Barbell Complex Workout Routines

Barbell Complex Workout

How To Use The Barbell Complex

To Build Muscle

and Burn Fat

A barbell complex workout is perfect if you have have just set up your garage gym and the only exercise equipment you have is an Olympic barbell and bumper plates. You can really use it anytime for a great workout.

On the other hand, you could workout in a gym with with every equipment you will ever need, and a barbell complex routine could be your best workout in a while. It’s a great way to to build muscle, burn fat, and even get in some conditioning.

Barbell workout and a bar complex are different. A barbell workout is

simply a workout that use a barbell for the majority of the lifts. It may look like this…

  • 6 sets of squats
  •  5×5 on the bench
  • 5×10 bent over rows
It’s your typical muscle building workout. It hits every muscle group, and you only use the bar doing big compound lifts.
It’s more of a general all encompassing term for a workout done with just a bar.

A bar complex would fall under a barbell workout, but it’s a very different animal. Again, your only going to a barbell. But here’s where it gets different, and a little crazy….

  1. Every exercise is done back to back. No breaks, as soon as one exercise is finished do the next.
  2. Once you grab the bar you don’t let go until the set is over.
  3. 99% of the time you don’t change weight for any of the exercises.

That’s it. It may not sound like much but wait until you try it. These things will gas you. Perfect for burning fat, building muscle, building up your work capacity and providing a little cardiovascular conditioning

One benefit of doing bar complexes is how much work gets done in such little time.

Before you get started watch the video below to get a few tips. Travis Stoetzel goes into a few rules of the barbell complex.

In this next video, Travis talks about…

    how much weight to use
    what order to do your exercises in
    how to progress your complexes
    the best way to use complexes in your workout



To see a few barbell complexes in action watch the clips below.

Barbell Complex 1


Barbell Complex 2


Complex 3


Barbell Complex 4

Complex Sets and Reps

There are two methods for setting up a barbell complex:

  1. Time
  2. Reps

1. Barbell Complex for Time

This style of barbell workout is best suited for conditioning and fat burning.

You set this up in one of two ways…

A. Straight Sets

  • Set a repeating timer anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds.
  • Do as many reps as you can of that exercise.
  • When time is up move directly into the next exercise.

B. Rounds

This way can be a little more fun.

You’re going to move thorough the exercises more quickly with this method.

  • Set a timer anywhere from  2 minutes to 6 minutes.
  • Do 3 – 12 reps of the first exercise in the complex.
  • After that set is done start the next exercise. Do the same number of reps.
  • Repeat this pattern until the time is up

2. Barbell Complex for Reps

With the rep method determine how many reps you want to do for each exercise then get through it as quick as you can with perfect reps.

If you are looking to build muscle this is the best method, just be sure you keep the reps in the lower range. If you want to build muscle and burn fat increase the reps. Sets and reps for muscle building and fat burning are different but you can do a hybrid work out with this method and get the best of both worlds.

Any method you pick will work, just be sure to keep good form on every exercises. When selecting the weight it will be based on the most difficult exercise. The barbell exercise you are the weakest in is the weight you use for every exercise.

Fat Loss Conditioning Barbell Complex

  1. Clean High Pull
  2. RDL
  3. Shrug
  4. Drop Clean
  5. Overhead Press
  6. Bent Over Row
  7. Hang Snatch
  8. Jump Squat
  9. Good Morning
  10. Triceps Extensions
  11. Biceps Curls
  12. Close Grip Bench Press
  13. Wide Grip Bench Press
  14. Barbell Pull Overs
My buddy Rusty Moore did a simular post A Circuit Training Routine That Actually Makes Sense, check it out when you get a chance.

Barbell Complex Workout 1

This workout routine requires you to be somewhat good at the Olympic lifts. For both the Front Press or Shoulder press and the front squat you are required to clean the bar to your shoulders to start the exercise. If you are not good at the Olympic lifts or don’t have a squat rack look at workout routine 2 below.

  1. Hang Clean
  2. Front Squat
  3. Standing Shoulder Press
  4. Bent Over Row

Barbell Workout 2

This is a great option for a grage gym without lots of equipment but you still want to build muscle.  In this setup I am going to assume you don’t have any kind os squat rack, and you are not that good at Olympic lifts.

This is a simple but yet effective barbell workout that you can do with no more than the bar and some weight. Unlike the complex there is a need to change weight between exercises. The only rest is the weight change. So this isn’t technically a complex, but it is still a barbell workout.

  1. Deadlift
  2. Floor Press
  3. Bent Over Row
  4. Biceps Curls
  5. Standing Barbell Triceps Extensions
  6. Barbell Roll Outs

Barbell Workout 3

landmine barbell complex workout

For a change of pace give this bar routine a try. With the exception of the core rotations you have an option to use one or 2 hands.

  1. landmine reverse lunge
  2. landmine shoulder press
  3. landmine row
  4. landmine core rotations

To build muscle and burn fat, put on your favorite jams and try a…

Barbell Complex Workout