Exercise Complex Database: List of Complex Workouts

The table below contains a list of exercise complexes.  You can use it to filter and search for new workouts.  Be sure to click the  to get the details and video of each workout.  If you want more information on complexes, read the content the table.

Be sure to check out my Not-So Complex Program based almost entirely of complex exercises

If I’m missing your favorite complex, please contact me and let me know the details!

Source or VideoName/DescriptionEquipmentBody PartsUni/Bi*Planes**Diff. ExercisesTags

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Overhead Squat x 6-8

  • Swings (like kettlebell swings) x 6-8

  • Bentover Row x 8-10

  • Reverse Lunge and Twist x 8-10 total

  • Diagonal Chops x 6-8 each side

Tuminello's Weight Plate Metabolic CircuitWeight PlateTotal BodyBothS, T5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Deadlift

  • Romanian Deadlift

  • Bentover Row

  • Power Clean

  • Front Squat

  • Push Press

  • Back Squat

  • Good Morning


One round 1, perform 6 reps/exercise, rest 90 sec then repeat with 5 reps/exercise. Continue until 1 rep/exercise.
Cosgrove's Evil 8BarbellTotal BodyBiS8

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Deadlift

  • Romanian Deadlift

  • Bentover Row

  • Power Clean

  • Front Squat

  • Push Press

  • Back Squat

  • Good Morning


Perform 6 reps/exercise against a stopwatch, and try to beat your time.
Ferruggia's Timed ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS8

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 10 squat-to-presses

  • 10 single-arm presses per arm

  • 10 single-leg RDLs per leg

  • 10 single-arm rows per arm

  • 10 reverse lunges per leg


Bruno's Brutal LandmineLandmineTotal BodyUniS5

Exercises and Instructions:
Begin every exercise by side shuffling 15 ft in a half-squat position:

  • Cossack squats: 5 reps / each side

  • Pirate ship swings: 10 reps / each side

  • Lateral lunges: 5 reps / each side

Three Storm's Full Frontal ComplexSandbagLower BodyBothF4

Exercises and Instructions:
7 Sets of the following. Repeat 5 rounds.

  • 1 Power Clean

  • 1 Front Squat

  • 1 Push Press

  • 1 Back Squat

  • 1 Push Press (then down to a touch and go to start the next power clean)

Crossfit Bear ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Reverse Lunges 6 reps on each leg

  • Romanian Deadlift 12 reps

  • Good Morning 12 reps

  • Front Squat 6 reps

  • Military Press 6 reps

  • Bentover Row 6 reps

  • Floor Press 12 reps


Rest 60 seconds. Perform 3-5 circuits.
Waterbury's Submission ComplexDumbbellsTotal BodyBothS7

Exercises and Instructions:
Perform the following SINGLE ARM exercises each side:

  • Overhead squat

  • Snatch

  • Overhead lunge

  • High pull

The Lightning Rod ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBothS4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Iso-dynamic lateral raise x 7 (each arm)

  • Dumbbell Cuban press x 7

  • Eccentric mechanical advantage lateral raise x 7

Defranco Shoulder Shocker 2.0DumbbellsShouldersBothS, T, F3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Bent over rows

  • Cleans

  • Front squats

  • Overhead press

  • Back squats

  • Good mornings


Got this complex from Dan John's Mass Made Simple
Mass Made Simple ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Front raises

  • Lateral raises

  • Bent-over lateral raises

3 Way ShoulderDumbbellsShouldersBiS, F3


  • 5 hang cleans

  • 10 reverse lunges front rack (5 per leg)

  • 10 push presses

  • 10 squats

  • 10 high pulls

  • 10 RDLs

Bruno's Brutal BarbellBarbellTotal BodyBothS6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Pull-ups

  • Toes-to-bar


Alternate each exercise with every rep, or perform a set number of reps in one exercise before moving to the other.
Pull-up Toes-to-Bar ClusterPull-up barUpper BodyBiS2

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Pull-ups x 4

  • Chest-to-bar pull-ups x 3

  • Muscle ups x 2


Alec Smith's Pull-up + C2B + MUPull-up barUpper BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • toes-to-bar

  • chest-to-bar

  • clapping pull-up

  • muscle up

  • pullover

  • and reverse/repeat everything

Crossfit Waterford Bar ComplexPull-up barUpper BodyBiS6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • toes-to-bar

  • knee-to-elbow

  • pull-up

  • chest-to-bar

  • muscle-up

  • pullover

Sam Briggs' Bar ComplexPull-up barUpper BodyBiS6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 3 Rounds:

  • 5 Dead Hang Pull-ups

  • 5 Explosive Pull-ups

  • 5 leg raises

  • 50 diamond push-ups

  • 5 fast pull-ups

  • 5 negative pull-ups:

  • -5sec chin over bar hold

  • -5sec head under bar hold

  • -5sec hang out


  • (one minute break between each routine)

Nawid Reinermann’s Bar DancePull-up barUpper BodyBiS9

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 1 swing

  • 1 flip swing

  • 1 snatch variation

  • = 1x3

  • after third rep - 1 lap (approx :20)

  • new set every 2nd min - continuous clock - 24:00


Bruce ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5 unilateral split snatch

  • 4 Overhead squat

  • 3 snatch

Levi's 5-4-3 Snatch ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 1/2 get'up' + 5 snatch (lt)

  • - swing and switch arms -

  • 5 snatch + 1 reverse getup + 5 snatch (rt)

  • - swing and switch arms -

  • 5 snatch + 1/2 get'down'

Getup and SnatchKettlebellsTotal BodyUniS, T3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Lateral swing to side snatch

  • Jumping split snatch

  • Bottom up get up

Lateral Swing SnatchKettlebellsTotal BodyUniS, T, F3


  • 3 (reverse) getups

  • 4 snatch

  • 5 squat

Levi's Online KB Complex ChallengeKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS, T3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Turkish get up

