Complexes Made Complete

 

It’s impossible not to notice trends in the fitness world.

The majority of these—like the shake weight, for example—last for a year or so and then are either forgotten or shoved underneath the bed next to the dust balls and discarded dirty underwear.

But some trends are beneficial—they work so well that they become staples in the training programs of thousands of lifters.

Take weight-training circuits, which I’m very fond of for fat loss.  These are becoming so popular that now we’ve got a term for them—we call this metabolic resistance training.

Essentially, MRT is training with weights in a way that challenges you metabolically, mainly through the use of circuits.

This is so prevalent that now we’ve got subdivisions of MRT, which are becoming equally trendy. And one of these types of MRT is complexes, which are incredible for fat-loss.

I love complexes so much that I included them as part of the training protocol in my two latest programs, the Super Hero Workout and Fat Loss Forever. When programmed properly, they have the potential to strip off fat faster than nearly any other protocol. (When half-assed or shoddily constructed they…well, don’t.)

And today, I’m going to teach you how to build them.  That’s right: This article will teach you how to set up your own advanced complexes to burn the most fat without screwing up and hurting yourself.

NOTE: For those who own SHW or FLF, this article is perfect—it’ll allow you to modify the existing workouts, and write your own allowing you some variance in depth in the programming.  For those who don’t have either of those programs…once you design some complexes, you’ll probably buy them =)

Wait…

What’s a Complex?

Ah, yes, 0f course.  Some of you might now know what these are—so let’s cover the basics.

It’s pretty straightforward: cycle through a series of exercises without putting the bar down, transitioning smoothly from movement to movement, and performing all the assigned reps on one exercise before moving to the next.

Personally, I’ve always it’s a pretty basic concept, and that great complex design would be common sense…however, I was recently proven wrong.

I was in the gym and saw a student athlete muscle his way through what I can only assume was his version of a home-brew complex. (And by that, I mean he would do a bunch of reps on one exercise, and then a bunch on another, with no real thought to the order.)

Despite the great examples that can be found, I still see people absolutely ruining themselves in the gym.

Here’s the issue.

Efficacy vs. Expediency

When looking at complexes, and what makes one “good” or “bad,” it’s important to keep in mind the goal: to create fast-paced, interval-type weight training workouts designed for fat-loss. This is a good thing, and truth be told, these type of workouts make up a good part of my clients’ programming for fat-loss.

Overall, the idea is to do as much work as possible in the shortest period of time, focusing on training speed and density.

However, when people randomly throw exercises together to create a complex, they’re often not really paying attention to anything other than the idea of complexes. They’re too focused on doing more work in less time to lose fat and haven’t even considered if the exercises they picked were effective.

Let’s say you have a guy doing the following complex:

  • Deadlift
  • Power Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Overhead Press

He’s doing a lot of big movements, but is he really getting much out of some of them? Hopefully the deadlift is his strongest movement, but he can’t really use a weight that’s challenging since he’s limited by the overhead press, which is undoubtedly weaker.

In terms of “doing a lot of stuff” in not a lot of time, this guy is on point. He’s very expedient. But he’s missing out on a lot since the complex isn’t very deep in terms of efficacy. It’s simply effective as it could be.

But if this guy used a different set up, he could work with a weight that’s challenging for all parts of the complex and would get significantly better results.

Complexes 2.0

Here’s where a lot of coaches and I part ways. Many trainers who prescribe complexes are OK with the notion that your weakest exercise limits your strongest one. I consider it a limitation of basic complex design that can be completely eliminated with a bit of forethought and some ingenuity.

Going back to the example above, the weight is incredibly light for our guy to deadlift, but perfect for the overhead press.

Popular training literature suggests that we shouldn’t care about that, since the complex is not intended to challenge you in the same way that traditional weight training is. That is, an overly light deadlift is of no concern, because we are deadlifting just to lose fat.

I’m calling bullshit.

Instead, what if we did twice as many deadlifts as overhead presses or only used exercises where the weight was appropriate for the same number of reps on each?

What I’m about to show you aren’t regular complexes. They’re advanced. Or as I like to call them, Complexes 2.0—they are designed according to specific rules in my system, and that system makes them more effective.

But first, let’s look at some of the problems with current complexes.

