We already know how difficult it is to build muscle whilst shedding body fat, and a lot of it comes down to getting nutrition right. But there is something you can include in your gym routine that will help you build strength, pack on lean muscle AND rev up your metabolism to torch fat.
What are barbell complexes?
They're not really that complex at all. A complex involves performing 4-5 different exercises (usually big compound movements) performed for a certain amount of reps, one after the other with no rest. You use the same barbell all the way through with a weight you can complete all the exercises with.
Why are they so effective?
The sheer intensity of the complexes means you'll massively crank up your heart rate and metabolism, turning your body into a fat burning machine. Because your holding the bar constantly throughout the complex, your muscles are under tension for a great deal longer than they would usually be. The longer your muscles work, the more they will grow. This combination makes complexes king when it comes to blitzing body fat and building muscle.
When should you do them?
Barbell complexes are hard, really hard. With that in mind I'd recommend trying several different combos and giving them a whole session to themselves, or bolt one complex on to the END of your usual resistance session.
Who should do them?
Literally anyone. Guys or girls, bodybuilders, strength seekers or people just looking to get in good shape. However one thing to keep in mind is that they are very physically demanding so you should probably have some good gym experience under your belt before attempting them.
How do you do them?
You need to decide which exercises you want to include, but you should aim for an ALL BODY approach, so pick 4-5 exercises that hit EVERY major muscle group. Also consider the practicality, you need to be able to keep hold of the barbell all the way through the complex so make sure you pick exercises you can transition smoothly between.
Once you've picked your exercises you need to set up your barbell. Give this some consideration, its not going to be your usual weights, your going to be working a lot harder so the weight needs to be lighter, but one that still challenges you.
When it comes to sets and reps I like to do 4 sets, starting with 8 reps of each exercise and dropping down to 7, then 6 and finishing on 5 reps by the last set. Remember you need to perform each exercise in the complex BACK TO BACK, the bar should stay in your hands until the last rep of the last exercise!
Ready to give them a try? Take a look at an example barbell complex below to get you going!
Perform all 5 exercises below in the order they are played out. Set your complexes in the following structure:
Set 1 - 8 reps of each exercise
Set 2 - 7 reps of each exercise
Set 3 - 6 reps of each exercise
Set 4 - 5 reps of each exercise
Take 90 seconds rest between each set and don't forget you don't put the bar down until the last rep of those upright rows!!