If your goal is to lose body fat and add some conditioning work to your routine, barbell complexes will be a good adjunct to your overall plan.A barbell complex can be defined as one large superset of various exercises (the number of exercises and reps can vary) completed without stopping or setting the bar down. Running through all of the exercises once would constitute a set and is usually followed by a rest period. Multiple sets would be completed in a given session — typically at least three.

The following complex is different in regards to the following:

1.It is based on a whole-body and movement based system – i.e. multiple exercises for multiple muscle groups and movements in a balanced format.

2. The routine will involve unloading the bar (preferably with the help of a training partner or spotter) to optimize loads for each exercise.

3. Reps are in a descending format for each subsequent set to accommodate fatigue.


Here is the Routine:


Barbell Routine
The BB Squat is the heaviest loaded exercise in the workout routine. Its load has a value of 100% and all other exercises are given a percentage value of this accordingly. Therefore, any increases or decreases in weight will be proportionate across all lifts e.g. if the BB squat weight increases by 50% from 40kg to 60kg,  BB reverse lunges will increase from 30kg to 45kg, BB Push press increases from 20kg to 30kg, and so on with each exercise. If you are unsure about loads, it is advised to do the routine with an unloaded 20kg Olympic barbell and gauge intensity and loads thereafter.


A video sequence containing a few reps of each exercise in the complex is below:

The complex works by using sub-maximal loads to create a high intensity training effect. Conditioning the energy systems occurs when lots of musculature is worked to the point of having a deficit in energy substrates. By doing more sub-maximal reps, you can improve muscular endurance as well as overall endurance (the uptake and delivery of energy substrates). Just as with all training, when performing a Barbell complex technique is of paramount importance.

A downloadable male and female PDF version of the routine is below:

pdf iconBarbell Complex 1 – Female version

pdf iconBarbell Complex 1 – Male version