  • Swing to switch sides

  • Bent press

  • Reverse get up

  • Get up

  • Swing to switch sides

  • Bent press

  • Reverse get up

Levi's Bent Press + Get up ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyUniS, T, F4


  • Complete the following on each side:

  • 10 Thrusters

  • 10 Clean and press

  • 10 Overhead squats

  • 10 Snatches

Modified Man MakerKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Complete the following on each side:

  • 10 swings

  • 10 hot potatoes

  • 10 high pulls

  • 10 hot potatoes

  • 10 snatches

  • 10 hot potatoes

  • 10 alternating swings

  • 10 hot potatoes

  • 10 cleans

  • 10 hot potatoes

  • 10 Clean and press


Swing Hot Potato ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS7

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 6 upright rows

  • 6 high pull snatch

  • 6 squat push press

  • 6 bent over row

  • 6 high pull snatch

Javorek's Dumbbell Complex #1DumbbellsTotal BodyBiS4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 3 curls

  • 3 upright row

  • 3 high pull snatch

  • 3 parallel press

  • 3 bent over row

  • 3 squat push press

  • 3 alternating front lunges

  • 3 squat upright row

  • 3 good mornings

Javorek's Dumbbell Complex #3DumbbellsTotal BodyBothS9

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Straight Knee Toe Raise X 10

  • Quarter Squat & Up On Toes X 10

  • Quarter Squat Jump X 10

  • Straight Knee Toe Raise X 10

  • Back Squat X 10

  • Quarter Squat Jump X 10

  • Squat Jump X 10

Javorek's Barbell Back Squat ComplexBarbellLower BodyBiS6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 6 Upright rows

  • 6 Squat under high pull snatch

  • 6 Squat to behind the back press

  • 6 Good mornings with a shrug (extra arch)

  • 6 Squat under high pull snatch

  • 6 overhead squat

  • 6 Behind the neck good mornings


Javorek recommends this complex to folks strengthen their weak backs.
Javorek's Barbell Special Complex #1BarbellTotal BodyBiS6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 6 Deadlifts

  • 6 Upright row

  • 6 Squat Cleans

  • 6 Front Squats

  • 6 Push Presses

  • 6 Back Squats

  • 6 Burpees


SEAL Fit Barbell ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS7

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 10 Spins each direction

  • 10 Push-ups

  • 10 High pulls

  • 10 Spins each direction

Bulgarian Bag Complex IBulgarian BagTotal BodyBiS, T3

Exercises and Instructions:
5-10 reps per exercise with light resistance band, tube, or cable:

  • Standing press

  • Face pulls

  • Row

  • Low row (rotating palms up)

  • Tricep extension

  • Lat push down

  • Lat pull downs



Repeat again (optionally single arm if the resistance is light enough)
Resistance Band Upper Body WarmupResistance BandsUpper BodyBothS7

Complete 4 rounds for time:


  • Hang Power Clean x 5 reps

  • Front Squats x 5 reps

  • Power Snatch x 5 reps

  • Back Squats x 5 reps

  • Power Press x 5 reps

  • Drop Lunges x 5 reps

  • Bent Rows x 5 reps

  • Deadlifts x 5 reps

Complex From HellBarbellTotal BodyBothS8

Exercises and Instructions:
7 reps, 7 exercises, 7 rounds. Rest 2 minutes between rounds

  1. 1. Barbell Speed Deadlift

  2. 2. Stiff Legged Lifts

  3. 3. Barbell Jump Squats

  4. 4. Alternating Forward Lunge

  5. 5. Military Push Press and Triceps Extensions

  6. 6. Barbell Sprawl and Power Curls

  7. 7. Barbell Roll Outs


Funk's 777 ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBothS7

Exercises and Instructions:

  • deadlifts

  • power cleans

  • clean and catch with squat

  • thrusters (with shoulder transfer)

  • up and overs with slam

  • slams (alternating shoulders)

  • alternating walking lunges

  • jump squats

  • burpees to power clean to thruster

Critical Bench's Sandbag ComplexSandbagTotal BodyBothS, T9

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Deadlifts

  • Bent Rows

  • Hang Cleans

  • Push Press

  • Back Squat

Defranco's Barbell Complex 1BarbellTotal BodyBiS5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 10 DB goblet squat

  • 10 DB swings

  • 10 Unilateral curl + Press / each side

  • 10 Squat jumps

Defranco's Dumbbell Complex 1DumbbellsTotal BodyBothS4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Mountain climbers x 30

  • push-ups x 20

  • groiners x 10

  • burpees x 5


Defranco's Bodyweight Complex 1BodyweightTotal BodyBiS4

Exercises and Instructions:
Complete each exercise 10 times

  • Zercher squats

  • Zercher reverse lunges

  • curl into press

  • RDL's

  • Bent Rows


Defranco's BeZercher ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBothS5

Exercises and Instructions:
3-6 rounds

  • Renegade Rows x 4 each arm

  • Mountain Climbers x 5 each leg

  • Burpees x 6

  • Curl & Press x 7

Defranco's Dumbbell Complex 2DumbbellsTotal BodyBothS4

Complete 3-10 yard laps of the following exercises (depending on fitness level). Take 2 bear crawl "steps" and complete the exercise listed. Complete all circuits 3-8 times (depending on fitness level).

Rest 10 deep diaphragmatic breathes in between circuits

      Beginners exercises:
    • - push-ups

    • - alternating lunges

    • - squat thrusts

      Intermediate exercises:
    • - push-up with shoulder taps

    • - reverse lunges with knee drive

    • - burpee with push-up and jump

      Advanced:
    • - bird dog pushups

    • - plyo lunges

    • - eight count body builders

Beary Sweaty Bear Crawl ComplexBodyweightTotal BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Rest 45-60 sec between complex sets. Complete 3-6 times.