  1. IMPROPER EXERCISE ORDER.  I can’t stress enough the importance of properly ordering exercises for maximizing the effectiveness of your complexes. Throwing presses, cleans, squats and deads together in any haphazard order is silly.
  2. TOO MUCH FOCUS ON UNIFORMITY OF REPS.  I have no idea where it came from, but there seems to be some unwritten rule that when you perform a complex, you need to do the same number of reps for each exercise. Sure, it’s one way to do it, but it’s only effective if that same weight is equally challenging on all of the selected exercises.To be clear, I use this method in the complexes in my mass-market programs—unless I actually know an individual and their strength levels, I can’t design a more advanced complex for them (you’ll see why below).  This is a good method, but it can be made better.
  3. IMPROPER EXERCISE SELECTION It’s always going to make for a more effective workout if the weight be equally challenging on all exercises. So if you’re not going with a variable rep method like I mentioned above, it’s better to select exercises that require an equal level of intensity to perform.

Roman’s Rules

for Designing Complexes

Rule 1: When Arranging Exercises, “High Skill” Exercises Come First.

Exercises should be performed in a descending order from the most demanding to the least demanding. I mean, why the hell would you put a hang clean in the middle of your complex? Also, by “demanding” I don’t just mean the hardest exercises. I mean those requiring the highest level of technical proficiency.

High skill exercises include the Full Clean, Full Snatch, High Pull From the Floor, and Overhead Squat.

Moderate skill exercises include the Hang Clean, Hang Snatch, High Pull From the Hang, Power Clean, Power Snatch, Push Press, Deadlift, and Front Squat.

Low skill exercises include the Bent-over Row, Overhead Press, Lunge Variations, Back Squat, and Dumbbell Squat.

Rule 2: Use a Non-competing Exercise Order.

Non-competing exercises are those that don’t rely on the same muscles. The benefit of this protocol is simple: while one group is working, the others are resting. Given that complexes work with series of muscle groups at once, don’t get too hung up on specifics here. Generally, try to alternate a pushing exercise with a pulling exercise, or an upper body movement with a lower body one.

Rule 3: Don’t Select a Weight Heavier than Your 10RM on Your Weakest Exercise

This is generally in place for beginners who haven’t done complexes before. I believe that complexes should be short. The entire draw is that they’re brutal but brief. By imposing a 10RM weight limit based on our weakest exercise in a given complex, we ensure that the complex will generally stay in the area of 6-8 reps, which I believe is the most effective range.  And, for noobz, allows for form to stay tight.

 

Methods of Complex Execution

Given everything I’ve told you about the right and wrong way to set up complexes, it seems reasonable that there are some contradictory ideas, especially if you’re used to the “old method” of just doing random exercises in a random order for a pre-set number of reps.

Instead, here are two advanced methods for extreme masochists looking for extreme fat-loss.

REP-BASED METHOD: Select exercises you can do for roughly the same number of reps with a given weight. Assume you want to do complexes with roughly 5-6 reps. Choose a series of exercises that you can do for roughly 12 reps (not your 12RM) with the same weight, and set up your complex according to the rules.

WEIGHT-BASED METHOD: Select the exercises you want to perform in the complex as based on the above rules. Then, test your absolute max number of reps on each exercise. For the complex, do 50 to 60 percent of your max number of reps for each exercise. In this way, you might get a complex that requires you to do six overhead presses followed by 12 front squats followed by eight bent-over rows.

Both of these methods are highly effective. Here are a few examples to get you started.

Sample Complex 1 — The Rep-Based Method

Here’s a complex I’ve been using for both my athletes and myself. (I’ll use myself as an example.)

I selected exercises I’m about equally strong on, could do for 12-15 reps, and chose a weight of 175 pounds. For me, those exercises were:

Power Clean (can normally get 15 reps without a problem…but I don’t do it often. Because it sucks.)
Front Squat (15+ reps for multiple sets)
Bent Row (12 with perfect form, usually for 5 sets)
Push Press (12 but the last rep is a struggle)
Stiffy Leggy Deady Lifty (normally can do multiple sets of 15-20)

It’s only five exercises, but I’m using the same fairly heavy weight for each. Now, I’m not the strongest guy in the world, but for me, this was absolutely brutal.

Note the order of exercises: I started with the one that required the most technical skill. From there, I alternated non-competing muscles. Generally I go upper/lower, but in the case of moving from the bent-over row to the push press, it’s obviously just moving from a pulling exercise to a pressing one.

In terms of number of reps, I normally aim for about six to start.  I’ll do up to six rounds of this, with 90-120 or so seconds of rest in between.  This is pretty basic.

