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4 min read

A barbell complex is any series of movements performed back-to-back with a barbell in which the set number of reps is completed for each movement before moving on to the next. This is a great workout to add to your back and leg day as it's challenging, but quick, so push yourself and focus on your form -- it'll be over before you know it!

Use the same amount of weight for the entirety of the workout. Pick a weight that challenges you to go above and beyond without being overbearing (Karrah used 60lbs). Complete each exercise for 5 reps for the first round. Then, do each exercise for 4 reps for the second round... and so on, working back down to 1! 

Limit your rest between rounds, and most importantly make sure you focus on keeping your knees behind your toes as you do all of these squats.  

Karrah is wearing The Flex in Volition, $78. 


Hang Clean Press

Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip at waist level while standing straight up and looking straight ahead. Bend knees and rotate slightly forward to begin explosive upward movement generated by leg and shoulder power. Flip barbell over to end with the barbell resting on the front of the shoulders just below the front of the neck with palms facing upwards and elbows out in front of the body. Crouch down and using power from legs and power from shoulders thrust the barbell straight up in the air to complete a push press and lock arms out with barbell straight up in the air. Return to the starting position. Repeat. 

Hang Clean Squat Press

Begin in the same starting position as hang clean press. Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip at waist level while standing straight up. Bend your knees slightly and lower the barbell down to just above your knees. In one fluid motion, fire your legs and glutes to explosively straighten your hips and shrug your shoulders as you bring the barbell up to shoulder height. Keeping the barbell at shoulder level, sit back with your hips and lower your body as far as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. Fire your legs and stand back up. From the squat position, straighten your legs and explosively press your arms up and overhead. Return to the starting position. Repeat. 


The Bear Complex

A bear complex consists of five different movements: 1 power clean, 1 front squat, 1 push press, 1 back squat, and 1 push press. Do all five movements to complete one repetition of the complex. Complete the complex 5 times, unbroken (without letting go of the bar or resting it on the ground) to complete 1 round. Reps lower by one with each completed round. 

Power Clean 

Stand tall behind the barbell, feet parallel and at hip width, shins touching the bar. Keeping your arms straight and your lower back in its natural arch, bend your knees slightly and lean forward, pushing your hips back and taking a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width, overhand grip on the bar. Lift your chest and look straight ahead, lowering your hips until they are slightly below the level of your shoulders. Keeping your elbows locked, shift your weight onto your heels. Keeping the weight as close to your body as possible, simultaneously push your knees back, raise your chest, slowly and smoothly drive your hips forward, and lift the bar from the floor point just above your knees. 

Frontal Squat 

Begin with the barbell across the front side of your shoulders. Place your fingertips under the barbell just outside of your shoulders, tighten your core and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Sit your hips back, bend your knees and push your knees out to lower into the squat. Keep your chest and elbows up throughout the rep. Continue bending your hips and knees under your thighs are approximately parallel to the ground. Drive through your mid-foot to stand up out of the squat. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips at the top of the squat. 

Push Press 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar with your fingertips, elbows pointing forward. Rest the bar on the front of your shoulders. Drop down into a shallow squat, centering your weight under the barbell. Press through your heels and drive the bar directly above your head until your arms are straight. Lower the bar down to your chest. Maintain a neutral arch in your spring throughout the movement. 

Back Squat

Rest barbell over your traps and shoulders making sure hands are even on each side of the bar. Keep feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight up. Push your hips backwards and and bend your knees to squat down. You have reached your range of motion when you cannot move any lower without your lower back rounding. Pause for a moment keeping your upper body braced and tension in your legs. Push through both legs to reverse the motion and return to the start position. 

Push Press

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