5 Finishers You Need to Try

Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Edition


It's quiz time: What's the part of the workout that currently
provides you the least benefit, but could be giving you the most? If you answered, "The end of the session," you win.
Yay, you.

The last exercise or set of your workout has the potential to
make the biggest difference. However, it's also the part that most
people casually brush off like dandruff. Your workout probably
doesn't end with a bang, but with a whimper... and not the
good, satisfied kind of whimper, either.

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Do you maintain the intensity or do you fade


If we looked at a common training session, it might look
something like this:

Bench press 5x5
Close-grip bench press 4x10
Pin press 3x15
Miscellaneous extra triceps work, which includes pointing at
cardio bunnies, flexing at the water fountain, and leaning against
the Smith machine (with alternating arms, of

How can you make sure the intensity is cranked up, not
down, at the conclusion of your workout? How can we make sure it's
a grand finale, not just a sputtering anti-climax?

Man up and try some of the following challenges. They can coax
the last bit of strength out of anyone. They're quick, they're
wicked, and you can finally prove that you're tougher than your
buddies. Well, we can, maybe not you.

Plate Press Pyramid

Right next to the flat bench, stack one plate of each size, from
5 pounds to 45 pounds (you should have five plates lying there).
The lifter's going to be pressing them, the spotter's going to be
handing them off.

The lifter first presses the 45-pound plate from chest to full
lockout for 20 reps. He's immediately handed the 35-pounder,
which he does for another 20 reps. Repeat with the 25, the 10, the
5... and then go back up the pyramid, doing the 10, 25, 35,
and 45. It's 20 reps with each plate.

If you're spotting, try grabbing the plates from the hole in the
middle instead of the edge, so you can trade plates more quickly.
When you're lifting, press the lighter weights as fast as possible;
don't use them as a rest. If the whole thing gets easy, go up and
down the pyramid twice.


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Triceps Hell

You'll need to make a quick stop at the lumber store on the way
to the gym to grab three 2x4s. The lifter loads the bar with 25% of
his flat bench press one rep max (1RM), and the spotter
stands at his feet, ready with the boards in hand.

The lifter does a standard flat bench press for 7 reps, and then
the spotter immediately places one board on the lifter's
chest. Without breaking the rep count, the lifter does 7 reps to
the board.

The spotter places a second board on top of the first, and the
lifter continues for 7 more reps on the two-board press. Lastly,
the spotter places the third board on top, and the lifter does 7
final reps.

This works especially well with lifters who've done board
pressing before, since they're more familiar with the subtle shifts
in elbow posture that help make pressing easier as boards are

If you don't get all 28 reps (from no board going up to the
three-board), reduce the weight by 20% and try again. Keep going
until you finish a full set, or until you can't do the empty bar
for 28 reps. At that point, you have to walk to the water fountain
and back with your fly down. Hey, I don't make the rules here, but
it's international lifting law.


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If you have the time, you can build a specialized "triceps
hell combo board."


Navy SEAL Push-up Pyramid

Fine, I don't know any SEALs, but I bet they'd kick ass at

Start in a push-up position. Do 1 rep, pause at the top for two
seconds, do 2 reps, pause for two seconds, do 3 reps, pause for two
seconds. Try to get up to 10 reps, and then work your way back

If you can't make it to 10 reps, work up to 7 and then down, or
4 and then down. The winner is the guy who gets up to the highest
number and makes it back to 1 rep. Be strict!

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Stay on your toes and get dirt on your


Two-Stop Chop

Put 50% of your flat bench press 1RM on the bar, and lower it to
your chest. Start pressing it up, but have your spotter stop it
when it's about 2-inches above your chest – keep pushing
against his palm for 10 seconds (he counts, not you,

Then press it up a little more, to 6-inches off your chest (or
your usual sticking point), and have him stop it there again. Press
against his palms for another 10 seconds. At this point, you'll be
too busy swearing to count. Then lock it out completely and hold it
at lockout for as long as possible. Winner has the longest time at

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First stop | Second stop


The Accent-Spoiler

Grab a 45-pound plate and do a front delt raise for 20 reps,
bringing each rep up until you can see through the hole in the
middle of the plate.

Immediately after the 20 reps, tip the plate up so it's
horizontal to the floor. Press overhead for 20 reps, going from
chin to full extension. Be careful not to clip your chin with the
plate as you get fatigued, or you'll realize why it's called the

Hold that last rep at lockout overhead for time – no
moving your feet once you start. Our gym record is just over four


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Had Enough Yet?

There's no new science or black magic here. As the saying goes,
these are simple, but not easy. You'll do extra work, you'll make
progress, and it'll feel like a game while you're doing it. Of
course, afterwards, it'll feel like hell – but the "good"
hell filled with meatheads like us and plenty of women to massage
our DOMS-afflicted arms.