Deadlift Star Complex

  1. Top-Half Deadlift — 3-5 reps — Overload
    This first exercise is your heaviest, and the top-half movement will allow you to use more than your limit strength in the standard deadlift. Start with the bar just above the knees. Good for activation and building your traps and upper back.
  2. Deadlift from Floor — 3-5 reps — Strength
    Moving up a notch in the force-velocity curve, this is a heavy deadlift, but not super maximal. The speed of movement should be faster than the previous exercise.
  3. Power Clean, Hang or Blocks — 2-3 reps — Strength-Speed
    Moving into the strength-speed portion of the curve. Focus on explosion, not on the load used. If you start from blocks it's better for starting explosive strength (e.g. sprint start) and if you start from the hang it's better for movements where you have to quickly switch from eccentric to concentric (e.g. running and jumping)
  4. Good Morning Jump — 8-10 reps — Speed-Strength
    This exercise is a speed-strength movement, so it should be loaded but light enough so that you can accelerate. A load of 20% of your max good morning is adequate.
  5. Broad Jump Series — 8-10 reps — Explosive
    This is a reactive or plyometric movement. Each rep should be a high quality jump and very explosive. Start off by doing each rep individually, and as you become better at it you can do them as a series with minimal transition between the jumps.

Star Complexes Explained

When I have to get an athlete, bodybuilder, or actor into the best shape of his life, which means stripping off body fat while adding 15 to 20 pounds of functional "show" muscle, there's only one type of training to use: Star Complexes.

A star complex is a block of five exercises of the same movement pattern. The five exercises are performed back to back, starting with a heavy/slow movement as the first exercise. Each subsequent exercise is lighter in resistance than the previous exercise, allowing for progressively faster rep speeds.

Using star complexes, I've seen hockey players dropping 5% body fat in five weeks without changing their diets. I've seen fitness girls losing 20 pounds of fat in six weeks while getting stronger. And I've seen football players completely revamp their body composition in six weeks while adding 20% to some of their lifts!

Star complexes work! For any body type. For any goal. They're that powerful. They're one of my best "secrets." And now, the secret is all yours. Get to work.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.