If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that Justin and I are finally going to compete in our very first physique competition on April 4! (Click on the poster below for more information about the competition.) We’ve hired a coach, Phil Stevens of Strength Guild in Topeka, Kansas, to help us with programming and diet so we can hit the stage looking and feeling our very best. Our coach, in a very small nutshell, creates our individual training schedules and tells us how many macros (Proteins, Carbs, an Fats) we need consume on any given day in order to reach our goals. 


His style of training is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Most of my experience lifting weights was learned from pre-built programs like Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer, and Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred. Both fantastic programs that I highly recommend, but very different from what I am doing these days. It’s been exciting, fun, and refreshing to learn other ways to train. It’s renewed my love for lifting heavy and getting my ass kicked in the gym!

I’m nearing the end of my 13th week with Phil, and I have 12 weeks left until the competition. He gives me a new training schedule every four weeks. I’ve truly loved each and every block of training, but this last block has been my favorite by far, and it’s all because of the barbell complex

There isn’t anything terribly complex about a barbell complex. It’s no more than a series of exercises performed one after the other, using a barbell. They typically consist of 4 – 6 exercises that transition easily from one to the other (i.e. clean and press). This is key since your hands never leave the barbell. If you’re short on time, or just hate traditional cardio like me, these are great because complexes really get your heart racing and they only take about 10 – 15 minutes!

If your goal is to burn lots of fat while building lean muscle mass, then you should definitely give these a go. Add them at the end of your workout like Phil has me doing, or do them as a completely separate conditioning workout. It’s up to you, there is no right or wrong time, and there is no set series of exercises you have to do. The only thing limiting what makes up a complex is your imagination. Just remember, transitions should be somewhat fluid and natural so I wouldn’t suggest going from an upright row to a back squat for instance. 

Have fun, and get ready to work with these complexes that came straight from our coach.

For other fun training ideas and printouts, go to our Training page. You’ll find links to the popular 20 Rep Squat Program, printables for or our most popular Pinterest pins like the Heavy Push|Pull|Leg Split, and group training for things like Tough Mudder!



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