Category Archives: complexes exercises

300 Pound Complexes For Max Strength

300-Pound Complexes For Max Strength

Here’s what you need to know…

• Max strength makes everything better, from hypertrophy to fat loss.
• Really heavy, strength-based complexes will challenge your work capacity and your manhood.
• The bar must be in your hands for at least 15 seconds to stimulate muscle growth.
• A 300-pound complex, not to mention a 408-pound complex, is jaw dropping (see the videos below).

When you hear the word “complex,” you immediately think of some gut-busting combination of movements performed for high reps.
I don’t blame you for making this association. Certainly doing 10 reps of deadlifts, cleans, Romanian deadlifts, and push-presses in a row can leave a lasting feel-good impression on even the most battle-weathered lifter’s psyche.
High-rep complexes have their place, like when you want to test your will or see exactly what your gas tank holds. However, this isn’t about any of that.
This is about heavy-ass, 300-pound complexes. Complexes that make you freaking strong.

Max Strength is King

I train a lot of athletes. Conditioning is important, but strength is their highest priority – because max strength makes everything better.
To paraphrase Dan John, your abilities are buckets, but your max-strength bucket makes all the other buckets easier to fill. And strength complexes make your max-strength bucket grow from a watering can to a wheelbarrow!
Get more max strength and everything else becomes easier. When you’re stronger you can do more reps at a higher weight, you can condition harder, and you can even get shredded faster because more max strength lets you push yourself harder.
That said, strength complexes aren’t the easy alternative to the soul-sucking, endurance-based complexes you’re used to. They’re tough. They’ll challenge your work capacity, and typically there’ll be one movement (or more) in the mix that makes you question your abilities and maybe even your manhood.

Strength Complexes for Max Strength

Max Strength is King
First, some points to remember. Strength complexes are low-rep, high-weight parings of movements performed without letting the bar leave your hand.
When using them with the Olympic lifts, start with one of the main lifts (the snatch or clean) and then add other primary movements to the pot.
It’s important to pair movements that increase the time under tension (TUT), a concept generally reserved for hypertrophy. In our case, TUT ostensibly means that once the bar is in your hands it shouldn’t hit the ground again until the complex is over or you miss a lift.
So if you were to do multiple deadlifts in a strength complex, you should try to do “touch and go” deadlifts as opposed to completely resetting the bar.
But while TUT is an important concept, it isn’t normally applied to Olympic lifts because you’re dealing with big complex movements and not simple eccentric and concentric muscular action.
To that end, your aim is to keep the bar in your hands for 15 seconds or more to stimulate strength and muscle growth, a concept I borrowed from the king of American weightlifting, Glenn Pendlay, who inspired these complexes.
Pendlay told me, “With strength complexes, we want to take a movement that normally takes 2 seconds or less (the Olympic lifts) and extend its length to the limits of our abilities, while also challenging our max strength levels.”

Rules of a Strength Complex:

  • 2-4 movements
  • 1-2 repetitions per exercises
  • 5-7 reps total in the complex
  • 15-20 seconds total time with the bar in hand

Most importantly, don’t choose sets and reps or even percentages ahead of time – with strength complexes, choose a starting weight and work up until you find a weight that you can no longer complete.

Heavy Snatch Complex

This complex consists of a deadlift, a snatch from below the knee, two overhead squats, and finally a snatch balance. This complex targets everyone’s weakest points in the snatch:

  • The move from the floor
  • The move around the knee
  • Overhead position

Use this complex to attack your weaknesses and build massive strength on top of that goal.
In the video below I’m completing this complex with 220 pounds (about double what I normally use for a typical complex).

300-Pound Clean Complex

I got this complex from Pendlay, who prescribes it early in a training cycle to improve strength and promote hypertrophy.
In the variation in the video below I do:

  • 1 Clean Deadlift
  • 1 Hang Clean from below the knee
  • 2 Front Squats
  • 1 Jerk

The concept here is to:

  • Make the jerk really hard because your legs are extremely fatigued.
  • Keep the bar in your hands a long time.

My 300-pound complex was my limit – exactly where you should aim to put your strength complexes. If you’re a strong-ass mofo, this is the time to really get after it!