  • 10 burpees

  • 40 mountain climbers

  • 15 push ups

  • 60 bicycle crunches

  • 1 min plank hold (or 10 buzzsaw planks)

Get Up and Go ComplexBodyweightTotal BodyBiS5

Exercises and Instructions:
Complete the following 2-3 rounds per side:

  • 8 single leg skater squats

  • 8 lateral raises

  • 8 RDL + rows

Bruno's Advanced Brutal Landmine ComplexLandmineTotal BodyUniS, F3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • reverse lunges

  • squats

  • push presses

  • single leg deadlift

  • single arm bentover rows

  • single arm floor presses

  • low squat anti-rotation arc

  • single arm bicep curls


Rich Thaw's Landmine ComplexLandmineTotal BodyBothS, T8

Exercises and Instructions:
4 sets of 10 exercises; 10, 20, 15, and 10 Reps Sets

  • 1) Spins (reps are split to half each direction)

  • 2) Swing Snatch

  • 3) Romanian DL’s (bag on shoulders)

  • 4) Side Bends (bag on shoulders)

  • 5) Jumping Split Squats (bag on shoulders)

  • 6) Front Raise (Side handles)

  • 7) Shoulder Rotations

  • 8) Triceps Extension (Using main handles)

  • 9) Hammer Curl (Can substitute regular curls)

  • 10) Push-ups on bag

500 Rep Bulgarian Bag ComplexBulgarian BagTotal BodyBothS, T, F10

Exercises and Instructions:

  • High curl to concentric failure

  • High curl to isometric failure (hold as long as possible)

  • High curl to eccentric failure (cheat into top position, then perform negative as slowly as possible)


Athlean-X's Guaranteed Bicep Soreness ComplexCablesBicepsBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Dips (AMRAP)

  • Wide grip push-ups (AMRAP)

  • Incline dumbbell flys (AMRAP)


Repeat complex 3 times, resting 60-90 sec between circuits
Men's Health Complete Chest ComplexDumbbellsChestBiS, F3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 8-10 reps: Incline dumbbell press, reverse grip

  • Max reps: Incline dumbbell press, regular grip (same weight)

  • Max reps: Push-up, feet elevated

  • Max reps: Flat dumbbell press, reverse grip (same weight)

  • Max reps: Flat dumbbell press, regular grip (same weight)

  • Max reps: Push-up

Press MedleyDumbbellsChestBiS6

Exercises and Instructions:
3 sets of the following:

  • 5-7 reps: Low fly

  • 5-7 reps: Regular fly

  • 5-7 reps: Press

Kettlebell Flys and PressKettlebellsChestBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5-7 reps: Squeeze press

  • 5-7 reps: Dumbbell flye

  • 5-7 reps: high fly

Squeeze Press and Fly ComboDumbbellsChestBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5x Swings

  • 5x Front Squat

  • 5x Figure 8 Squat

  • 5x Around the body

  • 5x Around the body other direction

Cavemantraining 5x5 Kettlebell ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS, T, F5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Clean pull

  • Clean

  • Paused front squat

  • Push press

  • Paused jerk

Klokov Olympic ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Hang snatch

  • Snatch

  • 2x Overhead squats

Mat Fraser Snatch ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Snatch

  • Hang snatch

  • 2x Overhead squat

Markus Krümmer Snatch ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 8x Alternating lunges
  • 8x Alternating jumping lunges
  • 3x jump squats

Jump Squat and Lunges ComplexBarbellLower BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Complete 4 rounds as quickly as possible

  • 5 KB Cleans

  • 5 KB Front Squats

  • KB Rack Walk x 50 ft and back

  • KB Farmer Walk x 50 ft and back

  • 5 Push Ups Off KB’s

Strength Carry Complex FinisherKettlebellsTotal BodyBiS5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Double overhead carry 40 ft

  • Double front rack walking lunges 40 ft

  • Farmer's carry 40 ft

Diablo Crossfit Kettlebell Carry ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 15 quarter plié squats

  • 15 quarter single leg skater squats

  • 15 quarter split squats (from bottom)

  • 15 terminal knee extensions (TKE's)

Low Body Complex for Muscles Around KneeResistance BandsLower BodyBothS4

Exercises and Instructions:
6-8 reps per exercise

  • TRX tricep extensions

  • Tricep push-downs with back walk for tension

  • close grip push-ups

Vince's Tricep ComplexTRXTricepsBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Tricep extensions x 10

  • Diamond push-ups x 8

  • Plank-to-push-up x 6/arm

  • Eccentric push-ups x 4 (lower 6 seconds)

Defranco Tricep Finisher from HellBodyweightTricepsBiS4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 10 Jump squats

  • 10 Squats

  • 10 Power clean with front squat

Bulgarian Bag Squat ComplexBulgarian BagLower BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Lunge walk 40-50 feet down and back 3 times, performing the following exercises alternating with each step:

  • Lunge 3 overhead press

  • lunge 3 bicep curls

  • lunge 3 snatch


Then Lunge walk down and back once more
Finally, finish with the following mini-complex:

  • 8 thrusters

  • 8 split jumps

  • 8 jump squats

Javorek's Whoop Ass Lunge WalkDumbbellsTotal BodyBothS7

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 10 Front rack reverse lunges (alternating)

  • 10 Front squats

  • 10 Back squats

Bruno's Brutal Leg ComplexBarbellLower BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5 jumps

  • 10 RDLs

  • 10 Squats

Bruno's Brutal Trap Bar ComplexTrap BarLower BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5 deadlifts

  • 5 cleans

  • 5 thrusters

  • 5 back squats

  • 5 push presses

GPP Bar ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS5

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Standing Pull / Push

  • Lying Pull Overhead / Push

  • Plank Position Pull / Push (equal pulls between arms)

Sled Complex FinisherSledTotal BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Repeat as many times as possible in 20 minutes:

  • 2 cleans

  • 1 overhead press

  • 3 squats

Dan John's Armor Building ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Repeat 3 rounds:

  • 1 pistol squat per leg

  • 3 chin-ups

  • 5 push ups

The Percolator complexPull-up BarTotal BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 7 high pulls

  • 10 yates rows

  • 15 bent over rows

Lee Boyce Back ComplexBarbellBackBiS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Great rehab shoulder strengthening. Choose weight for the complex by how much you can comfortably manage with the "breathe stroke imitation".

