7 Workout Finishers to Improve Hypertrophy and Conditioning

You don't always have to choose between building muscle and building your engine.

You walk past the mirror at the gym, sweating and heading to the locker room, and can’t help but flex. You would have liked to spend more time on arms today, but you’ve only got 5 or 10 minutes to spare before you hit the showers and go to work.

Enter the workout finisher.

Doing a finisher at the end of your strength training routine can be great for fat loss and mental toughness because your energy stores are low and you’ll be feeling fatigued.

However, if you switch your emphasis to hypertrophy to bring up a lagging body part, you’ll get the best of all worlds.

Why? There are 3 main drivers for hypertrophy.

  1. Mechanical tension
  2. Muscle damage
  3. Metabolic stress

Now, hopefully you’ve taken care of the “tension” part by lifting heavy. And by limiting your rest periods while working one part of your body with three different exercises, the finishers below will cause plenty of muscular damage and stress.

Furthermore, performing these circuits with the prescribed rest periods will improve your cardiovascular fitness, which many lifters neglect. Better cardio can speed your recovery between trainings by improving blood flow from your heart to your working muscles, which can help clear up metabolic waste products after a tough workout. Not only that, but better cardio means better recovery between sets. It’s a win-win.

[Forget cardio? Read these 5 powerlifting “rules” you should break.]

Use the following body part routines to get your sweaty pump on. And if you really need to do cardio, throw a leg finisher in there. Your heart will be glad you did.

push up

Why Do Body Part Finishers?

When you’re pushed for time, limiting your time, reps and equipment is a great way to train up a lagging body part with a minimum of fuss and fanfare.

There’s nothing magical about this 8 minute and 8 rep protocol. You can change it to 5 reps 5 minutes, 6 reps 6 minutes or 10 reps 10 minutes, all depending on how much time you have.

However, adjust the weight you use accordingly. If you go too heavy or light, you can always change the weight during your circuit.

The following exercises are suggestions. Feel free to substitute your favorite (or least favorite) exercises in.

goblet squat free

Workout Finishers for Muscle Gain and Conditioning

Complete each training as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30 seconds at the end of each circuit and do as many rounds as possible within the eight minutes.

 Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form.If you are stacking these workouts, rest 1 -2 minutes between rounds and choose no more than three in the one session.

Eight-minute legs

1A. Goblet split squat: 4 reps on each leg

1B. Goblet squats: 8 reps

1C. Bodyweight hip thrust: 8 reps (pause for a count of 3 in the top position)

Note: Use either a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

kettlebell swing

Eight-minute legs Part two

1A. Kettlebell swings: 8 reps

1B. Offset Kettlebell front squat: 4 reps on each arm

1C. Birddogs: 4 reps on both sides

Eight-minute arms

1A. Overhead triceps extensions- 8 reps

1B. Incline biceps curl: 8 reps

1C. Triceps pushdowns: 8 reps

Note: You will need access to a cable machine and dumbbells. Keep them both close.

Lateral raise

Eight-minute shoulders

1A. Seated front raises: 8 reps

1B. Seated lateral raises: 8 reps

1C. Seated rear lateral raises: 8 reps

Note: Use either dumbbell or weight plates

Eight-minute chest

1A. Dumbbell chest flies: 8 reps

1B. Single arm chest press: 4 reps on each arm

1C. Incline push-ups: 8 reps

plank free

Eight-minute core

1A. Front plank with shoulder tap: 8 reps on each side

1B. Side plank with hip dip: 8 reps on each side

1C. Reverse crunches: 8 reps

[Read more: 10 simple plank variations for a stronger core.]

Eight-minute back

1A. Dumbbell pullover: 8 reps

1B. Bent over reverse flies: 8 reps

1C. Single arm row: 8 reps on each arm

Wrapping up

Don’t let time be an excuse to add muscle to a lagging body part. Working on your weaker points will improve your overall appearance and help improve your big lifts. With a little sweat equity and effort at the end of your training, you’ll like what you see in the mirror.

Go head and flex away.

Shane McLean

Shane McLean

Shane McLean is a Certified Personal Trainer who’s worked with a wide variety of clients, from the general population client all the way to ex-Navy seals and college athletes.

Shane is a big believer in seeing exercise as a gift for the body and never a punishment — exercise should be as enjoyable as possible and never just a “work” out.

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