T Nation

The Finisher Thread

I’d love to build a database of sorts for people to post some “fluffy”(ish) finishers they love. Only the gnarliest of pumps allowed.

Here are some of my favourites:

Front and Lateral Delts

  1. Two-Stage Raises: 8-12
  2. Lateral Raises: 8-12
  3. Front Raises: 8-12
  4. Gunslinger Raise: 8-12


  1. DB Spider Curl: 10-15
  2. DB Hammer Curls: 10-15


  1. DB Neutral-Grip Skullcrusher: 10-15
  2. DB Neutral-Grip JM Press: 10-15
  3. DB Neutral-Grip Floor Press: AMRAP

Finishers can be super fun, I especially like them for cardio/fat burning or just for getting a nice juicy pump at the end of a workout.

Yesterday, for conditioning I did a continuous series of max reps push-ups>>>15 bw squats>>>Assisted chins max reps>>>light db ohps max reps>>>15 bw squats>>>inverted rows max reps & then some bicep, tricep and rear delt high rep stuff straight after to finish.

For bodybuilding, chins followed by lightish rows followed by lat pull downs followed by a bicep movement is pretty fun for a few rounds. For abs leg raises for max reps followed by knee tucks is pretty good. For triceps, extensions followed by push downs is pretty good and for forearms and biceps reverse curls followed by curls is pretty good.

Another thing that I’ve found can work quite well is one side at a time training, since this enables a lot of training density and a certain amount of cardiovascular benefit, ie: lat pull downs with right arm followed by rows with left, then lat pull downs with left arm and then right arm rows to finish.

My favourite of all though is though is what I like to call ‘angle grinders’ were you perform a series of pushing or pulling exercises, starting with the hardest angle (example: OHP) and work your way down to the easiest angle (such as flat or decline bench).


This reminds me of one I’ve done a couple times that was great. I went from straight-arm pulldowns (somewhat of a pre-exhaust) to bent-over dumbbell rows to chest-supported dumbbell rows. I noticed that by increasing the torso incline for the chest-supported rows, I could bust out a bunch of reps and torch my lats.

I’ve recently noticed that cable crunches performed with a heavy band give a ridiculously awesome ab contraction. I’ve given some clients a band crunch “drop set” by going from ultra heavy to heavy to medium bands.

I’ve never tried this myself as a finisher but it sounds interesting. It’s interesting you mention the CV benefit, because I think Cal Dietz (very well-regarded collegiate and pro-hockey strength coach) uses what he calls “contralateral circuits” (things like R leg lunge + L arm shoulder press) for his conditioning work

First mentioned at 9:28

I love these too, but I’ve never tried them for pulling exercises. For pulls, do you go from vertical to horizontal or horizontal to vertical?

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I usually go vertical to horizontal.

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  1. Hammer Strength Preacher Curl for 8-ish reps
  2. Turn around and sit with your back against the pad and do dumbbell hammer curls for another 8 or so
  3. Stand up with those dumbbells and do curls with your palms supinated until you vomit (probably about 6)
    3 rounds of that!


  1. Rope push-down for maybe 10-12
  2. Turn around and do extensions (so it looks like you’re doing skullcrushers but you’re standing, bent, with your butt against the cable post)
  3. Drop down for close-grip push-ups
    3 rounds there too

You can get all your arm work done for the week in 15 minutes


You forgot this one @TrainForPain


Oh yeah I’ve done this before. So good

Do you reckon I could get a similar feeling to the hammer strength preacher machine with a cable preacher curl? I


  1. AMRAP Dips: 1+1/2 reps reps (go down, go half-way up, down again, then all the way up)
  2. AMRAP Push-ups. If you did the dips good and proper this’ll be humbling. And embarrassing.
  3. Once you fail the push-up fight until your chest drops to the floor.

That’s money, definitely stealing that. I did a similar one that was

1: top half dips x fail
2: bottom half dips x fail
3: bottom position hold x death

I reckon once you shoulders are warmed up, this is solid

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Yeah, I do it at the end of a bench/press session sometimes when pressed for time.

