Every once in a while, you need to really push your muscles to grow, and that’s where finisher exercises come in. Whether you’re a competitive athlete who can’t be satisfied until there’s no gas left in the tank or just an enthusiastic bodybuilder who wants to get the biggest bang for his buck, finisher exercises can help you push through your pain barriers and earn some extra muscle thickness.
Finishing techniques are here to help you achieve maximum growth and fat loss by making sure you use up every ounce of energy and end your workout in the most brutal way.
In other words, they are designed to be the longest 10 minutes of your life and if they don’t make you feel like you’re going to throw up, you’re not doing them right. But if you perform them correctly, you are guaranteed to reap some impossible gains.
The 15 best muscle building finisher exercises
Without any further ado, here are the 15 best muscle-building finishers that will make your muscles scream and ensure maximum their growth:
1. Barbell or dumbbell bench press
The first on our list of ball-busting finisher exercises is the bench press, both dumbbell and barbell, of course. Perform ladder sets using 75% of your 10-rep max for a total of four rounds with 2 minutes of rest in between.
- Set 1: 2 reps, 10 seconds rest
- Set 2: 3 reps, 10 seconds rest
- Set 3: 5 reps, 10 seconds rest
- Set 4: 10 reps, 2 minutes rest
2. Deadlift superset
As long as you employ proper form, this deadlift superset will help you squeeze out every ounce of potential growth from your muscles. Aim for 3 rounds with 2 minutes of rest between rounds. Use the same bar and weight for both exercises (50-60% of your 10-rep max will work great).
- Barbell deadlift: 10 reps
- Barbell bent-over row: 10 reps
3. Giant shoulder set
How about some shoulder fun at the end of a vigorous upper body session? Start by performing 10 reps of dumbbell lateral raises with two 30-pound dumbbells, then perform 10 reps of dumbbell front raises with two 25-pound dumbbells, then again 10 reps of dumbbell lateral raises but with 20-pound dumbbells followed by 10 reps of dumbbell front raises with 15-pound dumbbells and so on. Continue to gradually lower the weight by 5 pounds on each set until you reach 0.
4. Machine fly and push-ups giant set
For this finisher exercise you’ll need to set the machine fly, incline hammer strength machine, incline smith machine and cable crossover machine to a moderate weight, then perform one set of 12 reps at each machine, performing pushups to failure between each set. Complete three rounds without any rest in between. Sounds great, right? Here’s how one round should look like:
- Machine fly: 12 reps
- Push-ups to failure
- Hammer strength machine incline press: 12 reps
- Push-ups to failure
- Smith machine incline press: 12 reps
- Push-ups to failure
- Low to high cable fly: 12 reps
- Push-ups to failure
5. Tri-set finisher for the back
Building a massive back isn’t all fun and games. First you need to hit all of your back muscles as hard as you can, then completely destroy them with a set of brutal back finisher exercises. Perform 4 rounds of this muscle-exhausting tri-set with 2 minutes of rest between rounds.
- rear dumbbell raises until failure
- Eccentric pull-ups (explosive pull-ups followed by slow lowering down): 6 reps
- Reverse grip lat pull-down: 10 reps
6. 21’s for biceps
21’s are one of the greatest biceps finisher exercises and it includes one set of partial dumbbell curls, one set of partial peak curls and one set of standard barbell curls, without any rest in between.
Partial curls are performed by curling your arms upward, then stopping when your forearms become parallel to the floor and lowering back down, while partial peak curls are performed by curling the weight up to your shoulders, then lowering it down halfway (when the forearms are parallel to the floor) and curling up to full contraction again.
- Partial standing/seated dumbbell curls with forearms to parallel – 7 reps
- Partial standing/seated dumbbell peak curls – 7 reps
- Standard standing/seated dumbbell curls – 7 reps
7. Triceps tri-set
Yearning for some explosive triceps growth? Perform one round of this hellish tri-set at the end of your triceps workout:
- Bodyweight dips: Reps until failure, 15 seconds rest
- Diamond push-ups: Reps until failure, 15 seconds rest
- Triceps bench dips: Reps until failure
8. Push-up tri-set
Push-up tri-set finishers are a fairly advanced, high intensity workouts that are guaranteed to push the muscles targeted way beyond their limits!
For best results, aim to complete 100 reps.
- Decline wide-grip push-up: Reps until failure, 15 seconds rest
- Incline push-up: Reps until failure, 15 seconds rest
- Diamond push-up: Reps until failure, 15 seconds rest
9. 8-round superset for abs
If you’re like most people, we can assume that you’re working hard to shed those last extra pounds of fat around the waist but your regular workout seems to lack the required fat-burning intensity. In that case, give your abs a real treat with this 8-round finisher. Allow yourself only 10 seconds of rest between exercises and 2 minutes between rounds.
- Hanging knee raise: 20 reps
- Hanging leg raise: 20 reps
10. 8-round plank superset
This plank superset is designed to help you build a core of steel in no time and spark up your metabolism even further. Perform eight rounds of forearm planks and running man sit-ups, with 10 seconds of rest between exercises and as long as you need between rounds.
For the running man sit-ups, lie down on your back with extended legs and bring your left arm to your right knee, bending the knee as you raise the torso, then return to the original position and switch sides.
- Forearm plank: 1 minute
- Running man sit-ups: 1 minute
11. Farmer’s walk for forearms
Farmer’s walks are one of the best workout finishers, period. They’re really simple but incredibly tough, and they can both improve your grip and kill your deltoids like no other exercise.
For best results, perform a typical farmer’s walk (pick up a pair of heavy dumbbells/deadlift a barbell and carry them/it as far as you can) for 10 minutes with short breaks and try to cover as much distance as possible.
12. Hip tri-set
Adding this finisher to your routine will help you strengthen your glutes and hip flexors and improve your overall conditioning and endurance. Aim for five rounds with 90 seconds of rest in between.
- Cable pull through: 15 reps
- Romanian deadlift: 10 reps
- Standing board jump: 6 reps
13. 15-minute AMRAP
The training technique called AMRAP (as many reps as possible) is virtually the best thing you can do to accelerate fat loss. At the end of a workout, your body is primed and ready to burn calories, so making use of this potential will cause your metabolism to go through the roof and you’ll be burning fat like never before. Complete as many reps as possible in 15 minutes of the following exercises (in this order):
- Kettlebell swing: 20 reps
- Jump rope: 60 revolutions
- TRX row: 20 reps
- Burpees: 20 reps
- V-ups: 20 reps
These last bits of hard effort at the end of your already brutal gym session will help you train multiple muscle groups back-to-back with these finisher exercises, push your physique to the next level and ultimately separate you from the average gym-goer, and you know it. The question that remains is are you willing to take up the challenge?
The road to greatness is a long one, so don’t think twice and start building muscle like there’s no tomorrow!