• Understanding complexes

    By The W10 Team

    Now complexes, a series of exercises done back to back without resting, are nothing new, they have been around for some time. If you want some examples, a simple Google search will provide access to hundreds, but understanding why and how to use them to fit your goal can make all the difference.

    You can adapt pretty much any complex to suit sour goals by simply changing the way you perform them, but here are a two simple rules that I like to follow.

    1. For strength and technique I would suggest keeping the reps low, giving yourself plenty of rest and trying to lift as heavy as possible, in good form of course.
    1. For fat loss and conditioning, we can get after a bit more volume. Just make sure that the work rate is consistent, I like timed sets, aiming to keep the number of rounds performed constant throughout.

    I use complexes a lot in my training, so here is a bit more insight into how I do it.

    Strength and technique

    As an Olympic weightlifter I use complexes early in my training phases to work on my areas of weakness. I assess my technique on a particular lift and find my weak link, which I then address in the complex. If I notice that I am shifting my weight to my toes too early in the jerk for example, I will add in a pause at the bottom of the dip to correct this.

    It is also a great way to improve conditioning and add some muscle in the right areas getting me ready for some heavier lifting later down the line. I place these at the front of the session when I am fresh and keep the reps a little lower and make sure that I get enough rest between sets. This way I can ensure the quality of the reps is high. I like to do these for multiple sets and I would push the weight in these, aiming to set a new PB for the complex.

    It’s all about getting stronger after all.

    A simple one for improving my Jerk would be:

    1x Power Clean

    2x Front Squat

    3x Pause Jerk

    With any complex you will always be testing the weakest link.

    So in the complex above the jerk is going to be the limiting factor. If you wanted to work on your second pull in the clean you may change it to:

    3x Hang Pull

    2x Clean

    1x Jerk

    A simple change but now we are working on a different element of the lift.

    Fat Loss and conditioning

    For those of you who are looking for a quick way to get into shape you should consider adding complexes to the end of your workout, for a brutal finisher.

    I like to use these with a set weight, not too heavy relatively speaking, and go for time. Again, I always look to improve from my last workout. So if I completed 5 rounds in 10 minutes last time I’m trying to get 6 the next time.

    Continual improvement is a key element of any training program.

    I will give you a couple of different examples here:

    Dan John KB Complex

    2x Clean

    1x Press

    3x Front Squat

    Now this looks pretty simple on paper but get the weight right and this is brutal. I tend to use my 5rep max for the press as this will be most people’s limiting factor and this seems to work pretty well for most. I like to use timed sets for this one, as many rounds as possible in 15 -20mins for example.

    Give it a try and see if you can do it without swearing.

    Trebor Complex

    4x Bent Over Row

    3x Deadlift

    2x Power Clean

    1x Thruster

    Again, depending on technique, overhead strength will probably be the limiting factor here so your 5 rep max on the push press will serve as a good marker for this one, but we are all different and this is a particularly tough complex, so air on the side of caution.

    You could also go for time on this one as well if you a wanted but another option is to perform one round on the minute for 10-15mins, which is not much fun, but highly effective.

    Modified Jarovek DB Complex

    1x Deadlift

    2x Bent Over Row

    1x Clean

    1x Squat

    1x Press

    1x Burpee

    This is a little more complicated but it gets you, its very tough, and you don’t need much weight - a set of 15kg dumbells will challenge the strongest of you.

    I like using timed sets for this one, performing as many rounds in 90secs, resting for 90secs, before repeating.  This is a tough one, so don’t set too much of ambitious target here on your first attempt and aim to remain consistent in how many rounds you get each time. 5-6 rounds should serve as a good finisher, 10 rounds is a workout in itself.

    Contact us on 0203 489 5428 or drop us an email on info@w10performance.com to find out about training at W10 Performance.


You Might Also Like

Quick Browse
    • How often should you train for best results?


      Everyone wants the answer to the age old question: How often should I train to get results? The honest answer (as with most things) is: it depends. The key to the question is better answered from the standpoint of how well you can recover. There's a lot of talk about over training (exceeding the physical

      Read More
    • 5 best ab exercises

      The 5 Best Ab Exercises You Can Do


      These five ab movements are more effective than any crunch or sit up. And so it begins… Summer is around the corner and we’re already starting to see articles and ads for 7 day ab transformations. "Do a 100 sit ups or ab crunches a day and you’ll start to see a rippling 6 pack."

      Read More
    • best exercises to reduce lower back pain

      5 of the best exercises for lower back pain


      How frequently do you experience lower back pain? We live in a world where a large percentage of people spend most of their time sitting down. Whether that be on the way to work, during work, coming home from work and watching TV or doing work at home, it’s no wonder our bodies are breaking

      Read More
    • Holiday workout ideas

      Simple and effective holiday workout ideas


      Easter Holiday Workouts One of the questions we've always been asked over the years is “I’m going on holiday, there isn’t a gym, what should I do?” The good news is that nature has blessed us all with an amazing tool called “our body” and it can be used to great effect with simple movements...

      Read More
    • Fitness fads 4 things consider

      4 Tips To Develop A Health And Fitness B.S Filter


      Fitness can sometimes be overwhelming. New trends pop up every single week... Should you choose spinning? Yoga? Do intermittent fasting? Go low carb? Go vegan? We all seem to get shiny object syndrome when we hear about these things, especially if whoever we hear them from got good short-term results. Here are a few things

      Read More
    • Eating healthy not losing weight

      Working out, eating well but not losing weight?


      Here’s why. So we’re well into the New Year now, and after December’s festivities you’re back into the swing of things with your training and healthy eating. You’ve done the dreaded weigh in and calculated your BMR (basal metabolic rate - the amount of calories your body needs to function at rest). From this you’ve

      Read More

Start Your 30 Day Trial Today

If you’re ready to make a change, you can start now. Register online and book your first session today.

Start Today

Set up in 2009 by founder Jean-Claude Vacassin (a regular health and fitness contributor to the Daily Telegraph) the W10 Performance gym is located in West London at 202-208 Kensal Road, London W10 5BN. W10’s Gym memberships offer personal training, nutrition advice, yoga, boxing, HITT and other functional fitness classes. They also have physio and sports massage practitioners onsite. They are proud to offer a high level of fitness to residents and local workers in Kensal Rise, Kensal Green, Queens Park, Willesden, Kilburn, Harlesden, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington and Westbourne Park areas.


Find us The Basement, 202-208 Kensal Road, London W10 5BN

Call us on 020 3489 5428