Complexes are a highly effective training method involving a series of exercises performed consecutively in one set. The weight remains constant throughout the set, and there are no breaks until the full complex is completed. They can be executed with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, or any weighted equipment, making them versatile and suitable for various fitness goals, including building strength, muscle, or improving conditioning.
Designing an effective complex doesn’t have to be complicated. Generally, 2-5 sets are sufficient, and the rep range depends on your specific objective, ranging from low to high reps. Exercise selection is crucial, with emphasis on major compound movements. When designing a complex, it’s essential to consider exercises that may be limiting factors in weight selection. For instance, if a complex includes front squats, Romanian deadlifts, and push presses, the push press might be the limiting exercise, dictating the weight you choose for the entire complex.
Here are five sample complexes to try out:
- Total-Body Sandbag Complex: Bear Hug Good Morning, Shouldering, Squat with Bag on Shoulder, and Bear Hug Hold.
- Landmine Squat Complex: Squat, Split Squat, Lateral Squat, and Press from Squat Isometric.
- Simple Barbell Complex: RDL, Power Shrug, Front Squat, Hang Clean, and Push Press.
- Descending Dumbbell Complex: Squat Jump, Alternating Overhead Press, Front Squat, Walking Lunge, and Alternating Bent-Over Row.
- Kettlebell Total-Body Complex: RDL, Swing, One-Arm Bent-Over Row, One-Arm Rack Squat to Press, and One-Arm Rack Reverse Lunge.
For timing, you can do complexes either at the beginning or end of your workout. Starting with complexes while fresh and motivated is often preferred, but they can also be used as a challenging finisher. The versatility and effectiveness of complexes make them a valuable addition to your training routine.