Break Plateaus With Complexes

Personal Training Caglary

Note This Blog Is For Advanced Lifters.

If you have been strength training for multiple years and have done very well with linear program prescription (gradually increasing the intensity of your program over a long period of time). One of the most calorie expensive and time efficient techniques that I have learnt is called complexes.

What is a Complex?

A complex routine consists of several exercises strung together that use demanding lifts to challenge your anaerobic and cardio vascular systems and strengthens the entire body in a single circuit of exercises. The equipment used is very minimal as the same dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell is used throughout the whole movement. 

Why Are They So Difficult?

These sets of exercises are so difficult because the movements are extremely calorie expensive and and there is zero rest between exercises because the same weight is used throughout.

A complex is usually 4-6 exercises for 8-20 reps. The lack of rest time means that the average time of each set is approximately 2 min long. This increased time under tension can help break any existing plateaus.  Each complex is usually done for 2-4 sets.

Keep in Mind.

The weight you choose for the exercise will be the one of your weakest lift. Because the circuit is so demanding and transitions between exercises happen extremely quickly it is important to maintain form and never sacrifice it for increased weight. 

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Our Favourite Complexes 

To preform this complex chooses one weight that you will use for the full set and try to not let the barbell touch the floor. After each set take approximately 2 minutes rest.


A1) Romanian Deadlifts 4-6 sets, 8 reps

A2) Bent Over Rows 4-6 sets, 8 reps

A3) Back Squats 4-6 sets, 8 reps

A4) Push Press 4-6 sets, 8 reps


Barbell Complex

A1) High Pulls

A2) Hang Cleans

A3) Jerks

A4) Front Squats

A5) Kettle Bell Swings 


Kettle Bell Complex

A1) KB Snacth

A2) KB Front Squats

A3) KB Push Press

A4) KB Romanian Deadlifts

A5) KB Bent Over Row

A6) Kb Swings

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