Barbell Complexes

Complexes are awesome.  They are a great tool to have in your fat loss arsenal.  If you are looking for a new spin on aerobic training, interval training or a workout you can do that requires a high degree of skill, learn how to do complexes.  They are for the advanced trainee and require a good base in olympic lifting.  

In the past few years, Istvan “Steve” Javorek’s work with complexes has been stolen and repackaged many times.  Here is something he notes on his website:

“From what I’ve heard, from the far end of Siberia to Iceland to California, thousands of coaches are performing with their athletes Javorek’s complex exercises, but some of them give credit to themselves. I really worked hard on developing these exercises and I like to share with everyone my ‘little secrets’ 

“My original goal with the complex exercises was to find an efficient and aggressive method of performance enhancement that saves time and makes the program more enjoyable. If you choose to use these (in some form) with your athletes, be honest and call your new complex exercises ‘Variation to Javorek’s Complex Exercises.'”

Javorek’s complexes are brilliant and have all the keys to success for someone contemplating them.

Javorek’s Barbell Complex #1

Barbell upright row x 6
Barbell high pull snatch x 6
Barbell behind the head squat and push press x 6
Barbell behind the head good morning x 6
Barbell bent-over row x 6

Now this is a pretty damn hard complex so how bout some easier ones from Dan John before you get to this.  These can all be done with rep schemes of 1 – 6 for sets of 3-6 but a good rep scheme that limits reinforcing bad technique a’la poorly programmed cross fit programs is  6-5-4-3-2-1

Complex A

Row
Clean
Front squat
Military press
Back squat
Good mornings

Complex B

Deadlift
Clean-grip high pull
Clean-grip snatch
Back squat
Good mornings
Row

Complex C

Hang snatch
Overhead squat
Back squat
Good mornings
Row
Deadlift

Complex D

Upright row
Clean-grip snatch
Back squat
Behind the neck press
Good mornings
Row

Complex E

Power clean
Military press
Back squat
Good mornings
Behind the neck press
Front squat

Complex F

Overhead squat
Back squat
Good morning
Front squat
Rows
Deadlift

What Weight?

Although complexes may not be the most “enjoyable” thing to do, they surely are an effective way to kill two- or three birds with one stone! Another important thing to remember about complexes here:  “What is most important to remember is not to abuse these exercises, but to figure out the best period to utilize them as a special preparatory and conditioning.  It is also very important to find the optimal weight for each athlete to have the required benefit of these exercises.  Like for any other combined exercises the intensity must be taken from the most difficult exercise.  One other thing to remember is that it is essential to have perfect body posture, perfect technique of execution, full range of motion, when performing these exercises.  It is important not to change the order of the exercises or to do them with too fast a rhythm.

Start with the bar and work your way up.  Seriously!  These will mess you up.  

See you in the gym

Brad Stocks

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