By Nick Nilsson
Author of Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss
If you've never heard of "Complexes" for fat loss before, you're in for a treat...a very tough, very challenging (and I think very fun) treat!
Complexes are basically a series of exercises done without releasing your grip on the bar or dumbbells, going from one exercise straight into the next with no break. It's a form of circuit training that actually gives you even LESS of a break than normal circuit training because you're using the same equipment for each exercise and you're transitioning instantly into the next exercise.
I've put together 4 complexes that target all the major muscle groups in your body to maximize the metabolic effects of the training.
These complexes are bodyweight exercises combined with barbell exercises to really cover more bases.
They're really powerful for kicking up the metabolism for fat-loss purposes. You're not going to build much strength or muscle with them but the sheer amount of muscle mass used in these complexes makes them ideal for fat burning and boosting the metabolism.
Just an fyi, if you can't do straight bar dips, sub in push-ups on the bar instead. And if you can't do pull-up rows with your feet off the ground, set your feet on the ground. You'll see what I mean with these adjustments when you see the complexes.
They're an incredibly effective way to get a FAST fat-loss workout done.
Set the bar in the power rack at about stomach level. Load it with a light to moderate weight (you'll be able to judge your weight better when you see the exercises being used for it).
This bar is going to be used both as resistance and as apparatus.
Straight Bar Dips - this is a bodyweight dip done with your hands set on the barbell.
Now swing yourself down UNDER the bar (preferably without letting your feet touch the ground).
Hanging Inverted Rows
Set your feet down on the floor and change your grip to set up Front Squats.
Duck your head under the bar to get it on your back for back squats. Set your feet out WAY wide so that the forefoot area is actually up on the side rails of the rack and only your heels are on the ground. This is a GREAT glute and hamstring version of the squat (you could call it a sumo squat, like the sumo stance deadlift). The front squat hits the quads more so this aims to focus on glutes and hams.
Bring your feet in and do standing calf raises (half range from flat on the floor to up on your toes and hold).
The first two exercises of this complex are the same as first. Set a lighter weight on the bar, though, because you'll be doing shoulder presses after the Inverted Rows.
So start with the straight bar dips.
Then swing down under the bar for Inverted Rows.
Then swing your legs around and kneel down for barbell shoulder press.
Get your feet back under you and do squats with the bar in the bottom position of the shoulder press .
This complex will start with several of the same exercises again.
Then you'll finish with some more leg work.
Feet on the ground Inverted Rows.
To kneeling barbell shoulder press.
To front squats...
To back squats
That's it for #3! This one is a bit easier to perform, especially with the leg stuff - the lighter weight used in the shoulder press means you'll need to do more reps for the leg part.
On-barbell push-ups. I have my legs hooked on another bar, but it's not necessary. I wanted to see if it would work any differently. It does work well, but regular push-ups will be just fine here, too. Also, the video title says "3" but it is #4.
Here's what the setup looks like.
Set your feet down.
Now go to barbell rows.
Then to stiff-legged deadlifts.
That's it for #4! Definitely use your imagination and use these as a jumping-off point to come up with your own complexes.
Feel free to get creative and come up with your own complexes. Ideally, you do want to use exercises that transition very smoothly from one to the next without having to change your grip or training equipment. That being said, if you DO want to switch between a few different pieces, that's totally fine, too.
These complexes can be used as the foundation of an entire workout or as "finishers".
If you're interested in learning more about "Workout Finishers", I've got a friend and fellow trainer by the name of Mike Whitfield who has put together a very comprehensive collection of these...primarily in the form of bodyweight and simple free weight equipment like dumbbells or kettlebells.
It's a great way to get some cardio training in at the end of a workout and get your metabolism cranked up with a short burst of very intense work.
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