The Power of Complex Training Routines
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The Power of Complex Training Routines
By: Elemental Fitness Ltd personaltrainingleeds, personaltrainerleeds, complextraining
What is a complex?
Having trouble getting your workouts in? Not enough time? Or Space? Not enough equipment? Let me introduce the complex!
I started performing complexes myself about a year ago, when I was struggling for time to get my workouts in. I found them incredibly effective and efficient and have since started using them regularly with clients during one to one sessions. I have found clients enjoy them and will often take them away and use them in their own sessions. They keep sessions varied and interesting and due to their efficiency, free up time in the session to implement other elements.
A complex, regardless of the name is actually pretty simple. Pick a bunch of exercises and perform them back-to-back without putting down the weight. Rest and repeat. Well, there’s a little more to it than that but that’s the general gist.
A complex can be performed with whatever equipment you prefer or have to hand. A set of dumbells, a barbell or a kettlebell. Even battle ropes.
The idea is to perform back-to-back exercises with one piece of equipment. You don’t put it down or rest between exercises and stick to the same weight for the whole workout. The complex is all about maximising time and space and getting a brutally efficient, strength building, fat burning, cardio smashing workout in.
To perform a complex, pick 4 – 6 exercises that will be performed back-to-back for 5 – 10 reps before resting. Perform 3 – 5 sets.
Benefits of complexes
Full body workout
Improves cardiovascular activity
Increases muscular endurance
Uses varied and functional movement
High calorie burn
Keeps the mind active and motivated
Minimal equipment required
Putting it together
When setting up a complex, keep it simple. The basics work.
You don’t need to rack your brains trying to think up a bunch of new-fangled moves. Try and get at least one of each of a push, a pull, a hinge, and a squat movement in there, if possible.
Use exercises that flow well together for example if using Kettlebells, the swing, clean, squat and press flow nicely into each other creating a smooth complex that is enjoyable to perform.
If you are using a barbell, choose exercises that all use the same grip so they flow into one another without having to let go of the weight.
Choose a weight that you can perform your weakest lift in the complex with, for example if you can swing a 24kg kettlebell, but can only press 12kg, use the 12kg for the complex.
A good general rule to start with is: Heavier weight = more sets = fewer reps Lighter weight = fewer sets = more reps
It’s generally a good idea to do a warm-up set using a lighter weight before you really get going. If I’m doing a barbell complex, I always run through it once with just the bar before loading plates on. This helps to prepare the muscles and joints for the main session as well as get used to the order of the routine.
When to use them?
A complex can be used as a warm up or finisher, using a light weight or as a main workout by using the heaviest weight that you can complete the routine with while maintaining good form and technique.
For some complex ideas to get you started, head over to our marketplace and check out some of our favourite complex routines!
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