Exercise Welcome to Movement Complexes

Want to shred off pounds of body fat, while gaining lean muscle? Welcome to Movement Complexes.

Movement complexes

With the season of resolutions coming up, you may have your sights set on a leaner physique and the desire to have more muscle. Now, when would you like to accomplish this? If your answer is anywhere from six to twelve weeks, you need to read this article! In the following you will learn:

  • What are movement complexes
  • Why you need to add movement complexes to your workout routine
  • How to use complex training regimens for your goal

Movement Complexes

The use of complexes in training have been around for ages and have been proven time and time again. Originally, complexes were made famous by the Soviet Union for training athletes for the Olympics. The programming was then adopted and modified over time to diverse populations, ranging from athletics, physique preparations, and in many CrossFit boxes around the world.

The use of movement complexes traditionally would consist of three different barbell exercises with a direct linear progression from one, to the second, and then to the third followed by a relatively long rest break. However, with research I found different ways for optimizing the use of complexes from various researchers, and the experiences from other coaches. With this I have developed a revised platform that maximizes hypertrophy (gaining muscle) and fat loss.

As if losing fat while gaining muscle wasn’t enticing enough

The use of complexes throughout training programs has helped many of my clients break through plateaus in training, and reach new strength maxes while optimizing their physiques. Think of it like this, currently you probably go to the gym anywhere from three to five times in a week, doing the same cycle of exercises that you have been doing the past couple of years with 3 sets of 12 reps to a point where you now autopilot through the gym, sound familiar?

If this is you, think about when was the last time you really noticed a change in your body or remember that you were going up in weight, well let’s get back to that point once again! With the addition of complexes, you are introducing a level of change that will dramatically increase your max strength (increased from 25% and up) while dropping body fat (up to 20lbs) with ranges dependent on what your overall goal is!

Alright, ready to give it a shot?

Complexes were originally designed to train on spectrums of strength and power, but when modified correctly the progressions can be set to optimize fat loss, and maximize muscle sensitivity to nutrients ensuring that caloric intake is promoting lean muscle mass gains!

This can be done by first selecting a movement to be our target for the day, so we will take squats for our example. Now that the movement is defined, we identify our targets for overall physique goals and performance, and select our first two exercises that will prime our nervous system while being worked at power intensities.

This is usually something like “sit to stand” squats, and front squats working with about 85-95% of our 1 rep max for a goal of 3-5 reps in each of our sets. This part is the key in getting the muscle ready to perform for our upcoming strength and hypertrophy exercises, as well as making the muscle become more sensitive to insulin. Thus, promoting uptake of nutrients into the muscle drastically. We then choose 2 exercises that can be used for our strength and hypertrophy sections that are done for 8-12 reps at 60-80% intensity.

Exercises for this section of the complex could include a power clean, box jumps, loaded Jump Squat, or vertical jumps. Lastly, we want to follow up with something to additionally tax the metabolic system to its fullest before setting into complete the circuit again. For this movement you can use sprints, stadium runs (or stair runs), or reverse prowler sprints.

This complex would then consist of 5 different exercises with up to 90 seconds of rest between each exercise, depending on the goal, followed for 3-6 rounds. Usually, I try to maximize my training day by completing two complexes in a single workout making sure to pair the one upper body movement pattern with one lower body movement pattern.


Woo! So now we have a new tool to add to the programming with plenty more to come, but what to expect after completion? Complexes will leave you feeling proud, strong, and probably a little tired. In the long term though, you will see noticeable improvements in muscle tone and reductions in body fat, especially in some of those more troubling areas! However, these workouts can only be completed if your nutrition is on point so make sure you have enough fuel to not only support the workout, but to also get enough in to help your body grow afterwards!

I hope you enjoyed this article! If you have any questions on how to set up your own Movement pattern complexes or nutrition to go along with your program, don’t hesitate to comment below, or message me!

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