Even-Heavier Clean Complex

A favorite lifter of Coach Pendlay’s, Donny Shankle, does a “Shankle” complex of:

  • 1 Deadlift
  • 3 Hang pulls from hip
  • 1 Hang Clean
  • 2 Jerks (he misses one in the video but makes it in others)

The following video is one of the more impressive things I’ve ever seen in American weightlifting. Get ready for it – Shankle does this complex with 408 pounds!

How to Use Strength Complexes

So why the different movements for Donny Shankle and me?
It comes down to specific needs. My front squat sucks so I choose exercises to help address it.
You should do the same. If you have trouble pulling the bar, then add more pulls; if you have trouble getting in the right position overhead, then use a snatch balance or an extra jerk.
This way you attack your weak points while maintaining your strengths, which is the hallmark of sound strength programming.

Slap on Some Plates

There’s something to be said for high-rep, puke-in-your-shoes type of complexes – there aren’t many things you can do in the gym that test your testicular fortitude more.
But don’t be scared to slap on some plates and start throwing around some real weight. Your efforts will be rewarded with radical gains in size and strength!

Complexes: Different, Harder, and Better

by Wil Fleming – 11/01/2012

Complexes: Different, Harder, and Better
I know what you’re all thinking: another article about complexes that I’ll never use cause I want to be big and strong, not just smash myself.
I feel your pain. Complexes have been covered extensively in the fitness and bodybuilding media, including T Nation. That said, this ain’t your momma’s complex training article – what you’re about to read may be the Greatest Complex Article of All Time (yeah, I said that).

So How’s This different?

The complexes in this article will help you burn fat, get strong as an ox, and put your will to the test. Granted, there are many complexes already published that can accomplish this, but these are different.
They use different rules, different implements, and way different rep schemes than what you’re used to. And the results they deliver give new meaning to the expression “change is good.”

New Rules for the Complex

Complexes: Different, Harder, and Better

1. Pick an implement.

Barbell complexes are the most popular and are what I choose to do most of my complexes with (Im an Olympic lifter, so it makes sense).
However, any implement will do. Kettlebells, sandbags, dumbbells, or a TRX can all be the tools of your destruction. Each implement has its advantages and disadvantages, so use them accordingly.
For instance, barbells suck when it comes to upper body pulling exercises, and the TRX sucks for vertical pressing exercises. Pick something and rock it out the best you can.

2. Choose from several categories (or just a couple).

With barbells I like to choose from tons of categories. Pretty much every complex has an explosive movement, some sort of hinging and squatting pattern, and likely some pressing or pulling.
When it comes to the other tools, you can still do the same thing and stay balanced, but an alternative is to smoke a particular movement pattern or a body part.

  • Use the kettlebell to just work on your conditioning by doing a ton of swings, snatches, and carries.
  • Using the TRX or suspension trainer, pick multiple movements that require a ton of stability, and targeted ab exercises to hammer your core.

If you choose from multiple categories you can get an awesome finisher; if you choose from just a couple you can dominate some body part training.
The list below offers some ideas for movements from each category.

Categories Sandbag Kettlebell Dumbbell TRX
Explosive Rotational Snatch,
Split Clean,
Deadlift Jumps
Split Jumps,
Squat Jumps,
Split Jerk
Jump Squats,
Sprinter Starts,
Pistol Jumps
Lower Body Push Bear Hug Squat,
Shouldered Squat,
Overhead Squat,
Rotational Lunge
Goblet Squat,
Threaded Lunge,
Reverse Lunge w/ Rotation,
Dbl Front Squat
Goblet Squat,
Reverse Lunge
RFE Split Squat,
Assisted Pistols
Lower Body Pull Zercher Good Morning,
Single-Leg RDL
Single-Leg RDL,
Single-Leg RDL,
Stiff-Leg King Deadlift
SHELC (Supine Hip Extension to Leg Curl) Supine Sprinters
Upper Body Push Shoulder to Shoulder Press,
Push Press
Racked Press,
Push Press,
Floor Press
Push Press
Push-Up Variations (Hands In or Out),
Triceps Extensions,
Handstand Push-Ups
Upper Body Pull Bent Over Row (Again) Bent Over Row,
Double Sumo DL High Pull,
Renegade Row
Renegade Row,
Bent-Over Row
Inverted Row,
YTI Rows,
Miscellaneous Crawl and Drags,
Shouldered Get-Ups,
Turkish Get-Up,
Chops and Lifts,
Knee Tucks,
Core Worm

