3 Of The Best Workout “Finishers” For Fat Loss

A “finisher” is simply a strength based cardio routine that you do at the end of your regular workout. Generally it’s going be H.I.I.T. oriented and makes a nice alternative to steady state boring cardio as well as burns more calories, does more for your overall body composition, and help build some stength in the process.

These aren’t meant to be done in replacement of a workout or your usual cardio session they are a nice little “extra” to help encourage fat loss and overall body composition changes that are positive. They won’t do any miracles but I’ve found they do help give you that extra edge that is often needed when getting down to lower body fat levels.

They’re also great for staying conditioned. As great as weight lifting is and as highly as I recommend strength training to everyone, by itself it’s not enough. You also need to include conditioning work to make sure you’re staying in decent cardiovascular shape as well. What use is it if you can tear a man in half but can’t run half a mile to catch him?

You can also do these on off days if you want to stay sharp. I encourage my clients and those I know to train as many days as possible. Overall most people (given a halfway decent diet and not staying up all night) are undertraining and would benefit from the added work. Fit these into your routine in whatever ways works for you.

Alright now let’s talk about the 3 best workout finishers for fat loss…

Finisher #1 – The Barbell Complex

This is one of my favorite exercise types and something that I picked up after reading a Dan John article over at T-nation. Barbell complexes were a training method pioneered by a man named Ivan Javorek and their purpose was to reduce training time while still getting a high intensity fat burning/muscle building workout. And they work great.

A barbell complex is a series of moves done back to back without any rest. So for example we’ll use a complex called “The Bear”. The Bear consists of a power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, and another push press all done back to back without putting the bar down. The entire complex is considered one rep. Generally this is done for 5 reps per set.

You can also do it where you do multiple reps of each exercise instead of a single rep for each exercise. I follow Dan John’s guidelines and have seen the best success with that. What you do is you choose six exercises that flow together. Meaning that you go from say a barbell row to a powerclean to an overhead press instead of say a barbell row to a back squat to a romanian deadlift because the bar would have to go back and forth over your head.

Essentially the bar should pass over your head twice during the entire complex. Once on the way back and once on the way forward. So you choose your six exercises that flow and then do 8 reps for each exercise for a total of 3 sets.

Here’s an example of Dan John’s Complex A:

Row – clean – front squat – overhead press – back squat – good morning each done for 8 reps. You can make up your own if you’d like but I’d suggest sticking with this for now. And also use a lighter weight than you think, these things are harder than they look.

Finisher #2 – The Tabata Protocol

“4 minutes…how hard could it be” I thought. You can do anything for four minutes right? My introduction to the Tabata protocol was a humbling experience to say the least. Tabata is a protocol that consists of doing 20 seconds of an exercise resting 10 and repeating that for 8 rounds which comes to 4 minutes total with only 2.6 minutes of that being actual work.

Don’t let the short time period and seemingly simple set up fool you, done properly Tabata is one of the most exhausting and tiring finisher there is. What you do is pick an exercise that involves a bit of body movement. Say front squats over barbell curls.

Personally I prefer to use a kettlebell as it fits really well with this protocol but many barbell and even some dumb bell exercises can work well too. I either do kettlebell swings, goblet squats, or kettlebell deadlifts. First time doing Tabata I chose a 35 lb kettlebell for swings and thought I was going to pass out at the end.

Alright I use the timer on my iphone for this but if you have someone who can callout the time it allows you to focus even more on getting the work done. Every round you want to shoot for getting 8 reps of whatever exercise it is that you are doing.

The first 20 seconds of every round you’re doing the exercise then resting for 10 seconds. And this is done for a total of eight rounds. I set my timer for 4 minutes and place it somewhere eye level so I can stay on time.

Don’t be decieved by the short time period, it’s much harder than you’d expect.

Finisher #3 – Sprints

Not much better than good old fashioned sprints. If you have a hill even better, but if you’re like me and live in a state that’s hill free then you can also get a sled, load it up with weights, and get running.

I’ve always done sprints by feel rather than according to a certain protocol. Meaning that I’ve always just ran until I was tired and then called it a night. Sometimes that was after eight sprints sometims that was after eighteen.

I train at home and have a wide open field in my backyard that I sprint in. I realize that not everyone may have access to a long empty field to sprint in so I’d recommend either piling the weight on a sled on finding a steep incline to run on to get the same effects.

Do them until you’re tired. Start on without a crazy incline or added weight and work up from there. Simple but effective.


Always remember you can’t outwork your fork. Meaning that without having your diet in order what you do in the gym isn’t going to be enough for you to lose weight. Combine the above workout finishers with a good diet and you’ll see the fat start to come off, slowly but surely as it’s meant to be.

Pick your favorite, pop it in at the end of your workout a couple times a week, and see what it does for you. You may find some work great but others just aren’t doable. A large part of fitness is experimenting and finding out what works for you.



Author: Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge writes about masculinity, fitness, mindset, women, and other topics relating to men at CharlesSledge.com. He runs multiple businesses and is dedicated to helping men get the most out of life.