However, we’ve done all sorts of fun variations at my gym including:

  • Descending pyramids (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) with 45-75 seconds rest in between
  • Descending-Ascending Pyramids (4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4). Rest periods are 90s, 60s, 45s, 20s, 20s, 45s, 60s

Keep in mind there are dozens of ways to set up your rep protocol.

Sample Complex 2 — The Weight-Method

This is a complex designed for one of my female soccer players. Lauren is dedicated, strong, and never complains—the kind of client that makes me love my job.

For her complex, we set the weight at 55 pounds and pre-tested her maxes for the following exercises:

Here’s how we set it up:

Exercise Pre-Tested Max Reps

Prescribed Complex Reps

Full Snatch 22 reps 12 reps
Alternating Reverse Lunge 15 reps per leg 8 reps per leg
Push Press 14 reps 7 reps
Bent Row 9 reps 5 reps
Back Squat 17 reps 9 reps

 

In this example, Lauren is obviously weakest in the bent-over row. If we were to follow normal complex protocol, we’d just do the same number of reps for each exercise, most likely five reps.

But in this case, she could do nearly twice that number of reps on almost every other exercise. Sure, the old method would still be moderately effective for fat loss, but with these adjustments we have optimized it.

Instead of being limited by her weakest exercise, we have set things up in a way that challenges Lauren supremely on every part of the complex.

Rather than focus on arbitrary prescriptions for reps, we allow for a little leeway and have to think a bit more during the complex. It’s harder, more involved and infinitely more effective.

Finally, once again, please note the order of the exercises: we start with a highly technical exercise (Full Snatch) and then proceed to work non-competing body parts. This allows Lauren to recover faster and continue to work harder. Overall, the entire complex becomes more efficient.

NOTE: if you’re going to go with this method, it’s important to mimic and measure “game time conditions.”  That is, test your maxes for each exercise in the order you’ll do them in the complex.

Take Lauren for example: maxes were tested in the exact order of the complex, with 3 minutes of rest in between; so, while she can obviously get more than 17 reps on the back squat with 55 pounds under normal circumstances, after she’d done snatches (descending into the bottom of a squat) and reverse lunges, her legs were a bit tired.

Closing Thoughts

Sure, you can probably drop a good deal of fat with “regular” complexes; after all, they do force you to do a lot of work in little time.

However, if you want to take your fat loss to the next level or challenge yourself in a whole new way, why settle for just expediency?

Instead of just tossing a barbell around, put in a few minutes of planning, follow the rules and methods described above and make your complexes both expedient and effective.

Okay guys, time to sound off–what’s YOUR favorite complex?  If we get 60 comments, I’ll be back tomorrow with another training post!

 

 

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. He occasionally writes things on his blog and rants on Facebook.

  • Darren

    The hang power snatch (because I can actually do it without killing myself), front squat, push press to hang clean from SHW 1. It sucked because I was a virtual beginner in power movements, but they were brutal and effective

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Yeah, that’s a tough one.  The hang power snatch is one of my favorites.

  • Daevid

    I haven’t done complexes in ages, but the one I used to do went
    Power CleanFront Squat/Push pressGood MorningBent Row

    all for 6 reps. Pretty standard I guess? In fact, now that I’m a little stronger (and know how to do the exercises properly) I might give these a go again..

    • Daevid

      Wow that formatted weirdly. Let’s try again..
      Power Clean > Frontsquat/push press > Good Morning > Bent Row

      • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

        Not sure why the formatting came out weird? Thanks for the complex, though!

  • Clement

    Complexes, along with sprints, are my preferred finishers. Coincidentally, you recently also covered sprints in an excellent T-Nation article. Such awesomeness!

    It’s a personal preference, but when designing a complex for myself, I prioritise the ease of transition from one movement to another. The more seamless the transition, the better the sequence.

    For example, one of my favourite complexes is: RDL, bent over row, hang clean, front squat, push press, reverse lunge. You might notice that the bar goes from out in front of me to the rack position, then overhead and finally behind me, on the shelf of my shoulders. To me, that just feels more natural.

    However, I’ve found a gem in your weight method. It gives me a way of making my complex more advanced as I can now add reps to my stronger movements (RDL, front squat, hang clean) to challenge the muscles more.

    I look forward to reading your next article!

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Good to hear from you, Clement. Hope all is well. And yes, bar position is a good way to do it.

    • Steve

      No sure I understand why sprints are a preferred finisher.  Sprinting is a very complex, high-skill, full-body movement.  Should they not be relegated to being a “finisher,” but as the primary goal of a specific workout? 
      Thanks,
      Steve

      • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

        I prefer to do sprints before a workout, personally. For me, the technical skill is important. 

