By Mike Whitfield, CTT
Author, Workout Finishers

I am now back on a total body workout with a metabolic finisher after doing an upper lower-split program for 3 weeks. I will explain to you how I chose the right metabolic finisher in just a little bit, but first I’m going to put together a nice hot cup of Apple Cider. You didn’t even realize I stepped away did you? The internet is ah-mazing!

Anyway, since I’m on a total body program 3 times a week, I chose a metabolic finisher that uses all the major muscle groups. I guess you can call it a total body metabolic finisher, but that is a lot of words. Finishers are getting a lot of buzz in the industry lately, and they should because they work.

As you know, a metabolic finisher is a replacement for interval training and it uses incomplete recovery using short rest periods and most of the time, it uses all the major muscle groups. However, there are some finishers, at least when I write them, that focus a little more on the upper body or lower body. This brings up 2 questions:

1. How do I choose the right metabolic finisher based on the program I’m on for fat loss?
2. Seriously, how many licks of a tootsie roll pop does it take to get to the tootsie roll of tootsie roll pop?

Keep in mind that the second question isn’t really that important, but was inspired by a t-shirt I saw at Target a few nights ago. That same shirt also inspired me to type this sentence as well as the last question. So, let’s forget about that and focus on number one:

How do you choose the right metabolic finisher?

Since I’m a TT trainer and I train myself as well as my clients of one of two ways of working out (total body or upper/lower split), that is how I will explain how to choose the right finisher. Let’s look at one a time:

Choosing a Finisher on a Total Body Program

If you’re on a total body workout 3 days a week, I would recommend a finisher that focuses on all major muscle groups. For instance, after your workout on Monday, you could do the “It’s Complexicated” finisher, which is a barbell circuit of Front Squats, Rows, Romanian Deadlifts and Military Presses. This hits all major muscle groups without over-stressing what you accomplished in your workout (just don’t add weight to the bar).

Another good fit after a total body workout, especially if you are tight on time, is the Burpee/Chin-up combo. This is how that works:

Do the following as shown:

Burpee/Chin-up Combo (8), rest 40 secs
Burpee/Chin-up Combo (7), rest 40 secs
Burpee Chin-up Combo (6), rest 30 secs
Burpee Chin-up Combo (5), rest 30 secs
Burpee Chin-up Combo (4), rest 20 secs
Burpee Chin-up Combo (3), rest 20 secs
Burpee Chin-up Combo (2), rest 10 secs
Burpee Chin-up Combo (1), smile and have a protein shake

This finisher takes just a few minutes, but you’ll see why it is so effective. You’ll be spent, and it’s a great metabolic finisher to choose when you don’t have much time. It also hits a lot of muscle. Boom goes the efficiency dynamite yet again.

This is why it is so important to plan your workouts just like your nutrition. If you know you will be tight on time after a total body workout, then you need to have a finisher in place that you know takes just a few minutes.

So to wrap it up – if you’re using 3 total body workouts per week, then choose a finisher based on time allowed and that hits your upper and lower body to compliment what you accomplished in the main workout, which was a good workout and getting shot down by the hottie on the treadmill. Yep, I saw that… and I typed it. And there’s nothing you can do about it – it’s my article and I can do what I want.

What about metabolic total body workouts?

If you’re performing a true metabolic workout, then you honestly don’t need a metabolic finisher. The intensity needed to perform that type of workout cannot be sustained long enough to perform a finisher on top of that. It’s kind of like when people say they did intervals for an hour… no you didn’t. Your intensity wasn’t high enough if you did intervals for an hour. That’s a whole new article, and thank you for the idea! (not you, I’m talking to my own head).

Choosing a Finisher on an Upper/Lower Split Program

You can still use a metabolic finisher, even when you are on an upper/lower split program. This where you will need to choose wisely. Let’s say you are on a program like this:

Mon: Upper body
Tue: Lower body
Wed: Off
Thu: Upper body
Fri: Lower body

This is where it comes to your fitness level really. If you find yourself being able to recover really well between workouts, then you could actually choose a metabolic finisher that focuses more on the lower body after an upper body workout. This will target all muscle groups between the main workout and the finisher. For example, after your upper body workout, you could do the following finisher:

The “Crossing Over to Stir the Pot” Finisher

Do the following superset 4 times, resting for 30 seconds between supersets
1A) Bodyweight Cross-Over Step-up (10 ea)
1B) Stir the Pot Exercise (5 in ea. direction)

As you can see, you will only be using bodyweight, so it’s not too much volume. This will allow you the intensity needed for your lower body workout the next day.

Another option, if you’re concerned for your recovery of your lower body, is to use a finisher that focuses on the upper body. This will add more volume to your upper body workout, but keep in mind that you will have 2 days of rest in between. Everyone is different. An upper body focused finisher could be a superset with little rest of push-ups and inverted rows.

Mike, you need to wrap this up. You’re getting long-winded. I love it when my head takes over and types stuff like that. It’s freaky, but cool.

Needless to say, you can apply the same principles to choosing a finisher after a lower body workout. Just always take your fitness level and recovery ability into account. Remember the 3 rules on choosing the finisher:

Fitness level
Recovery ability

So, I hope this helps you out when you need to choose the right metabolic finisher after your workout. If not, well, that’s over 1,000 words I will never get back… kinda’ like watching Transformers 2. That’s 90 minutes of my life I won’t get back. Looky there, I’m rambling again.

Finish Strong,
Mike Whitfield, CTT
Author, Workout Finishers