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Every once in a while, you need to bully your body into growing. Some call it "shocking" the body. Others call it "sending the grow or die message" to the body. This is where finishers come in. Whether you're a competitive athlete getting ready for the rigors of spring training, or just a masochistic bodybuilder who wants to have some fun, you gotta do finishers every once in a while. These "finishers" are performed at the end of the routine and are usually total body workouts that leave you either puking or lying on the floor for minutes afterwards. These movements are also beneficial to your training by improving your mental toughness. They help you push through pain barriers during regular training by "training" your mind to cope with pain. Every once in a while, you find yourself going to the gym and saying "I'm not really working hard....I don't know what's wrong." That's because you haven't pushed yourself to the limit. Finishers remind you that you can really give a lot more in your training and that you were just being a wuss. These movements also provide good cardiovascular work (you'll see after you finish one). So enough of my rambling. Without further ado, here are the finishers.
The Farmer's Walk
Probably the most championed of the finishers and most people's favorites. This is a tough exercise that'll really work your grip and delts. When the weights get heavy enough, or if it's after a good leg workout, you'll also feel it in your legs.
How do you do it? Well, you pick up a pair of heavy dumbbells and walk with them as far as you can. You can also do this with a barbell. Just deadlift the barbell and carry it in the finished deadlift position. However, I prefer dumbbells. When the dumbbells fall out of your hands, pick them up again. Continue until you can no longer hold the dumbbells in your hands. You can do this for distance or for time. And remember, increase the distance or time each time you do it. Progression is the key.
Here are some facts about the Farmer's Walk taken from a Brooks Kubik article. John Y. Smith carries a 200 lb. barbell in his left hand and a 220 lb. barbell in his right and walked 75 yards with them. He weighed only 168 at the time. John Davis, when helping Sig Klein move his gym to a different building, carried a pair of 100 lb. dumbbells the length of a city block and up several flights of stairs to the new location.
Bearhug and walk
Another good movement that really works the back and lets. This one will really leave your whole body in exhaustion.
You can do this with a sandbag if you want. To make a sand bag, take an old backpack, duffelbag, or whatever you can find and fill it with sand or dirt. You can also fill it with old metal objects like nuts and bolts, nails, etc. Just don't put anything too sharp, or you could cut yourself. Another option would be a mail bag. You could go to your local post office, and they might sell you one. These bags are heavy duty. Another option would be to carry a keg filled with liquid or sand, or anything else for that matter. However, kegs are something you would have laying around the house (unless you had a party last night...but you wouldn't be training if that was the case). You can do it with a huge rock, an anvil, a log, anything heavy, really. Yet another option would be to bearhug and carry your training partner. I've done this before, but it looks a little homosexual-ish (not that there's anything wrong with that--any Seinfeld fans?).
Now, to do this exercise you just pick up the bag bearhug style and walk as far as you can with it. Sounds simple, eh? Well, it's hard to handle a bag when you can't really grip it right. Also, if the weight is heavy enough, it will be hard just to keep the bag in a bearhug position. Again, you can go for distance or you can go for time. Both are equally brutal, so there's no easy way out. Now, be extra careful not to drop this on your foot.
The Fireman's carry
This one is similar to the bearhug and walk. It works your obliques and legs well.
You can do this with a sandbag, a keg, or a training partner.
To do it, you shoulder the implement onto your shoulder (of course), and walk as far as you can. Then you switch shoulders when you can't take it anymore. You can switch training partners at that point. Not much to this one.
Lugging and Loading
This is everybody's favorite cardiovascular exercise. It works the whole body. Your lower back, grip, legs, and shoulders will take a beating.
To do this one, you'll need several heavy objects and a platform a little higher than your waist. The tailgate of a pick-up truck is a good platform.
Take several heavy objects and line them up from lightest to heaviest. The number of objects will depend on their weight and the distance you carry them. If you have a big yard, you can park your truck in the backyard and have the implements in the front yard. Now, deadlift one of the implements, then walk fast (don't run, 'cause you'll fall down) to the platform and load the implement onto it. Another one that sounds simple but is brutal. Repeat this with each of the heavier objects until you finish loading all of them. If you aren't tired yet, take all of the objects you loaded and put them back where you started.
This is a finisher that I love to use for the chest/shoulders/triceps area. To do a crab crawl, you sit on your butt with legs bent. It should look like the finished position of a sit-up, but with your hands behind you to support your back. Ok, you got your feet flat on the ground, your hands behind you flat on the ground, now lift your but up and start "walking" backwards using your arms and legs. Don't let your butt touch the ground, just move your arms and legs. You should be face up to the sky, not to the ground. Hope this was a good description. You can do this one for time or distance also.
A favorite of Dr. Ken Leistner and others. This provides an excellent leg workout.
All ya need is a car or something heavy with wheels, like a bus, an eighteen wheeler, a trailer, whatever.
Take the car to an open lot or you can do it in your front yard if it is big enough You're gonna need a training partner to put the car in neutral and steer. He'll also ride the brake a bit just to make you work harder. Now, get on the back end and push the car by the bumper or trunk until you fall down and can't get back up. You're whole lower body will feel this one in the morning.
This is probably my personal favorite. However, I really hate this one when my brothers truck breaks down or runs out of gas and we have to push it to a gas station. Whaddya expect, it's a Chevy.
Try one of these finishers sometime just to remind you that your limits are far beyond what you have been pushing yourself to. Pick one of the movements, make yourself cry, vomit, and curse, then go home to eat and sleep. This, of course, will take place after you've laid down in a pool of sweat for a while.
Well, if anybody knows any good finishers, please add it to the bottom of this page and I'll post them up here for all the masochists to try.