Finish Strong: Maximize Each Muscle Group

Have you ever felt like you’ve gotten in a good workout, but aren’t walking out of the gym satisfied? Try these exercises to push your muscles to their limits as you cap off each gym session.

“It doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish.”


When you hit the gym, you want to make sure your time is well spent. Despite being a veteran in the weight room, though, you still have days that you walk out feeling less than thrilled about your workout.

Maybe it’s that your regimen has gone stagnant, or possibly that you didn’t push hard enough for a good pump. Either way, when you spend an hour or more pushing and pulling weights around, you want to walk out feeling like you’ve worked your muscles hard.

A great way to ensure some hurts-so-good soreness as you complete your workout is to incorporate muscle burning finishers into the end of your lifting session. No matter which body part you were working, there’s bound to be a movement you can do to light your muscles on fire as you reach the finish line.

Let’s take a look at each muscle group and see what finishers will give you the pump you’re looking for.

You can hit your chest in multiple ways, but the following finisher circuit will have your chest feeling harder than ever:

Incline Dumbbell Press – lightweight • 30 reps
Flat Bench Chest Flys – lightweight • 30 reps
Push-ups–until failure

The press and fly combination will squeeze the chest in multiple ways, and then, just when you thought you finished strong, doing push-ups until failure will challenge your muscles to go further than they ever have.

For your shoulders, we’re going to combine drop set presses with front raises. The combination of the two exercises—did we mention that there’s no rest?— will ignite your shoulders in a beautiful way:

Overhead Press–heavyweight • 8-10 reps
Front Raises-lightweight • 15 reps
Overhead Press-medium weight • 12-15 reps
Front Raises-lightweight • 15 reps
Overhead Press-lightweight • 20 reps
Front Raises-lightweight • 15 reps

No resting, no pausing, no nothing. Move from one lift right into the next, only dropping the weight when you’ve finished the complete round. This little finisher circuit will have your shoulders screaming at you.

When it comes to finishers, you want to recruit as much muscle as possible for whatever body part you worked that day. When it comes to your legs, the best way to target the majority of your lower body would be by hitting a variation of different squats to close things out:

Back Squat – lightweight (135-185 lbs) • 30 reps
Sumo Squat – lightweight • 30 reps
Front Squat – lightweight • 30 reps

You’ll notice the emphasis on keeping the weight light and the reps up. You most likely challenged your legs to lift as much weight as possible during your workout, so by finishing them off with lower weights and higher reps, your legs will burn up from the variation.

After you’ve spent an hour or so working on the gun show, it’s important to really zero in on exercises that will provide an amazing pump for your biceps. The following finisher will give targeted focus to your bi’s and get the veins popping:

• Preacher Curls–start with a lightweight and do 10 reps. After each set of 10 reps, up the weight by 2.5 or 5 pounds, and complete 10 more reps.
Keep progressing until your arms can’t handle doing 10 reps anymore (Ideally, you should get to your 4th or 5th set of weights before this happens)

Once you max out on weight, go back to the weight you started with and curl until you can’t curl anymore.

When you return to the lightweight you started with, you’re going to be surprised at how hard it is to lift it up. Just know that your body is capable even though your mind is telling you that you’re finished. Keep pushing until you physically can’t curl the weight anymore.

There’s nothing quite like creating that defined cut in your tricep. Although there are a ton of compound movements that show the tricep some love, finishing strong with an isolation exercise will kick your triceps growth into high gear:

Tricep Pulldown Dropset into Dips-Start with heavy weight on your pulldowns and work until failure. Once you’ve hit the point that you can’t get any more reps in, drop the weight down to something lighter and again push yourself to failure. Repeat this process two more times to wrap up your pulldown finisher.

To add a little extra burn, find the closest spot to do some tricep dips and do as many as you can. It will push your arms to their limits and give you an amazing pump.

It will be hard to open the door as you leave. That’s how hard this tricep finisher is going to hit the back of your arms. Give it all you’ve got.

In order to make your back strong and wide, you need to know how to finish it off at the end of a workout. For this finisher, we’re going to go back to basics, but if you do it right, your back will be just the right kind of tight:

Bent Over Rows with a Barbell-30 reps, lightweight, slow and steady pace

At this point in your workout, you’ve likely given your back quite the workout. The finishers purpose here is to zero in on specific parts of your back by using perfect form. You’ve worked hard and you’re tired, using heavyweight here is just going to get you hurt. Put something light on the bar and keep your reps slow, steady, and purposeful.

Finishing your workout with these exercises can be just as important to your muscle growth as the compound movements you performed during your workouts. By using specific and focused movement with lighter weight, you can target those muscles in a way that will guarantee some well-earned growth. Let us know which finisher gave you the best results in the comments below, we look forward to hearing from you!

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.