3. Use rep schemes that make it interesting.

We always see the same thing, “Do x reps for x sets.” It’s time to ditch that line of thinking!
Try some innovative ways to use complexes in terms of sets and reps. Here are some that I use:

Ascending/Descending Pyramids (1,2,3,…3,2,1)

Complexes: Different, Harder, and Better
Start with 1 rep of each exercise and move through. Each set add a rep until you can add no more. Then, descend the pyramid back until you finish with 1 rep again. When it gets hard, tell yourself that after you finish the hardest set (the top of the pyramid), it’ll only get easier.

Accommodating Complexes (AC)

You know yourself better than any coach, so why not figure out yourself how many reps you can do on each exercise?
For instance, say you can do 10 kettlebell swings, but only 3 snatches per arm, 8 goblet squats, and 15 Romanian deadlifts? Voila! You now have the perfect rep scheme for your kick-ass kettlebell complex.

Complex Drop Sets (DS)

Pick your exercises, sets, and reps; say 3 sets of 6 reps on every exercise.Now choose a challenging weight and get to work on your 3 sets.
At the end of 3 sets drop the movement that’s most challenging, or the one where you were closest to technical failure. For each set after that, move up in weight to challenge yourself and approximate the volume from the first 3 sets.

The Sandbag Complex

Complexes: Different, Harder, and Better
I’m a big fan of the sandbag. Adding in a rotational component to exercises makes it an awesome tool for athletes needing greater stability in all planes of motion.
The cool thing about the sandbag is that it offers so many different options for holding it. While the barbell offers very little in the way of changing grips, with the sandbag we can shoulder it, hug it, crossbody hug it, and Zercher hold it. The possibilities are many, and each different grip or hold offers a different set of challenges.
Here’s an example:

Order Exercise Reps
A Split Clean 5*
B Rotational Lunge 4*
C Push Press 8
D Zercher Good Morning 8
E Shouldered Get-Up 2*

In the video below my athlete is using an 80-pound bag and he’s getting crushed by the end.

The KB Complex

Complexes: Different, Harder, and Better
Everything is rosy when you have 2 hands firmly on a barbell, but it can be a different story when you’re forced to move unilaterally. The beautiful thing about many kettlebell movements is that they’re designed to be completed one hand at a time.
This complex forces you to brace for rotation, and can absolutely smoke your core. I use this with drop sets by working up to 3 sets of 5 reps and then dropping the hardest exercise, in this case, the Single Leg Romanian Deadlift Plus Row.
Once that beast is out, I move up in weight with my ‘bells while thanking the Almighty for taking mercy on me, and move on.

Order Exercise Sets Reps
A One-Arm Swing 3 5 each*
B Threaded Lunge 3 5 each*
C SLRDL + Row 3 5 each*
D Strict Press 3 5 each*

The 2 KB Complex

This is one of my favorite complexes for developing strength. There aren’t many things harder than working with two heavy-ass kettlebells.
In no scientific way whatsoever, I’ve determined that a double-kettlebell front squat is just as difficult as a barbell front squat with twice the weight. Seriously though, even the strongest athletes wilt under two racked kettlebells.
In this video my athlete is on his 3-rep set as he descends the backside of the 1-5 pyramid illustrated below. Needless to say, he’s smoked.

Order Exercise Reps
A Double Clean 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
B Front Squat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
C Push Press 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
D Sumo Deadlift High Pull 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

And Now, Introducing Monkey Jumps

This complex features a move that I named monkey jumps a long time ago, before I had ever seen a real monkey in nature or a zoo, and it turns out monkeys don’t actually do this.
The name stays, though.
Monkey jumps are just the C exercises of this complex, and combine an alternating split jump with a high pull on each jump. They may look funny, but the truth is they actually have some carryover to the Olympic lifts as it mimics the timing of pulling yourself down to the bar.

