3 Barbell Complexes to Test your Strength and Technique

From time to time it’s necessary to break the routine, get creative and implement more enjoyable barbell movements.

Trade your on-time MetCons for some quality barbell complexes to memorize the movement, strengthen critical positions and improve your overall weightlifting skills.

The definition of the term complex is “composed of many interconnected parts” and it’s exactly what barbell complexes are: connected movement which consists of different exercises all done with the same weight. Usually they are low rep, but heavy weight, built from a wide range of different movements like: basic Olympic weightlifting lifts snatch and clean & jerk (or any variation of these), basic strength moves like deadlifts and squats and/or any other assistance exercises which fit into the complex.

When trying one of these, keep in mind:

  • Do not trade big weights for a bad technique. It’s about learning the correct movement.
  • Weight stays the same all throughout the complex.
  • Stability: core needs to be engaged, movement has to be solid (not shaky). Have a look at the world class weightlifters how activated their bodies are during the lifts and how focused their mind is.
  • Barbell shouldn’t leave your hands. Hold it tight – hookgrip!
  • When in doubt, call your coach for help.

Here are three ideas for your next box session:

1. Dmitry Klokov 205 kg complex

Dmitry Klokov is one of the biggest stars in the sport of Olympic weightlifting. This World Champion and Silver medalist from Bejing Olympic Games loves hard and heavy barbell complexes.

Complex: clean pull + clean + paused front squat + push press + paused jerk

Dmitry Klokov with 205 kg.

2. Bear complex

Originally you have to perform the complex 7-times to complete one round. The whole workout consists of 5 rounds. If you’re a beginner do only one circuit of this legendary Crossfit complex.

Complex: power clean + front squat + push press + back squat + push pres

Strongman and Crossfit athlete Rob Orlando with 91 kg (200 lbs).

3. 125 kg Snatch complex from Mat Fraser

Mat Fraser went from finishing 5th at the 2013 North East Regionals to becoming the 2nd Fittest Man on Earth at this year’s CrossFit Games. He is known for his weightlifting skills: see below the video of him performing snatch complex with 125 kg (275 lbs).

Complex: hang snatch + snatch + 2x overhead squat

Markus Krümmer, one of Germany’s strongest Crossfit athletes, did a similar complex (just switched the order of hang snatch and full snatch) with 120 kg.

Do you have a similar barbell complex and want to share it with us? Let us know.

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