Complex Training is an effective and efficient method of training that is appropriate for people of all ages and ability levels. Personal trainers, competitive athletes and weekend warriors can benefit from Complex Training.

The term “complex” connotes the stringing together of a series of compound movements into one multi-repetition set, or “training complex.”  The theory behind complex training is that by performing both strength and explosive in this arrangement, both fast and slow twitch muscles are trained, stimulating the nervous system.  I love a good theory as much as the next guy, but the results that come from including Complex Training in your routine is what makes this method of training worth talking about.

Complex Training is very popular among combat athletes – wrestlers, mixed-martial arts fighters, grapplers and kick boxers – but can be an effective method of training for anyone who can properly perform the basic strength and explosive/Olympic lifts.  Typically, plyometric exercises are included in the complexes, alternated with strength lifts.  However, effective complexes can be performed that include strength and explosives lifts, as well.

Personal trainers and strength coaches should include Complex Training in their own workouts and in the workouts of their clients as well.

In this video clip in demonstrate a basic warm-up routine and one “complex;” Romanian dead lift, hang clean, front squat and push press repeated eight times. Repeat this complex 3-5 times when using it as part of a training routine. One other note, rather than use a traditional 7-foot Olympic bar, I use a fat bar with a 2-inch circumference that is more challenging.  This routine provides a potent training stimulus.

The variations of complexes that you can come up with are endless and the more creative you are the more effective and fun this type of training can be.  Check back over the next week or so to learn about other complexes that you can include in your workouts.  Personal trainers and fitness consumers alike can benefit from Complex Training.


  1. I disagree that complex training is for people of all ages and abilities. I think plyometrics may be unsafe for untrained individuals.
    Also, while complex training is quite commonly used as a training mode in power sports and has a promising physiological rationale, it’s efficacy remains debatable as the research findings are equivocal. This is probably due to the variable nature of the rest interval between the resistance and plyometric sets during exercise testing and the optimal rest interval has not yet been determined. This means achieving post-activation potentiation has generally proven erratic.


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