Order Exercise Reps
A Snatch 5
B Split Jerk 5
C Monkey Jumps 5
D Renegade Rows 5

TRX Complex

If you ever get the urge to do a complex on a beach or in a forest (which I’m embarrassed to say has happened to me on more than one occasion), and don’t have access to your kettlebells and dumbbells, you’re basically out of luck. However, if you happened to have a suspension trainer with you, you’re ready to rock it out no matter where you find yourself.
This is a killer complex if you use it in an ascending fashion. In the video below I filmed my set of 5 reps as I worked up to 8 reps of each exercise.

Order Exercise Reps
A SHELC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
B Push-Ups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
C Core Worm 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
D Handstand Push-Ups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Obligatory Barbell Complex

You didn’t think that I’d leave this one out did you? Like Vin Diesel in The Fast and Furious series, you knew the barbell had to make an appearance, even if only for a moment at the end.
For this cameo I’m going way back in the archives to bring out the Javorek complex, appropriately named after its creator, Istvan (Steve) Javorek.
So how is the oldest complex in the book any different from the hundreds of complexes you have seen before?
Big ass weights.
Javorek writes of the need to do this complex at extremely high weights as a predictor of future performance. He tells tales of this complex being completed with 240 pounds by Romanian weightlifters, and 220-pound exploits by American record holders.
I personally witnessed my former Olympian coach complete this complex with over 200 pounds. After picking my jaw up from the floor and searching for my manhood, I completed this complex with 165 pounds. I went on to clean 330 pounds later that training cycle.
But in case you’re not going to the Olympics, there’s a very simple rule to follow to make sure this complex will challenge your strength and will: use 50% of your 1RM clean and jerk.
The 50% rule is what the best athletes are able to do with this 30-rep complex and it provides an indicator of what you’re capable of (with good technique) on the platform.
In the video below of the Javorek complex, I’m using 143 pounds (which is about 50% of my current 300-pound clean and jerk 1RM).

Order Exercise Reps
A Barbell Upright Row 6
B Barbell Muscle Snatch 6
C Back Squat to Push Press 6
D Good Morning 6
E Bent Over Row 6


Complexes are a fantastic, multifaceted tool, and using a variety of tools and many different rep schemes makes them even better.
When you’re stumped for a training session, crave some variety, or just want to punish yourself, there’s likely a complex for you. If you manage to get through all of these complexes, I’m certain that your next challenge will be how to design a complex of sleeping, eating, and napping.

Brutal Complexes

Brutal Complexes
Much has been written about an old but brutal friend of mine. A friend to whom I was first introduced the day I walked into my first real weight room – a dark and dusty pit stacked with chalk-dusted bumper plates and Eleiko bars; a sanctuary for incredibly strong people to clean, snatch, squat, and otherwise dominate massive weights.
This old friend has a name: .
A complex is a series of exercises done in succession, wherein all reps of a prescribed exercise are completed before moving onto the next without ever putting the implement down, which in most cases is a barbell.
This isn’t to be confused with the , where a strength lift is followed by an explosive lift for the same pattern, such as a front squat and a jump squat.
Recently, complexes have been gaining mainstream popularity due to their efficiency. They’re being touted as the quickest, most effective way to get a workout. Heck, you don’t even have to have much weight on hand to do them!
And all of the above are true. You can get a complete workout in 15 minutes just by doing 3 sets of a given complex. Get in and get out, leaving plenty of time for Home Depot and maybe even Bed Bath and Beyond. No wonder complexes are so popular!
However, that kind of complex isn’t the one I remember. No, the complexes that haunt my memories were formidable beasts that we had to endure every training session. Our complexes were designed to finish us off and send us stumbling out the door, lungs still burning long after the training session was finished.
The complexes in this article are like the ones I recall. They’ll challenge you. They may even leave you lying on the ground in a sweaty heap and looking forward to rolling out of the weight room, if only so you can get back up on your feet.

