Barbell Complex : Fear the Barbell
In the recent years, the trend of weight training has caught up dramatically. Go to any gym and you’ll see more people pounding on the iron than you see people hogging on the treadmill. And rightfully so, times have changed and time and again research has proven that a combination of weight training and cardio produces better results than just performing endless hours of cardio.
We want quicker and optimal results hence training smart is equally important as training hard is. But what if we could get the best of both worlds at the same time? What if there was a way to save our time and deliver us results more optimally? To be honest, cardio is dreading. I personally can’t walk on the treadmill for hours and waste productivity away. I know a lot of us are busy people and don’t have that kind of luxury. This is where Barbell Complex comes into play.
Let me quickly explain to you what Barbell complexes are. Well, to keep it simple, it’s a combination of three or more exercises done one after another without letting it rest. It’s kind of like a circuit workout using just the barbell and your body. But where it differs from typical circuit training is that barbell complexes are done in relatively lower reps, allowing you to lift heavier weights in each movement. And that allows you to build muscle more effectively.
Barbell complexes are usually done with explosive, multi-joint movements starting with the movement where you can lift the least weight in and ending with your strongest movement. This is because of the fact that since we are not going to be changing weights while we’re on the set, the set progressively becomes harder as our muscles get more and more involved in the movements. So something like upright rows would come before deadlifts and not the other way around.
Now, let’s talk about the workout as a whole. One way to do it is to try to finish as many circuits in a given time as possible, the traditional AMRAP style (As Many Reps As Possible). Let’s say we set up our stopwatches at 10 minutes and do as many circuits as possible in that time with minimum rest between sets just to keep us going. Oh trust me when I say this.. IT’S BRUTAL!
The other way would be to complete set number of circuits with fixed rest intervals between each circuit. Let’s say, something like 8 circuits with 60 secs rest in between each circuit.
Barbell Complex can be incorporated in your workout in different ways. The most common way to incorporate them would be to have them on your active rest days. If you are like me, you won’t work out 7 days a week because your body needs rest to recover and come back stronger. SO you can incorporate these on your rest days since these
are not as taxing to your muscles and CNS (Central Nervous System) as a full blown workout. So a quick (but brutal) 10-20 mins high intensity workout would be optimal on your rest days.
The other way is to do them as finishers by putting them at the end of your main workout. Don’t forget to take some rest and some intraworkout recovery nutrition ( I personally use Amino Energy by ON) after you’re done with your main workout.
Since these are not like your average conventional cardio, I wouldn’t advise to do them every day. These are taxing to your body in terms of cardio so I’d advise to perform them not more than 3 times per week on alternate days. Beginners can start with one session per week and build it up from that. Slow and steady is the way to go and consistency is the secret to success.
All in all, everybody is different and have various preferences. Barbell Complex might not be for everyone. But if your goal is to get the most out of your efforts in the shortest time, this just might be something you’ve been waiting for. It is also advisable to incorporate them in your training regimen if your goal is to maximize sports performance. It gets you stronger, provides explosiveness and helps build stamina that your sport requires.
Always remember, it’s not about the number of hours you train but it’s about the type of intensity you put in your workouts that gets you the result.
BEGINNER WORKOUT (8 REPS OF EACH MOVEMENT)
(6 REPS OF EACH MOVEMENT)
If you’re crazy enough, try the 20 min AMRAP