Overhead Star Complex

  1. Top-Half Seated Press — 2-5 reps — Overload
    Start just above the weak point of the movement so you can use a lot of weight while still having enough of a range of motion to stimulate the pressing muscles.
  2. Standing Military Press — 3-5 reps — Strength
    I prefer the standing variation over the seated because of its greater postural involvement. Make sure to squeeze the glutes hard during the whole pressing movement.
  3. Push Press — 2-3 reps — Strength-Speed
    Make an effort to create a "shoulder shelf" to push from by resting the bar on your deltoids at the beginning of the movement. Use a slight leg drive to get the bar past the weak zone while driving hard with your arms.
  4. Medicine Ball Push-Press Throw — 8-10 reps — Speed-Strength
    This is a very effective speed-strength exercise for the upper body. Focus on pushing equally with both arms, as most will tend to use only one arm. The motion is similar to a basketball pass, but overhead.
  5. Feet Elevated Plyo Push-Up — 8-10 reps — Explosive
    No need to drop your chest all the way down. Just as in jumping, we want a short and rapid dip and minimal transition time before the projection upward. Stop when you lose your "pop."

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.