Assuming you have access to a barbell – in the garden, the garage or the gym – then barbell complexes will probably offer you the best fitness return on time invested that I can think of.
Their beauty, despite the name, lies in their simplicity and time-effectiveness. They are virtually idiot-proof and can have you in and out of the gym in half an hour which gives you plenty of time to swing by the shops on the way home to buy some nappies and a little treat for Tired Out Mum.
You pick up the barbell (or unrack it) and perform a set number of reps of multiple exercises without putting the bar down. Then repeat. For Super Fit Dads it’s the next step along from the trusty kettlebell, requiring just a little more space and a little more money to buy your barbell and weights.
I first got into them reading ‘Intervention’ by Dan John and would really recommend reading his erudite musings on this subject (and pretty much anything else). Since then I’ve played around with all kind of variations and would encourage you to do the same. It’s great fun and any combination you come up with will help with torching fat and stacking on a bit of muscle.
Here are some of my favourites:
1. 15-10-5 hang-clean, military press, bicep curls
My go-to warm up for when time is scarce, this will crank the heart rate and have you raring to go. I use an empty barbell (20kg) which is fine for me. Sometimes I add stiff-legged deadlifts at the front the ‘plex.
2. 3 x 10 deadlift, squat-clean, military press, front squat, bicep curls
Depending on the weight, this can be a challenge. In fact, it can royally f*ck you up. A couple of times doing this has had me sat on the floor seeing stars between sets. But, if you get the weight right (i.e. you don’t go too heavy), it can be the most time-efficient workout you’ll ever do. Warm-up, do this, cool-down, home. BAM!
3. 5 x 25 SL deadlift, hang clean, military press, front squat, jerk, reverse curls
Go back to basics and just work the barbell to start with on this. If it’s easy to begin with keep in mind that it won’t feel that way after 750 reps. It will make you swear and, quite possibly, cry. Feel free to scale back the last exercise if you think “curls are for girls” or are short on time.
4. Snatch technique complex: 3 x 8 muscle snatch, overhead squat, snatch balance, hang snatch
This one is courtesy of Keegan Smith and it’s a beauty for working through many of the snatch components. Doing this with an empty bar will definitely raise your temperature. Add more weight once you’ve nailed your technique but do so in small increments.
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