Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Thomas Finisher

One of my favorite finishers was created by a client of mine. I'd had him do Prowler sprints, and double rope slams. He suggested alternating them. So we did; it floored him but he loved it. Now it's his most common finisher. So I've named it after him.

The Thomas Finisher, aka Prowler / Rope Slam

What You Need - a Prowler of some sort, or any other high/low handled pushing sled. Room to run with it, at least 15 yards but preferably 25-30.

You also need a heavy rope suitable for slams, with two lengths extending towards you so you can grab one in each hand.

How to do it

Do between 2-8 rounds of this:

A) Prowler Sprint - run the prowler down and back. Up on your toes for the low handles, heels down and upright for the high handles (even if it slows you down a little) x 1

B) Rope Slams - double rope slams x 30

Rest 60 second between rounds.

How much weight on the sled? - This depends on your fitness level and the terrain. Good traction for you and not so good for the Prowler means you'll need more weight, vice-versa means less weight is necessary. Generally you want a moderate load - enough to be challenging but not enough to slow you down below nearly top speed. The goal is fast, to get your heart rate up and get you breathing hard.

Double rope slams? - grab both ends of the rope, and with a full-body up and down hip hinging motion, bring the ropes up fast and slam them down hard together. Bonus points for getting triple extension by coming up on the balls of your feet at the top of the rope slam. Each slam down counts as one. Your goal should be to keep slamming as fast as you can, but not at the cost of height or power. All 30 reps should be done hard.

Why do it? - this makes a good, full-body, low-technique cardio finisher for a workout. It's going to be a series of short, hard intervals, and it's useful in any case where you'd use weighted but fast intervals in your training.

You can even do it on its own, as a very compressed conditioning workout. Err on the side of higher numbers of rounds in this case - 8 is a good starting point. Progress either by using more weight on the Prowler (if your goal is to err on the side of strength-endurance) or less rest (if your goal is to err on the side of cardiovascular performance).

Any warning? - Yes. Be wary of lumber spine flexion if you do this, as some people can get carried away with the up-and-back motion of the ropes. Don't extend the ropes out to the sides during the slam, or lift your arms too high while your elbows extend out (turning it into a hybrid rope slam/power upright row.) As always, start light and slow and work up!


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