The Fat Loss Tool Box: Get Lean And Conditioned with Complexes (In Less Than 20 Minutes)

It’s a catchy header isn’t it.

Since I like to keep it #TheRealest on the Vigor blog, the headline isn’t a bunch of B.S.

And once you go through these bad boys (the complexes I mean) you’ll realize what I’m talking about.

If you stick with them for 4 weeks (this is me saying I dare you!) I’m pretty sure you’ll be very happy with the changes you see both from a fat loss and conditioning standpoint.

I say “if” because most people would much rather go for a 45-60 minute jog than do 15 minutes of complexes that will get them better results than.


Because they are tough.

But they’re also effective, REALLY effective.

Let me back up a bit and explain what a complex is and give some respect where respect is due.

I’ll share one of the best simple definitions of what a complex is

A series of lifts back to back where you finish all the reps of one lift before moving on to the next lift. The barbell only leaves your hand or touches the floor after all of the lifts are completed.

The father of complexes and who I love and hate at the same time while doing them is Istvan “Steve” Javorek.

Everything after has been repackaged many times and called something else…but Mr. Javorek is the true O.G. and the person that started all.

He’s Eastern European like me so I feel a deeper connection when I do the complexes.


It does NOT make them any easier though. Sigh.

He created them as an efficient and aggressive method of performance enhancement that makes the program more enjoyable. One thing is for sure – complexes are definitely not boring; especially with the amount of variations you can do and the tools you can use.

To find out more about how to implement complexes into your program (you can do this today!), check out the video below.

In this video I break down:

=> How adding complexes to your training can shorten your training session and improve results

=> The different tools you can use so that you can use them in any environment, gym, or even at home with just bodyweight

=> How to put together a beginner, intermediate, and advanced complex

=> The one thing you must pay attention to when you put together complexes so they’re not awkward, ineffective and increase the risk of injury

=> What rep ranges to use to get more of a metabolic effect and/or a muscle building effect

=> See an example of me going through short complexes and how effective they are (there’s something I do that will show you how much you can get out of them)

=> The simple and effective way to ad them to your current training program whether you train 2,3 or 4x  a week.

=> Discover how I break down a sample 12-week program where you can ad complexes including rep ranges, sets and recovery times

The original Javorek barbell complex was:

=> Barbell upright row x 6

=> Barbell high pull snatch x 6

=> Barbell back squat and push press x 6

=> Barbell good morning x 6

=> Barbell bent over row x 6

This complex ^^^ is tough for most because it has some technical aspects which need some coaching.

The great thing is that you can work up to more technical lifts and it’s just a one of the many progressions you can incorporate as you improve efficiency.

To help you out with implementing this now I decided to put together some examples of complexes for you that you can do with different tools (starter, beginner, intermediate, advanced) right away starting today.





Here is a barbell complex I did years ago in our old Vigor Ground Renton Fitness Gym with 135 lbs. This is pretty brutal especially since it was for 5 rounds with 60 second breaks in between (it was week 8 of a progressive program):

I mentioned this in the video but here is a simple progressive program you can implement with any of the above complexes.

Progressive Program

There is a lot of room to play with depending on your level of fitness. You can make complexes more (or less by doing the opposite) challenging by:

=> Choosing more difficult or complex exercises

=> Increasing sets and/or reps

=> Decreasing the recovery time

=> Increasing the load

=> Increasing the speed you get it done in (density)

=> Adding more exercises to the complex

Here are some other helpful tips when it comes to complexes:

  • When organizing a complex you must make sure that it has a logical flow, especially in the bar passing over your head. An example would be – doing RDL’s first and then back squats right after – how did you get the bar to the back? It should have a flow to it so it doesn’t disrupt the complex in where it slows it down or increases risk of injury.
  • It’s difficult to consider rep ranges at times but for metabolic purposes 6-10/exercise is best. 3-5 reps is great for higher loads and building muscle with big exercises (a topic for another time)
  • Something we have started doing at Vigor Ground Renton Gym is not using the same rep range for all the exercises because some muscles need more (or less to get stimulated). For instance, we always choose the weight based on the weakest movement. So in a complex with RDL’s, rows, cleans, front squats, presses, back squats; the weakest link here is the press – so we’d base the weight on that weakest movement, the press.

Since it takes more to stimulate muscle in other movements like the RDL, row, squat – we may do:

=> RDL x 10

=> Rows x 12

=> Cleans x 6

=> Front Squat x 10

=> Press x 6

=> Back Squat x 12

This way we give some movements more volume than others.

For the first workouts try to keep the sets of complexes to 3 or under so you get used to it and don’t fatigue and do them with bad form.

For some variety, this variation is great for strength building. Basically you drop a rep each set and add weight. Be careful here as the weight goes up quickly.


Push Press
Back Squat
Good Morning

Set 1: 8 reps with 65 lbs
Set 2: 7 reps with 85 lbs
Set 3: 6 reps with 105 lbs
Set 4: 5 reps with 125 lbs
Set 5: 4 reps with 145 lbs
Set 6: 3 reps with 165 lbs
Set 7: 2 reps with 185 lbs
Set 8: 1 rep with 205 lbs

This is assuming you can do the exercises with that weight. You can ad or subtract based on your fitness level. This looks easy on paper. That’s the only place it will be easy on.

Pick Me Up

Here are some more of my favorite barbell complexes that you can use with the above progressions.

Complex #1

Front Squat
Military Press
Back Squat
Good Morning

Complex #2

Clean Grip High Pull
Back Squat
Good Morning

Complex #3

Hang Snatch
Overhead Squat
Front Squat Grip Reverse Lunges
Push Press
Good Mornings

Don’t let this information overwhelm you. Ad complexes to your program in a way I outlined even if just one time a week and work your way up making sure your form is good. Progress slowly and stay steady and compliant and watch how your body composition and conditioning improves!

If you’ve done different training programs and methods and you constantly get stuck and plateau, you’re frustrated and you lose motivation even though you desire to build the body the body you want with the confidence to go along with it; and you’re ready to make a serious change and commit to a program that will get you guaranteed results if you follow through, then let’s have a conversation to find out what is holding you back and how you can get on the right track to your results (the discovery session is at no charge with no string attached other that you’re an action taker and ready to make a change in your life).

Fill out the application for the Discovery Session here:

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