      • Clement

        I usually do them after upper-body days or as an interval-type workout after full-body or lower-body days. But if I’m sprinting with complete rest in between sets, then they’ll be a session on their own.

        I don’t like sprinting before lifting unless I’m doing it in an a.m./p.m. style, as I feel that weights are the priority. I might do hang cleans or broad jumps before squats, though, to improve lower-body explosiveness and power.

    • Curcio22

      Im new to these complex methods. I have completed supersets in the past, but not with so many compound Olympic style lifts in a row. I’m going to give this a shot. I assume ill be in a world of pain. Thanks for the post.

  • Chris

    Great post John! Power clean-front squat-push press-back squat-behind the neck press-front squat. Sets of 5. Taken from Jamie Lewis.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Awesome complex. And Jamie is a BEAST.

  • Joshua

    Missionary, split leg, reverse cowgirl,  lazy dog, donkey punch… dead lift.  See what I did there? 
    How about an article about warm-up, mobility, and movement prep to get ready for a complex

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       oooh I see what you did there.

  • Craig

    great info but i have no clue what a lot of these exercises are! power snatch? power clean? guess i will google this stuff!

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Yes, I’d do a search on YouTube.  Really good stuff.

  • Kedric

    Great post you got here John, my favorite complex would be the clean and jerk,front squats,bent over rows followed by reverse lunges.Tough shit

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Yeah, very tough. Starting with the full clean and jerk makes everything else even harder.

  • Trevor

    great example of complex set ups, good to see how a mixture of reps works so much better than a standard rep number for all exercises

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Yea, the rep alterations help a lot. Makes things more “fun” as well.

  • Leah

    Excellent explanation of how they work and great examples for us to try. Got to print some of this out to work through it later. Thank you Leah

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Thanks, Leah!  Enjoy =)

  • Sara

    Thanks so much for sharing, Roman! Just one question….what’s a snatch? There’s only one kind of snatch I know of…and I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about here lol.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Oh, I see what you did there.  Here’s a diagram of the barbell snatch.

  • Assad1919

    thinks you

  • Eugene Zuger

    db curl, hold top rom do a squat, overhead press, squat down jump into push-up position, do a push -up spiderman lunge right, push-up,spiderman lunge left, jump back up

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Ah, I like it.  Good move with the curl held in position.

  • http://www.resiliencefitness.com/ Jeremy

    HI Roman,

    Great article, two of my favourite complexes are:

    Dumbbell complex:
    Cleans x 5
    Racked Walking Lunges Alternate legs x 12
    Push Press x 5
    Front Squat x 8

    Bodyweight complex:
    Inchworms x 8
    Burpees x 8
    Jumps Squats x 8
    Bastardos x 8

    I do the above either as one circuit of 8 reps or as 2 laps of 4 reps on each exercise.

    Depending on time of day I’ll keep the same weight and adjust the reps in busy times as it’s easier to get the kit I need (I train clients in a very busy, very small, commercial gym). At quieter times I’ll use the varied weight constant reps method, normally with an energy systems twist, (2 reps really heavy, 6-8 reps heavy, 12-15 reps medium, 30-60s aerobicky(I know that’s not a word, but it fits so hey)).

    Cheers for the constantly good content and ideas.

    Jeremy

    • Jamesk6755

      This may be overkill, but by the third complex I am in agony:

      Hang clean
      Thruster
      Fr squat
      Push press
      Back squat

      8 of each

      • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

         Eeeesh! That’s a ton of quad work, especially the thruster to the front squat. You, James, as a masochist.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=749036704 Luke Filthymcnasty O Ceallaigh

        Actually, I’d change to order so the 2 quad dominants are not next to each other, maybe a bent over row in between as this circuit is very “push” dominant

    • Kikrtina

      You mentioned Bastardos in your bodyweight complex. What exactly are those and how are they done?

      • http://www.resiliencefitness.com/ Jeremy

        Hi Kikrtina,
        Bastardos are burpees with a push up added in the down position. You’d perform them as follows.
        Squat down and put your hands on the floor
        Jump/shoot the feet back keeping the body stiff
        As the feet land, bend the elbows and perform a push up (if you can’t do full push ups, do them with your knees on the floor)
        As the elbows are almost at lock out on the way up, jump the feet forward bringing the knees as close to your chest as possible
        Keeping the torso as upright as possible, stand up
        Hope that helps and enjoy
        Jeremy

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       LOVE it.