  • 10 elbow out shoulder rotation (each direction)

  • 20 lateral elbow raise

  • 10 inward outward circle (each direction)

  • 14 curls (pronation to supination)

  • 10 inward outward rotation each direction

  • 10 high pull snatch

  • 10 lateral arm raise

  • 10 bent over fly

  • 10 bent over kickback

  • 10 breath stroke imitation

  • 8 bent over backward to forward raise

  • 10 front raise

  • 12 rotational bent over row

  • 10 "Javorek shoulder routine" (each arm)

Javorek Shoulder ComplexDumbbellsShouldersBiS, T, F14

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 2 min jump rope or skipping

  • vsit to rollover

  • rollover deck squats

  • side to side arm swings

  • instep plus twist

  • table rollovers

Mag 7 Mobility ComplexBodyweightTotal BodyBothS, T, F6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Deep breathes

  • Neck down and up

  • Neck left to right

  • Neck side to side (frontal plane)

  • Draw figure 8's with the tip of your nose

  • Roll shoulders forward and back (use your chest and entire torso)

  • Draw shoulder circles each direction (wider and wider)

  • Egyptians back and forth

  • Elbow circles to flat palm

  • Circle to swim and reach behind (swim both directions)

  • Arms straight to elbows in

  • Wrist circles

  • Hip hula hoops

  • Belly dancers

  • Relaxed arm twist side to side

  • knee circles

  • one foot ankle circles (eyes closed optional)

  • squat with hip pry

  • Cossack squat

  • Downward dog to cobra with twists side to side


Flexible Steel Mobility ComplexBodyweightTotal BodyBothS, T, F20

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Extend a leg, externally rotate the opposite hip enough to block the ankle with the extended leg. Lean to the hip then slightly back

  • Frogger stretches

  • Frogger stretches with one foot out

  • Jumping sprinter stretch

  • Groiners with maximum pull

  • Touch toes (bend knees if needed) and pull hips down

  • Cossack squats

  • Rotate and lunge and place elbow on outside knee and pry

Hip Mobility Complex for Efficient SquattingBodyweightTotal BodyBothS, T, F8

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Foam Roll IT Band

  • Foam Roll Adductors

  • SMR Glutes (lax ball)

  • Bent-knee Iron Cross

  • Rollovers into V-sits

  • Rocking Frog stretch

  • Fire Hydrant circles

  • Mountain Climbers

  • Cossack Squats

  • Seated Piriformis stretch

  • Rear Foot Elevated Hip Flexor stretch

Defranco's Limber 11Foam RollerTotal BodyBothS, T, F11low back, lower back pain

Exercises and Instructions:
All reps done w/ 3-5 sec eccentric lowering

  • 7 x Wide grip curls

  • 7 x Regular grip curls

  • 7 x Narrow grip curls


Smitty's New 21'sBarbellBicepsBiS321s, ez curl, easy curl

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Thoracic spine foam roll (middle, left, right x 10 each)

  • Armpit foam roll

  • Shoulder capsule stretch (~45 degree angle push down)

  • 45 degree banded pec stretch

  • Leaning lat stretch

  • Band dislocates

Defranco's Upper Body WarmupFoam RollerUpper BodyBothS, T, F6resistance band, banded stretch, mobility, simple six, simple 6

Exercises and Instructions:

  • IT Band Foam Roll

  • Piriformis Glute Smash

  • Inside Leg Roll

  • V-sit Rollover

  • Fire Hydrant Hip Circles (5-10 each direction)

  • Single Leg Groiner stretch

  • Frog jump Groiner

  • First Baseman Hip Flexor Stretch

Defranco's Agile 8Foam RollerTotal BodyBothS, T, F8mobility, couch stretch, hip circles, warm-up

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 7 curls

  • 7 upper-half curls

  • 7 lower-half curls

  • 7 slow eccentric curls

28 Method Bicep CurlsBarbellBicepsBiS428s, 28's, ez curl, easy curl

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 7 lower half curls

  • 7 upper half curls

  • 7 full curls

21's Biceps CurlsBarbellBicepsBiS321s

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 7 upper curls

  • 7 middle curls

  • 7 lower stretch curls

21's Lying Leg CurlsLeg Curl MachineHamstringsBiS321s, glutes, legs, lower body

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Squats

  • Lunges

  • Step Ups

Lower Body Primal ComplexDumbbellsLower BodyBothS3step-ups

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 12 split squats each leg

  • 24 alternating lunges

  • 12 single leg step up with knee drive each leg

  • 24 jumping lunges (split jumps)


Tumminello's Unilateral Leg ComplexBodyweightLower BodyUniS4split jump, single leg complex, single leg circuit

Exercises and Instructions:
Begin with Smith machine bar as high as possible. Complete reps to near failure, lower bar and immediately do more until failure. Continue this progression until you hit 100 consecutive reps without stopping
Three Storm Fitness' 100 Rep Push-Up ComplexSmith MachineUpper BodyBiS1drop set, pushup, push ups

Exercises and Instructions:
Grab a dumbbell (heavier and challenging) and perform 6 reps per movement:

1. 1 Arm Power / Hang Snatch:
2. Dumbbell Clean and Press:
3. Off Set Drop Lunge:
4. 1 Arm Bent Row
5. Single Arm Dumbbell Swings
6. Dumbbell Goblet Squats
Funk Roberts' DB ComplexDumbbellsTotal BodyBothS6

Exercises and Instructions:
10 reps of each exercise. Rest 3-5 minutes between sets:

  • Alternate forward lunges

  • Curl to press

  • Squat to up on toes upright rows

  • bent over tricep extensions (kickbacks)

  • up on toes squat to push press

The Smart Dumbbell ComplexDumbbellsTotal BodyBothS5

Exercises and Instructions:
Perform 7 reps of each exercise, 7 rounds. Rest 2 minutes between rounds.