  • Each of the complexes outlined below are to be done with a barbell, and are designed to improve your Olympic lifting skill, strength, and power.
  • I suggest completing 5-8 reps per movement, and doing 3-4 sets of each complex. If your form turns to crap, then reduce the weight or the number of reps that you’re doing each set.
  • As a metabolic conditioning tool, complexes can also be used to finish off a training session. Each of these complexes is perfect for the athlete seeking strength, but needs a little more conditioning to lean up or improve endurance. Just up the reps and reduce the rest, and do 2-3 rounds of a given complex at the end of a workout.
  • If you’re focusing on technique as part of your complex, use a work to rest ratio of 1:1 or greater. You want these to ‘suck’ because they’re difficult and metabolically challenging, not because you get injured doing them.

The Rules of Complexes

Brutal Complexes
I designed the three complexes below. You can design your own, but you need to follow the rules of the game:

1. Start with the hardest stuff.

Start with the most technical movement first. Typically, this means an Olympic lift. If you don’t include an O lift, then pick something else that’s taxing to the entire body.

2. Make it flow.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but work your way up and down the chain, and don’t make any wasted movements. For instance, if you started with a push press, don’t do a deadlift next and then go back to a front squat – your hands will hate you and you’ll waste considerable energy moving the bar up and down.

3. Choose from several categories.

There aren’t many things that you can’t put in a complex, but you have to love your ‘pullers’ as much as your precious ‘pushers.’ So don’t design a complex that consists of push presses, lunges, behind the neck presses, and squats. The backside of the body needs attention too.
Try selecting from different categories of movements based on what you’re doing in training to make the best total body complex you can.

Categories Barbell Moves
Explosive/Olympic lifting Snatch, power clean, hang snatch, power snatch, clean pull, squat clean, squat snatch, split jerks, squat jumps, split clean, split snatch
Lower Body Push Back squat, front squat, forward lunge, reverse lunge
Lower Body Pull Deadlift, sumo deadlift, Romanian deadlift, single-leg Romanian deadlift, good morning
Upper Body Push Press, push press, behind the neck press, split stance press
Upper Body Pull Bent over row (sorry, not a lot of options while you’re on your feet)
Miscellaneous Bar rollouts, push ups, Turkish get-ups

4. Make it mean something.

Training should always have a goal. Although the following complexes are brutal, each has a specific goal – some are for technical improvement in the Olympic lifts while others are for conditioning at the end of a training session. So pick a goal and get after it.
If you’re training for strength, complexes should have several strength-based moves for low reps – 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps per movement. Rest times between sets of complexes should be large (twice the time it took to finish the complex).
If you’re training to get leaner and need to address your anaerobic metabolism, simply use more reps. The rest to work ratio on these should be close to 1:1 or even less.
If you’re trying to improve your Olympic lifts, then use a specific complex each day to target your weak points. Do 2 sets of no more than 5 reps for your O-lift, and 5-8 reps for everything else.

The Clean Complex V 2.0

Brutal Complexes

This complex is extremely technical in the early portion and a good opportunity to focus on a portion of your clean technique.

  • If you suck pulling from the floor, concentrate on keeping the bar tight as you move to your knees.
  • If you’re shaky in the jerk, focus on sticking each jerk in great position.

The idea is to focus on the technical aspects early in the complex before your legs get fried. It’s hard to improve a skill when you’re doubled over in pain or puking in your sneakers.
Here’s the complex in action:

The Snatch Complex V 2.0

I avoid making most people I coach pull from the floor in the snatch. It’s a position that requires a ton of mobility, and if you happen to be tall, forget about it.
This complex is no different – rather than pulling from the floor, you should pull from the hang, and work on developing your transitions around the knee and at the top of the second pull.
Transitions in Olympic lifting are areas in which the movement seriously changes.
There are three distinct transitions in the lifts:

  1. From the floor.
  2. Around the knee and into the second pull.
  3. At the top of the second pull.

This complex addresses the second and third transition of the lifts. To work on the first transition, all you’d need to do is take the bar to the floor for some snatches at the beginning of the complex. See the video below.

The Beast Complex

Brutal Complexes

Remember how I called the end of the clean complex a grind? Consider this a diamond tipped, industrial strength, super grinder. Your goal for this complex is to simply get through it.
This complex is perfectly suited for athletes that are seeking strength above all else, as there are no technique-heavy Olympic lifts, unlike the previous two complexes.

