Tip: A Quick Complex for Fat Loss & Conditioning

You don't need an hour to get a heart-pounding workout. All you need is a barbell and 20 minutes. Try this.

Lead Photo Credit: Victor Freitas

The Complex

To do this, you'll need to be comfortable with the Olympic lifts. Well, comfortable enough to perform a hang power clean at least. You don't have to be able to clean and jerk a house.

A complex is a series of movements where there's logical progression through which the bar travels, meaning the sequencing will allow you to proceed through all movements without putting the bar down. And this is where the magic happens!

The energy required to complete these sets is significant and will challenge your cardio-respiratory system. As result, you'll incur significant EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) for the next 24-36 hours.

In addition, the time under tension is long enough to increase oxidative capabilities and leave you feeling like you did a 60-minute workout in 20 minutes or less.

Here's the workout:

Go from one exercise to the next without resting. So you'll begin with 8 deadlifts and go directly into 8 hang power cleans... and so on until you've done all the listed exercises. That's ONE round.

Then take a two or three minute break before you do it all over again. Do 3-5 rounds of...

  • 8 Deadlifts
  • 8 Hang Power Cleans
  • 8 Front Squats
  • 8 Push Presses
  • 8 Back Squats
  • 8 Good Mornings
  • 8 Bent-Over Rows

The rest periods will feel incomplete. This is normal. But if you wanted to rest longer then you could certainly increase loading... if time isn't an issue.

Perform one round with an empty barbell and then add weight. Typically loading for males will be somewhere between 65-95 pounds and 45-65 pounds for females. These numbers sound light but don't make up your mind on that until you actually do it!