  • Bent Over Rows

  • Barbell Thrusters

  • Alternating Step Back Lunge (Reverse Lunges)

  • Close Grip Bench Press

  • Explosive Curls

  • Barbell Roll Outs

Funk Roberts' 777 Barbell Complex 2BarbellTotal BodyBothS7MMA

Exercises and Instructions:
Perform 5 reps of each exercise 5 rounds.

  • muscle ups

  • handstand press ups

  • clapping pull ups

  • russian dips

  • headbangers

5x5x5 Bodyweight ComplexPull-up barUpper BodyBiS5advanced

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 10 one arm presses / side

  • 10 box squats

  • 10 one arm rows / side

Bruno's 50-Rep Landmine ComplexLandmineTotal BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Perform 1 rep of each and repeat 5 times without rest:

  • Walking press

  • Incline Press

  • Scorpion Push-up

  • TRX Extension Press

  • TRX Burpee

PersonalStudio's TRX Push-up ComplexTRXUpper BodyBiS5suspension

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Split Clean: 5 per side

  • Rotational Lunge: 4 per side

  • Push Press: 8

  • Zercher Good Morning: 8

  • Get up: 2 per side

Fleming's Sandbag ComplexSandbagTotal BodyBothS, T5

Exercises and Instructions:
Repeat 3 times (complete the first round with SLRDLs, then drop them for subsequent rounds, but increase the weight

  • One arm swing: 5 each side

  • Threaded lunge: 5 each side

  • Single leg RDL + Row: 5 each side

  • Strict press: 5 each side

Fleming's Single Arm KB ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyUniS, T4

Exercises and Instructions:
Complete in a pyramid format up to 5 reps of each (start with 1), then go back down again:

  • Double clean

  • Front squat

  • Push press

  • Sumo Deadlift high pull

Fleming's Double KB PyramidKettlebellsTotal BodyBiS4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Snatch

  • Split Jerk

  • Monkey Jumps

  • Renegade Rows

Fleming's Monkey Jump ComplexDumbbellsTotal BodyBothS4

Exercises and Instructions:
Complete as a ladder up to 8 reps each exercise (start at 1)

  • Hip extension leg curls

  • Push ups

  • Core Worm

  • Handstand Push ups

Fleming's TRX Ladder ComplexTRXTotal BodyBiS4Suspension

Exercises and Instructions:
Use ~50% of your Clean and Jerk 1RM

  • Upright row: 6

  • Muscle Snatch: 6

  • Back Squat to Push Press: 6

  • Good Morning: 6

  • Bent Over Row: 6

Javorek's Original Barbell ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS5Fleming

Exercises and Instructions:

  • side-lying hip abduction x 15

  • Single leg hip thrusts x 15

  • supermans x 15


Finish with a half squat shuffle side-to-side until failure
Hashey's Glute ComplexBodyweightGlutesUniS, T, F4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • clam hip abduction

  • heel tap forward and back

  • Straight leg three position (front circles, side lateral raise, heel straight back)

  • prone straight leg heel lifts

  • fire hydrants

  • quadraped hip extensions

  • alternating glute bridges

Ziu's Glute ComplexBodyweightGlutesUniS, T, F7

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Turkish getup

  • Push press

  • Snatch

  • Jump Lunge

Ramil's Shoulder ComplexBarbellTotal BodyUniS, T4

Exercises and Instructions:

  • squat clean x 5

  • push jerk x 5

  • step up x 5 (each leg)

  • good morning x 5

  • bent over row x5

Coach Dos' Barbell Complex #3 BarbellTotal BodyBothS5Fleming

Exercises and Instructions:
Perform 6-8 reps/exercise. Rest 60-90 sec and repeat 4-6 rounds:

  • Bent Over Rows

  • RDLs

  • High Pulls

  • Push Press

  • Burpees

Wasserman's Barbell ComplexBarbellTotal BodyBiS5Romanian Deadlifts

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 7 weighted leg raises

  • 7 bodyweight leg raises

  • 7 bent knee leg raises

Bruno's Hanging Leg Raise 21'sPull-up BarCoreBiS3abs

Exercises and Instructions:
Complete the following 5 times on each side:
2 - Turkish Getups
1 - Overhead squat
1 - Windmill
10 - two arm swings
Keith Weber's Turkish Getup ComplexKettlebellsTotal BodyBothS, T, F4get up, kettlebell circuit, kettlebell cardio

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5 Split Squats each side

  • 10 RDLs

  • 10 Full Range Deadlifts

Bruno's Other Brutal Trap Bar ComplexTrap BarLower BodyBothS3

Exercises and Instructions:
Repeat mobility movements 3x

  • Getup to elbow and back down

  • Thoracic flexion to extension (open chest)

  • Sweep leg in and out

  • Look neck side to side from windmill position

  • Thread the needle from windmill

  • Elbow bends from windmill

  • Thread the needle from windmill (with elbow on the floor)

  • Finish get up

  • From get up, step back to lunge (don't let knee touch)

  • Repeat last movement with slow pulling eccentric motion

  • Complete Getdown

Turkish Getup Mobility ComplexBodyweightTotal BodyUniS, T11get-up

Exercises and Instructions:
For 1-5 minutes:

  • Frog stretch rock back and forth on elbows (go deeper each rep)

  • Can openers / each side

  • Frog strech again

  • One leg straight frog stretch with rock / each side

  • Frog stretch again

Tactical Frog Hip Mobility SequenceBodyweightLower BodyBothS, T, F4hips, splits

Exercises and Instructions:

  • Concentric dips until failure

  • Eccentric dips until failure

  • Isometric dip hold until failure

Three Storm Fitness' Triphasic Dip ComplexDip BarsUpper BodyBiS3triceps, chest

Exercises and Instructions:
Set up a 5 kegs from lightest to heaviest. Across the room set up a yoke with the cross bar at 42″. The lightest keg is 50′ from the yoke. Each heavier keg gets 10′ closer to the yoke. The final keg should be 10′ from the yoke and should be VERY heavy…at least 2.25x body weight.