As a special challenge, I like to do this complex in an ascending/descending ladder format: do 1 rep of each on the first set, 2 reps of each on the second, and so on until you reach 5 reps. Then start again at 5 reps and work your way down to 1.
You’ll hit 30 total reps of each movement and finish your workout soaked in sweat and awesomeness.

Wrapping it Up

Brutal Complexes
Fair warning, if you’re of the “Get in shape in 15 minutes or less!” ilk, these complexes are not for you. Then again, you probably wouldn’t be reading T Nation if you did hail from that shallow end of the gene pool.
But if you’re a hard-working SOB and your aim is to challenge your body and mind to become a better athlete, a better lifter, and a stronger person, then start here. Attack these complexes, get your ass handed to you, and then get back up and attack again.
Suffer, persevere, and conquer – and once you’ve mastered these, use the framework to create your own complex that will precisely target the areas that you need to improve.
Good luck!

Fat Loss Edition Vol 2

In our last installment of TMUSCLE Twitter, we put a few of the TMUSCLE coaches on the spot and asked them to come up with their five essential kitchen tips to kick-start fat loss.
This time, we’re sticking with fat loss but switching to the subject of training. Because after all, even if diet is the biggest player in the fat loss equation, how you train matters, right? Or does it?
Before you take your Christmas bonus and buy the Kung Fu 5000, that latest infomercial fat loss gadget that doubles as an autoerotic asphyxia device while folding up neatly in the closet, give this article a quick read. You might learn a thing or two.

Scenario: Do you have a favorite fat loss routine (a workout complex, a finisher, an ab routine) that you use with all your fat loss clients?

Check it out!

Mike Robertson

I have one exercise that is 100% guaranteed to expedite your fat loss gains. I’m not kidding, guys and gals, this one’s foolproof. It works for EVERYONE.
A little interested, aren’t ya?
They’re called Table Pushaways. Push your fat ass away from the table more often, and it’s amazing what kind of progress you can see.
I’ll be frank — fat loss programming is pretty easy. Maybe not going from 6% to 4%, but the start of the journey is easy with regards to programming.
The diet/nutrition is where people get lost.
Whether it’s peer pressure from friends, emotional issues tied to food, or simply being lazy, if you can get your diet in check and eat a little bit less, you should be pleasantly surprised at the success of your next fat loss training program.

John Romaniello

I don’t have a specific favorite fat loss routine because they vary a lot from client to client, but I certainly have a favorite fat loss protocol.
The idea is to rotate multiple training styles over the course of the week: one day bodyweight, another day density based fat loss training, another day complexes.
Taking it a step further, each workout would use variations of different exercises, but always include one variation of the squat, lunge, press, pull, dynamic abdominal exercise, and static/stability abdominal exercise.
A single workout might be: jump squat, floor press, plank, alternating lunge, pull-up, and ab rollouts. These exercises would be done according to a set up determined by what style of training we’re doing.
Doing this keeps the workouts fresh, the client motivated, and the training stimulus both challenging and varied enough to ensure consistent progress.

Martin Rooney

For my athletes looking to drop fat, I go to my Hurricane Training. Of the five categories, my favorite version utilizes a treadmill and simple weight exercises.
Do a 30 second sprint on the treadmill at 10% grade and about 10 mph (or whatever is comfortable), followed by 10 reps each of two weight exercises like the bench press and barbell curls. Then, you jump right back onto the treadmill and sprint again. The sprints and two lifts are repeated three times to equal one “round.” Rest one minute between rounds and perform two to three more rounds with two new exercises between the sprints.
Good choices are high pulls, chin ups, triceps pushdowns, and push jerks. Keep the intensity high and not only will you lose fat, you’ll gain some muscle too!