I’m sure you could. They’re probably all the same. I just like the convenience of the back pad with being able to turn around. Some of the other machines are harder to fit into the “wrong” way

That’s a good one too! I kind of forgot about it…
Lots of ways to quickly take care of these smaller muscles

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Upper Back (from The Hypertrophy Coach)

15 chest supported DB rows
15 chest supported DB shrugs
15 standing, bent over DB rows
15 standing DB shrugs
15 DB Romanian deadlifts

Upper Back From Louie

Sled Drag, going backwards,
Facepull action, hands above shoulders x a bunch
Then mid back row, hands about shoulder level x a bunch
Then low rows, with elbows lower and tighter to sides x a bunch

Chest (From Julius)
-Put bar at bottom of smith machine, do a bunch of pushups holding the bar like a barbell
-Raise bar up a notch, do a bunch more

Find the boards that powerlifters use for board presses. Stack some under you and do pushups. Start high with 4 boards to isolate short head of triceps, right behind elbow.

Go down to 3 boards, lengthening the ROM and allowing you to use a little more of your tricep, so it’s “easier.”

Remove a board and repeat

Band Tricep Pushdowns

Do neutral grip “tomahawk Pushdowns” for short head x 25
Go to “regular Pushdowns” turning knuckles down and in to hit lateral head x 25
Turn aound, take a step forward and do overhead extensions for long head x 25


DeFranco Shoulder Shocker

20 DB lateral raise
20 DB or Plate front raise
20 DB Cuban Press


On the rare occasions I have a training partner, finishing leg day with the leg press dropset is my favorite/least favorite thing ever.

Lie down, your partner loads a plate on each side, 10 reps, add a plate, rest 30 seconds, repeat until you fail to get 10 reps, rest 60 seconds, and do max reps all the way down, only stopping to have your partner remove a plate each time you fail.

As soon as you’re done, you have to stand up and try to walk. I tend to do them pretty close stance with a good amount of knee flexion.

Also, on preacher curls - especially if you have a preacher machine - max reps with your partner pulling down on the negatives for added resistance and letting go for the positives. Once you fail, they help you with the positives and let go for the negatives. Finish with 10 completely assisted reps.

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I did a belt squat stripset the other day that was just divine. Can be done by anyone with a landmine set up and a dip belt.

You can, of course, apply the exact same principle to t-bar rows and pretty much any other landmine exercise, but belt squats are awesome.

If I wanted to be really silly: I’m standing on 5 patio pavers per side in the video, so I could remove some at the end of the set and make the ROM shorter so that I have even MORE room for more reps.


Pick some exercise that can be done unilaterally (ie DB rows, RDLs)
do 10/side+9/side…1/side with as little rest as possible between sets

  • For extra punishment, add reps of KB swings between sets
    ie 10 rows/side+20swings+9rows/side+20 swings…
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Gonna do this one today, I love a good back pump

I always liked this one for back day

  1. Isometric plate row x30 seconds (on an incline bench, pull a plate as hard as you can for 30 seconds against the bench)
  2. Lying db rows x20
  3. Rear delt db fly x25
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The kind of finishers I used to like best were something like this:


A1. Cable or machine flyes 10-15
slowly walk to next station

A2. Clap pushups(don’t have to clap if you can’t but remain explosive enough so your hands leave the ground. When that’s not possible, you’re done)

A3. Slap a punching bag real hard like you’re doing flyes.
Rest 1-2 min

But I don’t do them anymore because I don’t like sweating too much. This was something the guys that taught me how to lift back in the 90s were doing so I don’t know who main source of influence was. Probably Charles Glass.

Legs were pretty fun:

A1, Front squats on smith machine
A2. Leg Press
A3. Jump squats till failure
A4. Quad stretch on your knees

I think these are great when you’re training with a group of equally crazy people. It’s just not fun when training alone or in a gym where you can’t make any noise.


Is that one of the Smitty’s back attacks?

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