More details: http://strongmanwod.com/?p=2050
Keg Carry and Load ComplexKegsTotal BodyBiS1Keg carries, ladder

Exercises and Instructions:

  • 5 reverse lunges

  • 5 single leg RDLs

  • 5 paused squats

  • 5 bi-lateral RDLs

Bruno's Brutal 20-Rep Landmine Leg ComplexLandmineLower BodyBothS4romanian deadlift
Use the Search box to narrow down by keywords, or select multiple dropdown filters to prune by Equipment, Body Parts worked, Complex Type, Planes of movement or the number of Different Exercises in the complex.

*Unilateral or bilateral movements

**Planes:
S: Sagittal
T: Transverse
F: Frontal

My Original Goal with the Complex exercises was to find an efficient and aggressive method of performance enhancement that saves time and makes the program more enjoyable.

These words written by Istvan Javorek, the strength coach widely acclaimed for putting complexes on the map, sum up the magic of these exercises in one sentence.  In case you’re not familiar with complexes as they’re defined in the fitness space, they’re an array of exercises designed to be completed in one continuous set.  That, I know, is a very general description, but that’s part of their beauty; they leave much to the sadistic trainer’s imagination.

Allow me to dive a little deeper into Javorek’s quote above.

“Efficient and aggressive”:

If massive amounts of volume packed into a minute or two of work is efficient, then he’s on the money here.  Javorek’s original barbell complex, for instance, demands 30 reps across five compound exercises in one set.

And aggressive?  Yeh, complexes are pretty freakin’ aggressive.  I told one of my clients just last night, as he geared up for his third set of Ben Bruno’s Brutal Trap Bar Complex (10 split squats, 10 RDLs, and 10 deadlifts) that he was about to go to war.  Five minutes after the set, while he was still lying on his back, he knew exactly what I was talking about.

Complexes force you to be aggressive.  They’re an amazing tool for sewing toughness, and insist that you to drive past your breaking point without looking back.

“Performance enhancement”:

I can’t help but think of Smiling Bob from those stupid Enzyte commercials anytime someone says “performance enhancements” (that’s just my struggle), but I don’t think that’s what Javorek had in mind (unless he’s copping Arnold’s style).  No, what he’s referring to are the indisputable gains athletes experience when they add complexes to their programming.

Strength coaches never seem to agree on anything, but all of them, from Joe Defranco to Charles Poliquin, use complexes to build superior athletes.  Pick any of the workouts from the table above (with the exception of the mobility routines), and you’ll see immediately the conditioning possibilities.  That’s barbell cardio, baby.

In addition to muscular endurance, complex practitioners also quickly notice the increase in strength and hypertrophy.  Dan John often refers to hypertrophy as “armor building”, and in his book Mass Made Simple he includes a routine that will drop you in a suit of plate mail (you get to do up to 80 reps of bent rows, hang cleans, front squats, overhead presses, back squats and good mornings without putting the bar down).

It’s widely accepted that the formula for getting bigger features time under tension as a keystone variable.  Is two straight minutes with a bar on your back considered time under tension?  Yes, yes it is.

“Makes the program more enjoyable”:

I just adore puking on the floor and spontaneously crapping my pants…it’s just so darn “enjoyable”.  Javorek, you crazy Romanian!

I’m just joshing ya, buddy.  I know what you’re talking about.

Complexes are synonymous with variety, which staves off a stale time at the gym, and in some cases, might just foster an enjoyable experience.  Not to mention the sheer feeling of accomplishment, knowing that you just slayed an exercise that would literally have killed 50% of American couch potatoes.  Completing complexes feels good (then again, so does crapping in your pants…for just a second…but I wouldn’t know…more than once…ok, twice…).

Complex Versatility

Complexes can fit neatly into just about any exercise program, and there’s no fitness goal they can’t help you tackle; whether it be conditioning, fat loss, muscle growth, strength or masochism.  There are a number of ways you can plug them into your workouts.

Warm ups: The table above includes several warm up and targeted mobility complexes, and in my opinion, you can’t do them often enough.  Having said that, you don’t need a routine with the label, “warm up” to use it effectively.  Simply pick a routine that engages the same muscle groups you’re going to hammer in your work sets, but drop the weight and intensity to a warm up level.

For example, Lee Boyce’s back complex (7 high pulls, 10 Yates rows, and 15 bent over rows) at 20-30% is a solid inclusion in a “back day” warm up.

Finishers: Complexes programmed as finishers (grueling met-conesque bouts meant to toast you at the end of your workout) are probably their most common implementation.  Whether your primary workout consisted of skill practice, hypertrophy, strength or speed work, you can throw in a few rounds of your favorite high-rep complex at the end to make sure you aren’t leaving anything on the table.

This Shang Tsung style, soul-stealing fitness strategy is one of the most effective ways of burning fat, bar none.  Not only are you torching calories and creating a massive metabolic effect for muscle growth, but you send your body into EPOC mode (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), spiking your metabolic rate for hours after the workout.