Bret Contreras

For fat loss, I like total body strength training workouts with “finishers” at the end. I believe that the Airdyne and Prowler are the two greatest pieces of equipment for fat loss.
With the Airdyne, you’re using your upper body pushing and pulling muscles and your legs to pedal the bike as fast as possible. I like alternating intervals of 20 seconds fast and 40 seconds slow.
With the Prowler, you’re using your lower body to push the sled while contracting your upper body and core muscles for transfer into the sled. I like 30-meter sprints with the Prowler with 60 seconds of rest in-between sets.
An important caveat to these two activities is that there isn’t too much technique to them; any healthy, somewhat athletic individual can do them.

Christian Thibaudeau

It’s more of a technique than a routine. It’s called “put the fork down.” There’s also the advanced version called “stop eating, you fat bastard!” But in all seriousness, there are a few routines that I used when I was training athletes that were always very effective.
This one was a “favorite” of one of my hockey players who played in Europe. Back in 2001, he started the summer at 195lbs and 12% body fat, and ended the summer at 192 and 6% body fat; all without any particular attention to his diet.
 3 reps using around 70-75% of your maximum.
 (basically 100m, turnaround, 100m back to the starting point).
 3 reps with the same weight you used for the snatches.
He started at two sets, and by the end of summer was able to do 14. No, I’m not kidding; but he was also the freakiest overall athlete I’ve ever worked with. Besides him, the most anyone ever did was 8, with three minutes between sets.
If you’re training indoors and can’t do sprints, do burpees (15 reps) or sprint stair climbing (30 seconds).

Chad Waterbury

For fat loss, fast full body exercises are best since they create a large metabolic demand. I’ve used the following sequence for years with clients that need to lose fat and build athleticism.
Start with 50 revolutions of rope jumping, then drop the rope and perform two burpees (a squat thrust with a push-up, and be sure to jump in the air and reach overhead).
Next, do 50 revolutions and four burpees. Then, it’s 50 revolutions and six burpees. Keep adding two burpees each time until you each 10. At that point, decrease the burpees by two each time and work your way back to 50 revolutions and two burpees.
This is an excellent way to finish up your fat burning workout to bring out those “hidden abs.”

Dr. Clay Hyght

All of my fat loss clients that have access to a Step Mill (aka Gauntlet) do a killer 20-minute HIIT routine on it.
Warm-up two minutes, then go ALL OUT for 30 seconds (skipping a step with each stride), followed by 60 seconds at a normal pace (normal single steps). Repeat 12 times. Five of these sessions per week will get you lean FAST!

Tim Henriques

If someone wants to lose weight and will do anything I tell them, I have them get up earlier in the morning and do a brisk 30-60 minute incline walk before breakfast.
Most people should start out walking at 4 mph with a 2% incline for 30 minutes, and try to work up to 4.5 mph with a 4.5% incline for 45 minutes in a couple of months. Do this four or more times a week and you’ll get leaner, guaranteed.
The beauty of walking is you can put it in your regular routine and you won’t overtrain; in fact, you’ll probably recover even better. You can also do this walk after your workout or before bed if necessary, but I do think fasted in the AM is the number one choice for it.

Alwyn Cosgrove

Fat loss training is about maintaining muscle, burning calories and cranking up metabolism. The best programs have always used a combination of weight training and some kind of cardio or interval training (with solid nutrition planning).
However, the fastest training method that I’ve used (with several hundred clients) is a hybrid that we call metabolic resistance training (MRT). Basically, it’s higher rep, density based, short rest-period resistance training.
The usual argument about high reps not working for fat loss is bullshit. Traditional interval training (e.g. running) has always worked for fat loss and that uses VERY high reps! MRT is just taking that same principle and using more muscle than traditional cardio while doing lower reps (albeit still high).
Think higher rep (or about 45-60s work), superset or tri-set style with incomplete rest periods.

Michael Boyle

I’m with Coach Robertson, my favorite fat loss exercise is Table Pushaways. Most people just eat too much and need to push themselves away from the table with greater frequency.
The old saying that you can’t out train a bad diet is so true. I tell my clients seeking to lose fat to forget the word meal and substitute the word “feeding”; five to six small feedings a day is the key. Combine Table Pushaways with Airdyne intervals and you have a pretty good start on fat loss. For intervals, try riding a half mile for time on the AirDyne at a 2-1 rest to work ratio, or better yet, use a HR monitor and just rest until your heart-rate goes under 120 BPM.
But first and foremost, fat loss is primarily a psychological exercise, and requires more mental strength than physical strength.