  • Jim

    Roman,
    Thanks for this tremendous and yet logical insight. Some questions, though. Is your FLF your best all around program? How do you feel about Dr. K’s approach to Fat Loss and Strength? And most important, how do I set up  personal training sessions with you? I’m ready to take a major step in my strength and nutritial lifestyle, once and for all. I look forward to hearing from you soon! 

    Jim 

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       I think FLF is my most well-rounded program.  FPFL is great because you get 24 workouts instead of 8, so I think it’s worth the extra money; and of course you can do them together. 

      I like Dr. K’s stuff, but keep in mind we approach things differently; his approach is somewhat filtered through the lens of the populations he works with, which means injured people.

  • http://www.thewallenway.com/blog Daniel Wallen

    I did some “light” complexes (they still sucked) in a de-load week recently.  I think the order went like so–barbell snatch, overhead squats, alternating lunges, shoulder press, front squats, and barbell rows.  I did them for higher reps than you recommended since it was a de-load, but I’m going to have to try these as suggested soon.  Thanks, Roman!  

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Great set up on that, though. 

  • Francisco

    The barbell complexes from SHW absolutely killed me but I loved them! It made me realize that my weakest link was my grip, which now I am emphasizing more. I always wondered how you came up with those complexes, so I am glad you went thorugh your rationale on this post.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Ah yea, grip is SUPER hard. One thing I did for a while was do complexes with HALF weight, and use fat grips.  Helped a lot.

  • Jimb

    Used to do one shown to me by a pal from the British Navy – this was over 10 years ago but apparently it was what they used to whip new recruits into shape ( they used real whipping as well of course but this is not the forum )…………
    Deadlift / Bent Row / High Pull /  Bi – Curl / Mil Press / Tri Extension. I think they did 6 of everything for as many circuits as you could manage. Obviously this fits quite neatly into your category of how not to do complexes but like I said – 10 years ago it was new to me and for a while at least I got some mileage out of it. The tips you put out today are superb for the likes of me.

    PS. I don’t know if it’s significant that a naval workout contains the words Bent, Bi & Pull but contains no snatch………interesting….. ;)

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      hahaha! love the PS

  • Vanessaraquel

    is there a good resource that acts a glossary of terms for the actual exercises? im not new to kettlebell workouts, or working out in general, but i havent worked with a trainer in a long time and dont remember all the proper exercise names or specifications of form. thank you!

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       A good pace to look is exrx.net!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Acid-Jazz/100001969817120 Acid Jazz

    love the post….i just bought fat loss forever.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Awesome! Thanks so much for the support; enjoy FLF

  • MNMAC (Mark)

    Actually I just did Session 2  of the Phase 1 of the SHW (I haven’t done SHW for about 8 months) and it is my favorite one in the Phase one series.  It includes:

    Barbell complex (6 reps and 4 sets with 90 – 120 sec rest in between sets)
    – Hang Power Snatch  
    – Pront Squat
    – Push Press
    – Hang Clean

    DB Complex (12 reps and 3 sets with 90 seconds rest in between sets)
    – Two Arm DB Swing
    -Unsupported 1-Arm Row (lunge stance)
    – DB Front Squat
    – Neutral Grip Overhead Press
    – Alternating Reverse Lunges

    Kicks this old man’s butt … burned 600 calories.  With my added cardio to the session 801 calories for the day with one hour of total time (warm up, weights, cardio and cool down) invested.  I got my heart rate ranging from 100 – 148 bpm with an overall average of 118 bpm for the hour.  THis is about spot on for a 59 year old guy.

    Love these complexes John!

    Mark Carlson (MNMAC)

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       fantastic, Mark!

  • E Williams Training

    Great article ! I’m sick of going to these crossfit gyms and seeing terrible program design. It makes me sick to see a full snatch on the white board listed below a metabolically grueling set of exercises which leave very little left in the tank to mentally and physically prepare for a full snatch. I love the rest periods you provided above much more conducive to training the bodies energy systems rather than going ALL out and being alactic. Good Job !

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Thanks! Glad you liked it.  And yes, the rest periods are key here.

  • Seth

    great article! thanks. i just had 1 question:
     “… Choose a series of exercises that
    you can do for roughly 12 reps (not your 12RM) with the same weight…”
    i don’t quite understand what the difference is supposed to be.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       Fair enoguh. In my head, “roughly 12 reps” means that you can do 12 but it’s not a max; you an do 13-16 maybe.

