Lets face it, we all hate cardio. I don’t know if I have ever heard a single person excited about their upcoming cardio session. As a result people skip cardio or just coast through it and end up wasting their time. There is good news though, whether you are a newbie gym goer or a lifetime lifter that’s spent hundreds of hours on a gym floor. You can hammer out your cardio session in a matter of minutes, you heard me right, and watch the fat melt off your body and improve your cardiovascular health. Enter metabolic finishers.
Metabolic finisher are a series of exercises that are performed at the end of a workout that will make sure that you’ve completely emptied the gas tank. I warn you though, metabolic finishers are not fun! But trust me, once your done with your metabolic finisher you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and even though they are tough when you are in the midst of them, you’ll feel great when you get back into the locker room and sit down.
Here are a couple of my favorite metabolic finishers. These finishers can be used by anyone, whether your goal is to drop some bodyfat, increase your level of conditioning so you outlast your competition or if your just looking to increase your work capacity. I personally will grab a stopwatch and try to beat my previous time on each of the finishers to constantly improve my conditioning.
1. 100 Yard Gassers
This is one of the finishers that I find myself doing a lot. It’s pretty straight forward, brutal and to the point. Gassers will improve your lower body power, speed your metabolism and increase your level of conditioning.
How to perform Gassers
- place two cones about 25 yards apart
- sprint as fast as possible from one cone to another until you’ve sprinted back and forth 4 times for a total of 100 yards (thats 1 Gasser)
- touch each cone as you approach it
- rest 45-60 seconds between each Gasser
- perform a total of 10-12 Gassers depending on current conditioning levels
2. Prowler Pushes
In order to perform Prowler pushes you obviously need access to a Prowler. If you do have access to one and you don’t perform Prowler pushes on a regular basis your missing out on some fun. Prowler pushes will increase your lower body and core strength as well as increasing shoulder, chest and arm endurance, not to mention an increase in overall body conditioning.
How to perform Prowler Pushes
- maintain a straight back as well as straight arms, drive the Prowler with long, deep strides
- drive the Prowler 20-40 yards depending on your current conditioning level
- complete 5-10 sets with anywhere between 1-2 minutes of rest depending on desired intensity levels
- pass out
**Prowler Pushes at Cressey Performance
A tabata complex can be done anywhere and at anytime making them ideal. You can do Tabatas at home, at the gym, or in your hotel room while your away on a business trip. Tabatas are also great because of the tremendous amount of variety they allow. If your creative you can literally do hundreds of different Tabata Complexes without ever repeating them. Like previous finishers, Tabatas will help increase overall body conditioning, increase metabolism and increase your functional ability.
How to perform Tabatas
- pick any number of exercises ranging from 1 to 8 (psuh up, burpee, bodyweight squat, mountain climbers, split squats, chin ups, squats…)
- perfom an exercise for 20 seconds non stop
- rest 10 seconds
- perform an exercise for 20 seconds non stop
- rest 10 seconds
- repeat this cycle for a total of 4 minutes (8 20/10 second intervals)
- rest 2-3 minutes after the full 4 minutes
- perform a total of 2-3 full Tabata Complexes
4. Bodyweight Complex (courtesy of Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning and San Jose Sharks Strength Coach Jamie Rodriquez)
The bodyweight burn is another challenging finisher. The bodyweight complex will improve overall body conditioning, boost metabolism, and straight up kick your ass.
How to perform the Bodyweight Complex
- Chin Ups for 20 seconds
- Burpees for 20 seconds
- Split squats for 15 seconds per leg
- Lateral Crawls for 20 seconds
- Straight Leg Sit Up for 20 seconds
- Single Leg Glute Bridge for 15 seconds per leg
- Push Ups for 20 seconds
- rest 60-90 seconds
- repeat 4-5 times depending on your conditioning levels
5. KettleJack Countdown (courtesy of University of New Hampshire Strength Coach Matt Skeffington)
First and formost, if you aren’t familiar with kettlebells and how to use them you may want to pass on this one. With so many metabolic finisher options there is no need to perform a finisher that could potentially injury you with bad form. That being said, the KettleJack Countdown is tough. Like all other finishers, it will improve overall body conditioning and boost your metabolism. It also adds a little variety to your program by encorporating kettlebells into your training.
How to perform the KettleBell Countdown
- alternate between kettlebell swings and jumping jacks
- perform 10 kettlebell swings, ditch the weight and perform 10 jumping jacks
- immediately perform 9 kettlebell swings followed by 9 jumping jacks
- repeat without rest until you have reach 0 kettlebell swings and 0 jumping jacks
- rest 1-2 minutes
- repeat 2-5 times depending on your current level of conditioning
**Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning and San Jose Sharks Strength Coach Jamie Rodriquez crushing the KettleJack Countdown
Sit back and watch the fat melt off your body. Good luck!