An excellent example of this methodology can be found in Joe Defranco’s Built Like a Badass program.  Give Joe’s Be-Zercher complex a shot (10 Zercher squats, 10 Zercher reverse lunges, 10 curl-to-presses, 10 Romanian deadlifts, and 10 bent over rows) before you pack up for the day, and your fat will get hit up like Epoc (bad pun for Big Pop!).

Accessory lifts: Accessory lifts are a general fitness term for exercises done to accompany your primary lifts (most commonly deadlift, squat and press variations). They enhance strength and hypertrophy in areas you might not have hit as hard with your initial top sets.  For a classic “leg day” example, you may start with 5×5 barbell back squats, and finish the workout with several sets of leg presses, leg curls and terminal knee extensions.

I’m currently in the final week of a program where literally all of my accessory lifts are complexes.  Why?  What do you mean “why”?  Didn’t you read the first part of this article?

I’ll post the complete program in a couple weeks, but in the mean time, here’s an example of my “leg day”:

  • Work up to a top set of 5-7 heavy back squats
  • 2-3 rounds of Bruno’s front rack complex (lunges, front squats and back squats)
  • 2-3 rounds of Bruno’s trap bar complex (split squats, RDLs, and full deadlifts)
  • 1-2 rounds of my quad complex to hit the quads and other muscles around the knee (1/4 plie squats, 1/4 skater squats, banded TKEs, and 1/4 split squats)

This program isn’t easy, but my strength is holding steady, fat is falling off, and my conditioning is roaring.  Best part is, it’s not boring…for me or the 12 dozen members of my gym who scratch their heads when they see me working out.

Standalone Workouts: If you’re pinched for time, complexes–especially of the total body variety–can serve as a more-than-adequate standalone workout.  This especially holds true for conditioning and body composition goals.  In fact, that same program I mentioned above features conditioning and mobility routines that I complete on my “off days”.

There are tons of examples to fit this mold, but I find that bodyweight, light dumbbell and light kettlebell exercises work best here.  My go-to guy when I want to crush myself in a small time window is Funk Roberts; his workouts are almost as awesome as his name.

Creation and Modification:

The table above is ever-growing and offers enough activities to keep you busy at the gym for a while.  Be that as it may, you might want to work on a weak point that isn’t addressed in any of the listed routines.  Or maybe you’re just a glutton for punishment, and nothing on their gouges that itch like you like.

Not a problem, sicko.  There are an infinite number of ways to tweak others’ existing complexes, or go crazy and completely build your own (check out my Full Frontal Sandbag when you get a chance).

Use the following suggestions to go off the beaten path.  All I ask is that you let me know what you came up with, so I can add it to the database.

Tweak the rep and set schemes to match your goals: Probably the most common way to modify a complex workout is to alter the reps.  In his book, Mass Made Simple, Dan John talks extensively on the subject, but the basic gist is this: use higher reps for conditioning and lower reps for strength and mass building.

For example, if you perform the eight rep variation for each of the six workouts in Dan’s book, you’ll need mouth-to-mouth from your spotter (now you know why none of my workout partners have beards).  Work with a heavier weight in low reps–say, three–to maximize time under tension.  Of course, the beauty about complexes is that even low rep variations can offer a brutal bout of conditioning.  In the case of our three rep example, you’re still hammering out 18 reps of heavy compound movements before putting the bar down!

When it comes to sets, I tend to keep them low; usually three or less.  This is almost out of necessity.  If you’re performing a complex correctly, it should be very difficult (with the exception of mobility or warm-ups routines).  If after three sets, you’re chomping at the bit to hit another, you probably didn’t go heavy enough, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

If you’ve already browsed the database, you may have noticed that the vast majority of the workouts have a very uniform rep structure (e.g., complete 10 reps of the following exercises).  There is absolutely no reason you need to stick to this methodology.  If, for instance, you’re working with a weight that you can clean, row and squat six times, but you can only overhead press it twice, and you really want to add presses to the complex, then overhead press it twice and six-rep everything else. I promise it’s alright.

You can also get real wacky and use variations like ladders and pyramids.  In Fleming’s Double Kettlebell Pyramid you do one rep of cleans, front squats, push presses and sumo deadlift high pulls; then two of each; then three; all the way up to five…then back down again (have fun).

For more reading on this subject, John Romaniello discusses straying from set and rep uniformity in this article on his site.

Change the weight: Changing the weight really goes hand-in-hand with modding reps, but there are a couple specific points to touch on.  First, when determining which weight to use, I normally do the following:

I start by choosing the reps I’d like to complete for each exercise.  Then I take 60-85% of my weakest lift’s max in that rep range.

It took me over 15 minutes to write the two sentences above, and I’m sure I’ve done nothing but confuse you.  Here’s a sample problem to illustrate the method:

Gibbons wants to complete a barbell complex with five different exercises at eight reps each.  Among the five lifts, Gibbons’ weakest is the good morning.  He thinks he can do eight good mornings at 135 lbs, so he shoots a little low, throws 70% of his perceived 8 RM max on the bar (95 lbs), and gears up for the set.

So why does Gibbons go so much lower than 135 lbs if he’s pretty sure he hit eight of them in a set when he did them half a year ago (or maybe those were those straight-leg deadlifts…Gibbons, you freakin’ screwed it up!)?

First of all, most people don’t walk around with a current database of all of their rep maxes for every movement that could potentially show up in a complex (Gibbons certainly doesn’t).  So,whether you’re doing standalone sets or circuits, err conservatively when you start (you could use a max rep estimation calculator, but I like to wing it…I also play guitar by ear, bake with pinches, hit wrong notes and my food tastes terrible).

Secondly, he has four other lifts to complete in succession at eight reps a pop.  He’s gonna be a little tired, so it’s important to factor in the inevitable fatigue.  When in doubt, start light.  You can always slow down the tempo or add weight on the next set to meet the pain point you’re after.  And, as mentioned earlier, you there’s no rule that says you have to perform the same number of reps for each exercise.

