Workout Tips

5 Ways to Amp Up Barbell Complexes

Change up and fire up your barbell workout finishers with these 5 challenging variations.



Break Up the Reps

Why are all BB complexes performed by performing all the reps of one exercise before moving to the next? Why not try 1 rep of each exercise, performing the exercises quickly one after the other?

Try this: Perform 2-3 sets with 60-90 seconds rest. Perform 1 rep per exercise in succession for sets of 6-8 reps.

Bent Over Rows
Romanian Deadlifts
Reverse Lunges (alternate sides)
Overhead Presses

For those still confused, here’s how it would go down: 1 rep Row, 1 rep RDL, 1 rep Clean, 1 rep Reverse Lunge per side and 1 rep Overhead Press. Return to the Row and run through the sequence again. Repeat this sequence 6-8 times.

Incorporate Uncommon Exercises

Most often, the “basics” (Back Squat, RDL, Overhead Press, Rows, etc.) are used when making up BB complexes. How about expanding your exercise bank and performing exercises that incorporate the frontal plane or a bench? A BB Pushup is also great to throw at the end of complex – it’s technically still part of the complex because you haven't released the bar.

Try this: Perform 2-3 sets with 60-90 seconds rest. Perform 6-8 reps per exercise before moving to the next exercise.

Bent Over Rows
Power Cleans
Alternating Bench Step Ups (perform 12/side alternating)
Push Press
Lateral Lunges (bar on back)
BB Push-Up

Alter the Reps

There will always be a limiting exercise in a BB complex, commonly the Overhead Press. Increase the number of reps for the least challenging exercises and reduce the reps for the more technical exercises or exercises that utilize smaller muscle groups.

Try this: Perform 2-3 sets with 60-90 seconds rest. Perform the allotted number of reps listed beside the exercise below.

Bent Over Rows – 10 reps
Romanian Deadlifts – 12 reps
Cleans – 5 reps
Overhead Presses – 5 reps
Good Morning – 12 reps

NEXT: Two more ways to amp up your barbell complexes >>

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