Squat Star Complex

  1. Top-Half Squat — 2-5 reps — Overload
    This movement is both a great neural activator and a very effective quadriceps movement. The top-half of the squat is done mostly by the quads.
  2. Front Squat — 3-5 reps — Strength
    For this complex I prefer the front squat over the back variation because the posterior chain and lower back were already heavily hit by the deadlift complex.
  3. Power Snatch, Hang or Blocks — 2-3 reps — Strength-Speed
    Doing this powerful movement from blocks focuses on explosive starting strength, like that needed for a sprint start. In contrast, the hang variation is more transferable to movements where you have to rapidly switch from eccentric to concentric, like in running.
  4. Jump Squat with Bar — 8-10 reps — Speed-Strength
    Do this one with a minimal dip down, a quarter squat, no more. Keep the torso as upright as possible to focus on quad explosiveness. A load of 20% of your max squat is adequate.
  5. Vertical Jump Series — 8-10 reps — Explosive
    Do a short and quick dip then reverse the motion as fast as you can. The transition from dip to jump should be lightning fast.
  6. Backward Sprint with Sled or Prowler — 1 rep — Work Capacity
    Keep a crouched position (knees bent at 90 degrees), and sprint backward for 30 meters. This will be hell on the quads, especially the vastus medialis.

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.