You can also change the weight by incorporating drop sets.  There are over a dozen drop set models to play with, but the most classic example is to complete a set (often to near-failure), then immediately pick up a lighter weight and complete another set (and maybe another…just run the rack, son!).  This method makes complexes insanely interesting.  What’s especially interesting is the way you look on your fifth set, pale-faced and crying with a five pound dumbbell in each hand.

Get out the timer: You don’t have to honor a rep scheme at all!  You can use brute force and willpower decide all that for you.  Employ alternative methods like AMRAP (as many reps as possible), ALAP (as long as possible) and EMOM (every minute on the minute) to dictate your workload.  The Men’s Health Chest Complex invites you to “AMRAP” as many dips, wide-grip push-ups and flys as you can until your man boobs need a Bro.

If you’re the kind of person who always has to best himself, grab a stop watch and try to crush your last set’s performance.  Ferrugia’s Timed Barbell Complex will kick you in the mouth and take your stop watch.

Substitute equipment: If you really like the looks of a barbell series, but all you have is two kettlebells, just modify the movements to fit the equipment on hand.  I can think of very few exercises that are strictly unique to one particular piece of fitness equipment, especially when it comes to heavy stuff like barbells, sandbags, dumbbells and kettlebells.  Again, complexes don’t really have rules, other than you bust your butt.  Santa isn’t going to care if you did barbell cleans instead of kettlebell swings.

Even if all you have is your body, you can still create an adaptation from an equipment-based routine.  Just analyze each exercise based on its movement pattern and replace it with a comparable bodyweight exercise.  If barbell rows are called for, do inverted rows or pull-ups from a bar or a branch.  If it’s an overhead press, do handstand or pike push-ups.  You can swap swings and cleans for kip ups and broad jumps.  I think you got it from here.

Unilateral/Bilateral adjustments: The variety of just about every complex in the table can immediately be doubled by substituting bilateral exercises for unilateral exercises, and vice versa.  Instead of a pressing movements that uses one arm, sub in a pressing movement that uses two.  Easy.

Quick tip: if you have any asymmetries in strength or range of motion (most people do), start on your weak side.

Planes of motion: The advantage of training in multiple planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse) for both athletic performance as well as active daily living is way outside of the scope of this article, but similar to the unilateral/bilateral adjustments we just discussed, most exercises also have multiple counterparts in different planes.  For instance, when piecing this database together, I noticed there were ample complexes in the sagittal plane (front to back) and the transverse (rotational) had decent representation as well, but the poor frontal plane rarely showed up.

I decided to remedy this by creating the Full Frontal Sandbag Complex (Cossack squats, pirate ships, lateral lunges and squat shuffles), and the world has been a better place ever since (more stable when it changes direction anyway).

Range of motion: Other than changing the load, adjusting range of motion is probably the most effective method of progressing and regressing exercises.  Generally speaking, the longer the range of motion, the more difficult the exercise (e.g., deficit deadlifts), and the shorter, the easier (e.g., half squats).  If mobility issues prevent you from completing an exercise, don’t write off the whole complex.  Just tighten up the movement and get in there!

Contraction types: Here we’re referring to a focus on concentric (muscle gets shorter), eccentric (muscle gets longer), and isometric (muscle holds a position under load) contraction types.  In your average gym, concentric movements are king; mainly because it’s all anyone knows how to do, and most of the complexes in the database reflect that (to be fair, most conditioning goals favor concentric contractions).  That said, if you really want to struggle to pick up your coffee cup tomorrow, or sit down for your morning “productivity”, throw some slow negatives into the mix for maximum fiber damage.

A great example of combining all three contraction types is Athlean X’s Guaranteed Bicep Soreness Complex (concentric cable curls to failure, followed immediately by cheating eccentric curls to failure, followed by an isometric hold to failure).

Adjust your grip or foot position: Rotating a wrist, adjusting the angle of the toes by a few degrees, or shifting grip position two-inches can mean an entirely different group of muscles get some extra blood flow.  That said, a lot of of people forget the infinite combination of exercises that lie hidden in the details.  Have fun experimenting with the spice of life.

Change up the flow: How do you structure the order of a complex?  It’s often advised that you place the most skill-demanding exercise first.  Some argue that you should kick off with your weakest.  Try both.

Regardless of what you start and end with, you need to consider how to connect the dots.  For “ease” of transition, conventional wisdom suggests to start low-and-anterior (e.g., bent over row), work your way up (e.g., front squat) to the top (e.g., military press), and bring it behind the neck to high-and-posterior (back squat).  You can also go in reverse order, or go around the world and back again.

If you’ll notice in the example above, not only did we progress in a logical path, but we also alternated between upper and lower body exercises.  While this variation allows half of your body to experience a fleeting respite while the other half works, it also ironically stimulates the most metabolic disturbance (that’s one reason the GBC is so effective for fat loss).  A similar result can also be attained by alternating push and pull movements (e.g., presses and rows).

Finally, while the majority of complexes call for a total body experience, you can focus your flow onto one poor muscle group at a time to achieve total annihilation.  Defranco’s Tricep Finisher from Hell is a terrific example of this (10 tricep extensions, 8 diamond push-ups, 6 plank to push-ups each arm, 4 eccentric push-ups).

Wrap-up

There isn’t much more to cover.  In short, complexes are the Swiss-Army knives of workouts you love to hate.  You can find a use for them in any program for any goal; they’re applicable to just about any piece of equipment; they allow you do fit a massive amount of awesome crap into a compact package; they offer unlimited ways to make you bleed.

Please use the database to find new workouts, and apply what you’ve learned in this article to customize to your heart’s delight.  All I ask is that you please let me know if I’m missing your favorite complex, and I’ll gladly add it.