There are two main reasons why you would subject yourself to the hardships of workout finishers. You could be finishing a workout and feel like you have a little more energy to give so you decide to finish off with a tough challenge. The most common reason though is that you already gave 100% effort in your workout and your trainer succumbs to their sadistic side and gives you a finisher instead of letting you off a couple minutes early.
Every finisher you do should be done in a safe way, especially once your start lifting heavier weights. If you just completed a massive leg day, choosing to do your finisher on the leg extension machine might be more appropriate than doing it with back squats. The goal if the finishers is to hit technical failure, and doing this with isolation exercises is usually better than compound movement. An isolation exercise only use one joint and is usually easy to execute like the leg extension mentioned above, bicep curls, or calf raises. Compound exercises target two or more joints and are require a higher degree of skill to perform such as the squat, deadlift, pull ups, bench press. Using machines for those exercises is the safest way to perform finishers for those movements.
The following are finishers that I commonly do myself and that I share with my clients, out of love. I know they could leave early, but deep down I feel like they would rather do one of the following.
Run the rack
What you need: A dumbbell rack or a machine
How you do it: Pick a dumbbell exercise (works best for curls, DB squats or shoulder press in my opinion) and pick a heavy weight. Do as many reps as you can with that weight, then put it down and pick the next smaller weight, rep out again. Repeat until you have used all the weights (you can usually stop with 8s or 10s).
If you are using a machine you can start with a heavy weight and then go down by one or two plates each time.
What you need: any type of weights
How you do it: Pick any exercise, load it with heavy-ish weights and max out your reps. Then take off some weights and max out your reps again. Repeat 2-3 times.
On the bench press for example, you could load the bar with 4 plates of 10 pounds on each side. Try to do as many reps as possible and then take one plate off, max out again, repeat until you are repping out with just the bar.
100 rep burnout
What you need: a high pain tolerance
This works best with exercises that are easy for you to perform. Machines are great here. Complete 100 reps in the shortest time possible. You do not have to do 100 in a row, just do 100 with as little break as possible.
Green Sally Up
What you need: Moby's song "flowers"
This works best with squats and push ups. Play the song. When you hear the lyric "green sally down", do a squat/push up. You can only finish the rep once you hear the lyric "green sally up".
What you need: ACDC's thunderstruck
Do jump squat the whole song. When you hear the word "thunder" do a burpee. When you hear the word "thunderstruck" do 2 mountain climbers per leg.
What you need: 2 exercises targeting different muscle groups like pull ups and push ups.
Do 10 pull up and then 10 push ups. Then do 9 of each, 8 of each all the way down to 1 of each.
What you need: your gym partner
Same concept as above but you can do this with only 1 exercise. Partner A does 10 reps, then B does 10 reps, then A does 9 reps... all the way down to 1 rep each.
What you need: Works best on the assault bike, rower, ski erg, or spin bike.
Go all out for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for 8 rounds, it'll take you 4 minutes exactly. You will feel exhausted by round 3, just power through the last five rounds <3
Which ones of these have you tried? Which other finishers do you do?