We LOVE Barbell Complexes


Nothing can get your heart razing like a great barbell complex. We love this style of workout and often apply it to our training sessions. We’ll start this post with an excerpt about barbell complexes from (hilarious name for a webpage by the way) and then we’ll share some of our favorite complexes (and good memories). – Sarah and Ditte

What is a Barbell Complex?

A barbell complex is when you will do all the reps of one exercise before moving onto the next exercise and you don’t put the bar down until all the reps are complete. That counts as one set. You’ll take a brief rest and repeat for the recommended number of sets.

You will also complete the entire barbell complex with the one weight and won’t change during the set because this will slow you down and result in an ineffective barbell complex.

Barbell Complex Benefits

Barbell complexes are one of the hardest and enjoyable forms of cardio you will ever do. And the best thing is that you will be done, toasted and finished in only a matter of 10 minutes, not 30+ minutes like traditional cardio.

And if those benefits aren’t enough, here are some other pretty cool side effects…

1. Blow torch body fat: not only will you burn a ton of calories during the barbell complex but your metabolism will stay jacked far longer than if you jumped on any cardio machine.

2. Maintain muscle mass: The problem with most traditional cardio methods is that they increase your Cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone which is responsible for body fat storage, especially around the abdomen, and muscle loss. Unlike traditional cardio, these barbell complexes release anabolic hormones which outweigh the negative effects of Cortisol.

3. Improved fitness and work capacity: after a few weeks of barbell complexes you’ll notice you will recover faster between your main training sets and you will be able to handle more volume.

4. They’re bad ass: Let’s face it. Barbell work is badass. So complexes + barbells = double badass

Read the full article: “Barbell Complex – The Secret Behind Losing Fat Without Running” here

Our favorite BB complexes

These are some complexes that we have used for previous FAF competitions, some of them were originally made ‘for max weight’, but you could easily change that to a certain amount of rounds done with a fixed weight, if you want to use it as a workout. 

“I Love Weightlifting” (FAF’11 – WOD 2)

In 5 min. find your max weight for this combi lift:

  • 1 clean anyhow + 3 front squats + 1 jerk

Video with Danish elite weightlifter, Simon Darville, performing the complex:

“The Fu*ked-up Snatch Complex (FAF’11 – WOD 3)

6 rounds for time of:

  • 1 power snatch 60/40 kg.
  • 2 squat snatches
  • 3 overhead squats

Video with Danish elite weightlifter, Tim Kring, performing the complex:

“The Fu*ked-up Bear Complex (FAF’10 – WOD4)

Athletes have 45 seconds to perform 1 round of the following barbell-complex, without letting go of the barbell.

  • Clean
  • Front squat
  • Overhead anyhow
  • Back squat
  • Overhead anyhow

After each 45 sec window, there was a 15 sec rotation and the athletes had to move on to a heavier barbell (5 kg increase). Women started at 30 kg and the last barbell was 75 kg. Men started at 60 kg and the heaviest barbell was 105 kg (in 2010, that was actually a lot!).

Picture from the workout at Fit As Fu*k Competition 2010 (Samantha Briggs and Annie both participated):



2 thoughts on “We LOVE Barbell Complexes

  1. Pingback: We LOVE Barbell Complexes – part 2 | FIT AS FU*K

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