43 thoughts on “3 Of The Best Workout “Finishers” For Fat Loss”

  1. The thing that gets me about these articles is there is no magic pill. It takes old fashioned grit. It takes a willingness to drag yourself out of bed at 430 in the morning when the baby has been wailing all night. It takes prioritizing pain over comfort when it is so much easier to pork your wife then to face the morning. Keeping the ambition up is my struggle

      1. I do pretty good at doing it 4x per week, until someone gets sick or we move then it will take me a week to get back into the grOove

    1. Why not screw the lady in your life AND THEN face the world? Seems like a better situation than either/or.

            1. Let’s act like I’ve seen a few things in life. Sex wears down a lot of guys, but it does in fact energize a small segment of us. I’m one of those guys who gets up up up and away we go after sex (except at 3am or whatever, you know what I mean). Five minutes after we’re done I’m blinking looking around saying “What trouble can we get into now?!” And for those who can’t, pre-workout energy drinks can change your world.

              1. Depends on the time of day. Any nookie between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm energizes me. Otherwise, the ole circadians start whispering “poppies, poppies, poppies” in my ear afterwards.

        1. more n more ladies are doing that hip thrust movement to develop the booty…very distracting…now if they would only start jumping rope more…

    2. no need to overdo it- i go every other day, about 14 times a month- I do Mentzer’s routine(slow reps, 6 seconds each for 6-8 reps, 6 sets per body part) and I wish I had a place to do sprints- that is really all you need. Less is more, esp when you are over 30

      1. I know what you mean, I am glad I have a park and a forest in my area which makes sprinting actually enjoyable. There also is a pull up bar and an old railway where you can do pushups on.

          1. I like short sprints up hills. There’s a park near me with a short hill about 100 foot long but darn near at a 45 degrees angle. Makes for short but intense sprints. Amazingly easy on the joints though since the incline is so steep.

  2. “First time doing Tabata I chose a 35 lb kettlebell for swings and thought I was going to pass out at the end.”

    Cosigned. Whatever size weight you normally use, in tabata, cut it in half. I typically use 60/70 lb kettlebells on leg day. For HIIT and tabata work, I go with 30, and even that’s a little too much.

    I like to add challenge to sprints by doing them on the beach. 4 x 200 or 6 x 200, depending on my energy. Couple times this summer, I thought my glutes were going to fall off my body the next day. Holy hell is that a good workout.

  3. OT: roosh has gone completely loopy in the head . Roosh: “At home I make my own bread with a bread machine. I figure I’d make it more “healthy” by adding some seeds. After several months of adding the seeds, I found out it was flax, one of the most estrogenic foods in existence. I stopped adding the flax and my boner grew by about an inch after that
    ” —– a tablespoon of flax seeds can equate to 40% of your daily fiber intake. If you are constipated eat a small amount of flax seeds everyday . They are also a good source of protein . I doubt penis size is affected .

    1. Health food is a funny topic to me. With most everything outside of skittles, there is good and bad. Different people respond differently to different foods. Stay away from the sugars and processed garbage and try to eat a balanced diet with a wide variety and you should do fine

      1. Word, I just brewed up a mess of chicken, rice and beef with some salmon to come later.
        Stocked the fridge with fruits and veggies too and I bring nuts to work for snacks.
        Feels good to not have to rely on cafeteria food.

          1. I would need a bigger fridge to do that. Case in point:

            Last night, I made rice casserole for the family. I used 12 cups cooked rice, 2 pounds hamburger, 3 pounds vegetables and 18 eggs. I took the last bit of it for my lunch this morning.

            Previous night, we have 8 hamburgers, 5 good hot dogs, 5 pounds of roasted potato wedges and 3 pounds of roasted vegetables, and 1 birthday cake with ice cream. All gone.

            My kids all eat like they have a hole in their neck. My 10 YO daughter is built like a gymnast and eats more than me, my 12 YO son eats 1.4x as me. I fear when most are teenagers.

      1. I had constipation a few years ago. a table spoon of flaxseeds and chia seeds twice per week completely cured all of my digestive problems within 2 weeks. Over the counter meds are dangerous, prescription meds such as stomach acid reducers and ulcer meds just masked the symptoms.

            1. Its a key factor because we are not well adapted to digesting grains. If you don’t think that its grains I would consider other things that you might be intolerant of (like dairy), or the consumption of alcohol, etc.

              1. I’ll be more diligent in documenting what I eat. The stomach pains come and go infrequently but the seeds make me shit more, thus making me feel better.

  4. Tabata sounds like a good idea for me right now. A good way to get a compact workout in without need of much equipment.

      1. Thanks man. They banned you just to let guys know about another blog? That’s quite petty.

        Yes I’m also doing jump rope. I love it.

        1. Nobody really knows the reasoning behind all these bannings, only speculation, but most the regulars are banned for equally petty reasons. It is like Roosh wants to change the culture of the comments on his site.

Comments are closed.