with a conditioning component built around improving mental toughness.
Since finishers are meant to be high-intensity, you only need to do them a few times a week and are not meant to be done after every training session. Doing finishers too often will jeopardize your recovery times and strain your central nervous system (CNS), and if you are working your ass off during the main components of your training sessions, they just aren’t necessary all of the time. Keep your finishers to 20 minutes in duration or less.
High-Intensity Cardio Finishers
Primal conditioning philosophy centers around high-intensity cardio and using finishers in this fashion is a perfect opportunity to burn some extra fat. High-intensity cardio burns more fat calories in a shorter period of time than steady state cardio like jogging or the stair climber, and it will have a long lasting metabolic effect, boosting fat loss for up to 24 hours after you have left the gym.
Here are some examples of high-intensity cardio finishers:
- Battle Rope Finisher: 3-4 rounds of battle rope for intervals of 30 seconds to 90 seconds or more. Non-stop movement of the ropes switching between rope slams (single and double arm variations), rope jumping jacks, and shoulder rotations. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds.
- Hill Sprints: This is the most classic and effective fat burning cardio you can do. 5 – 10 sprints with 1-2 minutes rest in between rounds will do the trick. Your rest period includes time spent walking back down the hill.
- Sled and Prowler Work: Weighted sled pulls and sprints, and loaded prowler pushes make for brutal conditioning finishers. Pulls/pushes for 50 feet or more with short breaks in between movements work best.
Bodyweight circuits are one of my favorite finishers to not only boost fat loss, but also build muscle and throw in some extra volume to my training sessions. You can do circuits with light resistance as well, but if you worked hard enough during the core of your training session it probably isn’t necessary. Bodyweight yields a good training effect while minimizing wear and tear on your body that increases recovery times. Using a circuit that recruits the entire body will boost the effectiveness of the finisher.
An example would be:
1a) Pushups x 10
1b) Recline Rows x 10
1c) Jump Squats x 10
Perform each exercise consecutively without rest in between. Completing all 3 constitutes one round. Rest 30 seconds to 2 minutes after each round. Perform 3-5 rounds.
Strength and Mental Toughness Finishers
These are my favorite finishers to use. I like leaving the gym knowing I gave it everything I had and really testing yourself at the end of a training session is a sure-fire way to end on a high note. The strength component of this finisher should involve heavy weight but with a movement that has little risk for technical error or injury. With this in mind, I often turn to heavy farmers carries or carrying odd objects like kegs, sandbags, or stones.
You will get a strength, muscle building, conditioning, and mental toughness training effect with this kind of finisher. I also like combining this type of finisher with high-intensity cardio as a form of contrast training.
A couple examples of this type of finisher would look like:
- Kettlebell farmers carries for 150 feet.
- Heavy object carries for 150 feet in a variety of positions (zercher, shouldered, cleaned, overhead). Keep in mind risk for technical error and increasing the difficulty with different positions since you are already fatigued from your entire training session.
- Farmers carries for 50 – 150 feet followed immediately by a hill sprint.
- Finishers are a great way to boost fat loss, improve conditioning, increase muscle mass, and build mental toughness.
- The best finishers can be high-intensity cardio, bodyweight circuits, and strength and mental toughness movements.
- Do not perform finishers after every training session because they can jeopardize your recovery times and increase CNS fatigue.