      • Seth

         cool thanks. makes sense.

  • Chuck S

    Somebody else suggested after doing exercises, do them again right away with lighter weights, then repeat. How would that work with complexes, since the muscles would have gotten some rest already when doing other muscles?

    If you exercise the whole body like this, do you need to wait a week to recover before exercising again?

    I’m sure some people don’t know what all of those exercises are. Is there a good place to learn about them, or should we just google?

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       I think google would be the best (or, really, Youtube).  You can do complexes 2-3 times per week.

      Finally, I don’t *hate* the idea of “drop set” complexes, which is what you’re describing with lighter weight. I’d have to see it work well before I can recommend it.

  • http://kettlebellburn.com/ Geoff Neupert

    Roman – Good stuff.

    Here’s my “contribution:”

    Kettlebell complexes v. barbell complexes – same weight with kettlebells = much harder than barbells. Larger exercise ROM, more stability required, more coordination required, therefore more energy used. (More overall punishment too.)

    Here’s a couple of barbell complexes I used to use with my D-1 wrestlers –

    H.Clean x6 > Press x6 > Front Squat x6 > Push Press x6

    H. Clean x5 >  Press x5 > Good Morning x5 > Back Squat x5 > Push Press x5 > RDL x5

    Here’s one I used to as part of prep for my last weightlifting meet:

    Sn. High Pull x3 > P. Snatch x3 > Behind Neck Pu. Press x3 > OSQ x3, work up to 176lbs.

    And here’s a couple of great KB Complex using a pair of KBs:

    Swing x5 > High Pull x5 > Snatch x5 > Press x5 > Front Squat x5. Do these with a pair of 70lbs KBs just for “fun.”

    Clean x5 > Press x5 > FSQ x5 > Push Press x5 > Front Squat x5. Murder on the legs, shoulders, and lungs cause you’re holding the KBs in the rack for so long.

    Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       DAMN! Geoff, you just doubled the value of this post. THANK you so much for listing all those complexes!

  • JT

    Just to ask a stupid question, what is the downside of changing weights during a complex (other than the 10 seconds or so it take to change weights), if you feel like staying with  the same number of reps for each exercise?

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

       None, other than inconvenience.  I’m not sure it would technically be a complex, but other than that it’s totally cool.

  • Saad Abdullah

    This is kinda what I do in the gym, but most people stare like retards. When I tell them I go to the gym a total of twice a week, they don’t believe me. Poor fools.

  • Martinellifam

    I think I’m dense…I can seem to follow…is there a cliff notes version?? :-) -Kristina

  • Archar4287

    Split squat, standing overhead press, good morning, front squat, row, Romanian deadlift, pushup, lay onfloor and breathe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/repetskaya Repetskaya Oksana

    My fav is DB Matrix from Dr. K. Kills me)))

  • http://www.facebook.com/Roan.now Roan-Paul Spölmink

    ”Rule 3: Don’t Select a Weight Heavier than Your 10RM on Your Weakest Exercise”

    Don’t you mean that it shouldn’t be lighter than your 10RM? Because it would make sense to me that when I took something of ≥10RM on my weakest excercise I will be able to do them with even more reps on my stronger excercises. In other words. If I shouldn’t go heavier on my 10RM on my weakest excercise, the stronger ones will be around 12-15RM. But you wanted to go for the range of 6-8 reps? Not trying to be a smartass, just can’t my head around it to understand you!

  • Sergei

    One rep of:
    – Power clean and push-press, BB down below knees
    –  Row
    –  1 leg RDL, each leg
    –  Hang power clean
    –  Back lunge each leg (BB on front), BB down to the floor
    –  Deadlift, BB down to the floor
    repeat 2–3 times with no rest. This is one set.
    Rest for 30–60 seconds, repeat for 3–5 sets.

  • http://www.mcbub.com/category/cheap-Cell-phones---Accessories-178/ Cell Phones

    It’s so great, hope this can help me. It’s sounds like nice.

  • Angie

    Thanks for the tips! just had my gym built by  Backyard Rooms Cant wait to utilize some of these formulas to get fit.

  • Muscle Maximizer

    Thanks for this good & excellent work. you should have to continue it forever…..

  • http://www.shareitfitness.com/ Matt @ Share It Fitness

    Great article. Love to see other bloggers taking complex exercise methodologies and breaking them down for the layperson. Getting fit really does take more than a few weekly sessions of steady state cardio on the treadmill while flipping through an US Weekly mag. Keep up the good work John.

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