How to create Barbell Complexes for Conditioning

How to create Barbell Complexes for Conditioning

Barbell Complex from Russell Jolley on Vimeo.

Here’s Kaman and Toyah from Men’s & Girls No Excuses hitting a great little Barbell Complex from last week’s Gains Roulette Day.

This was 1 round from a total of about 10 different rounds and complexes in that session.

Complexes are a great way for ADVANCED members to improve their fitness and challenge themselves in new ways.

When using them you need to make sure you’re setting the members up for success….not failure. Because we want them to work hard, fast and effective with good technique….not melt like a soggy noodle from last night’s take away.

To achieve this we want to do the following 5 things when building an EPIC Complex:

  1. Choose 4-6 exercises that can be done with the same weight on the bar. Changing implement slows the process down and isn’t really a complex….it’s just a mini circuit.
  2. Carefully Consider Exercise Order. Putting the most technical or weakest lift last is just asking for trouble. You want to start the complex with these so they can be executed really well and the member actually feels like they’ve mastered it after practising it in isolation in other sessions. You might start the complex with an Olympic lift and finish it with a Back Squat or RDL, as you’ll be way stronger on the Squat than Oly Lift. This allows you to keep the work rate and technique high even at the end of the complex.
  3. Make them between 1 and 3 minutes long with equal work to rest ratio. This depends on the change you’re trying to create in your body. But doing 3 rounds of this kind of timing will be TOUGH and do all sorts of good things for you.
  4. Use 5-15 Reps per exercise. This keeps the complex moving and stops it bogging down. I also use it as a way to handicap some stronger exercises….I might do a complex like 5 Hang Clean, 8 Push Press, 11 Front Squat, 14 Back Squat to account for the relative strength of each exercise. The Back Squat is strongest, so it’s at the end…but that alone won’t make it hard enough, so I build the reps too. Which sweetens the deal considerably!
  5. Time Them. Adding the clock and making complexes competitive drastically changes the work rate and progress made. I’ve secretly timed people doing them and then publicly timed them and they take at least 30 seconds off….you can also pair a guy up with a girl and see how much faster he get’s it done when on Camera 🙂

When done right complexes can be a golden ticket to the fitness and fat loss party. Follow this guide and you’ll be balls deep in the VIP booth in no time.