Minimal time, Maximal Output!

Today we live in a society so fast-paced that it can sometimes be difficult to find time to fit in exercise sessions that last longer than an hour.

Barbell complexes can be great to incorporate into your exercise routine on days where you feel pushed for time. The concept behind this method of training is to perform multiple compound exercises with a barbell at a fixed weight and never releasing the bar until a round has been completed. The weight is determined by what a person is able to perform efficiently on the most difficult movement of the progression and therefore a lighter weight in the beginning is advised until there is familiarity with the various compound movements. “A complex is a circuit using one piece of equipment, one load, and one space” – Alwyn Cosgrove

When completed effectively, the workout only lasts between 15-20 minutes with many benefits such as increasing training volume, strength endurance and are great for melting body fat, increasing caloric expenditure and skyrocketing the metabolism.

Here’s an example of what exercises are typically included in a barbell complex:

Deadlift – Bent over row – Hang power clean – Front squat – Overhead press – Back squat

Six repetitions of each exercise are completed back-to-back before the bar is set on the ground and a 90-second break is taken before beginning the next round. With each round, the number of repetitions declines by one e.g. six repetitions for all exercises in round one, five repetitions in round two, four repetitions in round three etc.


As with all exercise routines, it is advised to be sufficiently warmed-up before beginning resistance-based training and to have a sound understanding about how to perform the movements safely and correctly so as to avoid injury. If you would like further advice on implementing complexes into your training routine, please contact the team at Absolute Balance by emailing or head to the website


Chris Chen (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)