Jim Wendler

Are people really this confused? Fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated. Push something heavy: a Prowler, a truck, a shopping cart loaded with a couple of your fat fucking friends, it doesn’t matter. Run up hills or stadium stairs. Do this four to seven days a week. Lift four days/week.
Eat less, type less, and train like you have a fight. Repeat.

Nick Tumminello

First off, the only thing that separates a fat loss exercise from a conditioning exercise is the diet. So, if you’re trying to lose fat, tighten up the diet!
One of my personal favorite fat loss exercises are good old fashioned 300-yard shuttle runs performed at the end of a workout, two to three times per week. Depending upon your available space inside or outside, place two cones either 25-yards or 50-yards apart.
Sprint as fast as possible, completing six 25-yard round trips or three 50-yard round trips for a total of 300 yards. This should take you roughly one minute to complete. Perform two to five 300’s per workout, resting three to five minutes between sets.
Be warned, until you adapt to it, this workout will have your legs feeling like over-cooked spaghetti. Exorcist-inspired projectile vomiting is also a common side-effect, so please be kind to the guy who owns the gym and adjust your pre-workout food choices accordingly.

Erick Minor

My favorite fat loss routine combines German Body Composition Training and a ketogenic diet.
For all you fat sum-bitches, follow a 4-day Poliquin GBC program such as the following:

Day 1:
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest Int.
A1) Trap Bar Deadlift 4-5 4-6 30X1 60 sec
A2) Sternum Chin-up- supinated grip 4-5 4-6 2010 60 sec
3 mins after circuit
B1) Step-ups 3-4 8-10 10X0 60 sec
B2) Dips – Chest 3-4 8-12 30X1 60 sec
3 mins after circuits
C1) Glute-Ham Raise 2-3 6-8 30X0 45 sec
C2) Seated DB Shoulder Press 2-3 6-8 30X1 45 sec
C3) Cuban Press 2-3 6-8 30X1 60 sec
Day 2:
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest Int.
A1) Javorek Wave Squats 4 (5,5,5,5) 10X1 60 sec
A2) Hanging Leg raise 4 6-10 2010 60 sec
3 mins after circuit
B1) Incline Thick Bar Press 3-4 4-6 30X1 60 sec
B2) Pull-Up-Pronated, close-grip 3-4 6-8 2010 60 sec
B3) Drop Lunge-front 3-4 6-8 X0X0 60 sec
3 mins after circuit
C1) One-Arm Cable Row-offset stance 3-4 6-8 21X1 45 sec
C2) Reverse Hip Extension 3-4 6-8 2010 45 sec
C3) Low Pulley Upright row 3-4 8-10 30X1 45 sec

Combine this with a ketogenic diet such as Dr. Mauro DePasquale’s Metabolic Diet.
I have personally lost up to 10lbs of fat in less than a month on this type of regimen with no loss of strength or muscle mass. I have many clients who’ve achieved similar results.

Scott Abel

Well, first off, no one can out train a lack of diet consistency for fat loss.
Next, people are too concerned with the “immediate” aspects of fat burning, as in calories burning, rather than the cumulative effects of application and diet. And yes, circuits are great, but they can take people too far away from muscle-development work.
I have dozens of finisher type moves that are strategically placed once or twice per week in programs to enhance fat burning, while not adding too much time, or too much unrelated work. I’ve paid special attention to other sports and have noticed what I call “sequential activation” as a common thread in leaner athletes’ training. I’ve since been implementing various new versions around this concept.
Check out the following two examples at the right: the Shoulder Girdle Core Sequence and Power Sequence, which are samples that can be used after a workout, within a training block to pronounce fat burning.

TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Although what you do in the kitchen remains king, there are a few things you can do in the gym to strip away fat.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Fat loss is a psychological war, not physical.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Prowler Push.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Keep telling yourself she finds chubby guys attractive.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Training like a fighter is never a bad idea.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2You don’t need to get to a crowded gym to get your heart rate up.

The Power Sequence

The Shoulder Girdle Blast

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