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3 Strength Training Workout Complexes For Rapid Fat Loss

In today’s fitness world, both trainers and clients (and general fitness enthusiasts), have less time per day to spare. We pack our calendars as much as possible. Unfortunately, this can leave us with little time for a workout.

Now, even if you are making it to the gym for 3 training sessions or classes, you may need just a little more. For the results you are looking for even a few workouts a week with a qualified fitness professional can do wonders. We also need to keep in mind that we should move every day. That doesn’t mean that it has to be a full-blown 1-2 hour workout. Just 10-20 minutes of continuous movement will be a great contribution to feeling better and helping you towards your goals.

So, how do you sneak in a workout that builds muscle, burns fat and takes minimal time?

One tried and true way that I have found to work are utilizing strength training complexes. Implementing various complexes into your workout regimen is a great way to get a ton of work done in a short amount of time. As described by coach Dan John, “A complex is a series of lifts performed back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before moving onto the next lift. The bar, dumbbell, or kettlebell only leaves your hands or touches the floor after all of the lifts are completed.”

There are three different complexes that I recommend for various fitness levels:

For those who are handy with the barbell and have adequate mobility and strength, the Bear complex is fantastic. But it is not for the beginner.

So, for those that don’t have much experience under the bar I recommend the SOF dumbbell complex. This one is perfect with just a light-to-moderate sized pair of dumbbells. It is also easy to do in the comfort of your own home. For those who travel, it is a useful workout to do at any hotel that has dumbbells.

The third workout is a sort of in-between, as far as technique and fitness level. If you know some of the basic kettlebell moves, this one provides a huge bang for the buck.

Let’s break each one down and see how they can work for you when you can’t make it to the gym or just have 20-30 minutes to spare to sneak an extra workout in.

Complex #1 – Bear Complex 

The first one is a barbell complex that includes two types of squats and two types of presses. In this video, I split up the squats and push presses instead of going right from the squat to the press like a thruster. I actually like both ways of doing it. To get used to the complex I would break up the movements and go slower. Start by cleaning the bar up to your chest. Perform a front squat, pause at the top and then perform a push press. Slowly bring the bar down behind your back and rest it comfortably on your traps. Then perform a back squat, pause at the top of the squat and then perform another push press. Lower the bar slowly to the chest and repeat for the desired amount of rounds and reps. Once you get the movements down you can speed up the complex.

How to Perform 

  • Front Squat
  • Press
  • Back Squat
  • Press
  • Repeat 4 more times.

That equals 1 set. Perform 5 sets if you are doing this as a stand-alone workout. If you utilize this workout as a finisher perform 3 sets.

Complex #2 – State of Fitness Dumbbell Complex 

This complex is great for both newbies to learn basic movement patterns and for the advanced lifter for a great metabolic workout. This complex includes 5 of the major strength training movements. Another added benefit to this complex is that it is a unilateral based complex, making both sides of the body work individually.

How to Perform 

Once you get the movements down try and move as fast as possible with good form. DO NOT put down the dumbbells until you are done with the complex. Choose a demanding weight where you can just finish the complex.  Perform 5 sets if you are doing this stand-alone workout. If you utilize this workout as a finisher perform 3 sets of each exercise.

  • Hang snatch 5 reps
  • Bent over row 8 reps
  • Reverse lunge 8 reps each side
  • Curl and push press 8 reps
  • 1-leg deadlift 8 reps each side

Complex #3 – State of Fitness Kettlebell Complex 

I have come up with many different kettlebell complexes and have also watched many others. This one has been my favorite since it includes most of the basic kettlebell movements. I also like doing it as a unilateral complex using one kettlebell.

How to Perform 

It starts with the snatch, bent over row, clean, push press and swing- all one arm for 5 reps. Perform 5 reps for each and then switch sides and repeat. I would get with a trainer that knows how to perform all of these moves since the snatch and the clean can be tricky if you have not been properly instructed on the movements. Perform 5 sets if you are doing this as a stand-alone workout. If you utilize this workout as a finisher perform 3 sets.

  • 1-arm KB Snatch 5 each side
  • 1-arm KB Bent Over Row 5 reps each side
  • 1-arm KB Clean 5 reps each side
  • 1-arm KB Push Press 5 each side
  • 1-arm KB Swing 5 reps each side

Time to Get Complex! 

If you are wondering what you need to do for your workout, lifting weights is always the right answer.  Even if it is just a quick workout do in between your regularly scheduled workouts. Utilizing complexes is a simple way to get a ton of reps in a short amount of time while building muscle and burning body fat.


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