Five minutes. It’s just 300 seconds — the equivalent of a short coffee break or a quick text conversation with friends. But don’t let a measly five minutes fool you. When you’re pushing your body to its limits, five minutes can seem like an eternity. That’s the paradox (and the draw) of the five-minute workout finisher. When you’re in the agonizing throes of all-out effort you may want to quit, but rationally, you know it’ll all be over soon. And surely you can do anything for just five minutes, right?
Why You Should Add a Finisher:
All strength and endurance gains are developed through a process of progressive overload. This means that if you want to continue seeing results, you must continually adapt and change your workout program in a way that places new and increased stress on your muscles, bones, and joints. You can do this any number of ways — by increasing or changing your set and rep schemes, lifting more weight, changing your periods of rest between sets, or adjusting your exercises. That said, if you’re happy with your workout, it may be simplest to tack on a short period of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or high intensity circuit training (HICT) to your routine.
You see, a well-planned HIIT or HICT workout finisher requires you to push yourself as hard as you can for a predetermined period of time. During a HIIT routine, you rest between all-out work intervals, and during a HICT routine, you change exercises without periods of rest. Both carry similar benefits — increasing cardiovascular and muscular endurance, improving body composition, and in some cases, enhancing overall athletic ability. But best of all, they’re short, sweet, and to the point. If you’re ready to kick your body into high gear, try adding this HICT routine to your next workout.
Perform each exercise as fast as you can with perfect form for 30 seconds before immediately transitioning to the next exercise. Cycle through all five movements twice for a total of five minutes.
1 of 5
Sure, jumping jacks sound easy, but you should consider this the calm before the storm. Also, if you’re doing them as fast as you can, you may just be surprised how much effort 30 seconds requires.
2 of 5
Think of lizard hops as a coordinated plyometric pushup crossed with a gnarly mountain climber. It’s pretty much guaranteed to torch your entire body while sending your heart rate soaring.
Start in a high push-up position, your core tight, your palms under your shoulders but slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Step your right hand forward a few inches before lowering yourself into a push-up. As you do, hop your right foot forward, reaching your right knee toward your right elbow.
At the bottom of the push-up, press forcefully through your palms, hopping both hands in the air, switching their positions to bring your right hand back and your left hand forward as you simultaneously extend your right leg and bend your left leg. As your palms land, you immediately lower yourself into another pushup, this time with your left leg bent and your left knee reaching toward your left elbow. Continue alternating sides.