Complexes: The Simple Way To Get In & Out Of The Gym – Stat

It’s New Year resolution season, and that means throngs of people are flooding the gym to reverse their holiday weight gain. The crowds can make it challenging to get an effective workout in a busy gym!

If you feel overwhelmed by the crowds and just want to get in, get sweaty, and get out – this post is for you.

First, a couple of principles to follow:

(1) Use as little equipment as possible. That means a barbell, one set of dumbbells, a single kettlebell, or your bodyweight are going to be your best bet.

(2) Use complexes for the quickest, most effective workout possible.

What’s a complex?

Despite the name, a “complex” is simple: you perform two or more exercises back-to-back without setting down the weight. Once you complete all the reps for each exercise in the complex, you rest.

Complexes are an awesome technique to get the most out of a busy gym because they use only one piece of equipment (or a pair of weights), and the continuous movements will elevate your heart rate, providing both a strength and cardio training effect. Talk about win-win.

Here are three ways to add complexes to your training, depending on the equipment available in your crowded gym.

Barbell Complex

Grab an empty barbell and warm up with just the bar. You’ll do the following exercises:

  • Power clean x5
  • Front squat x5
  • Push press x5
  • Alternating lunges x5/leg

Keep adding weight to the bar until you hit your limiting lift – most likely the power clean or push press. Use that weight to complete three to four working sets of this complex, resting 60-90 seconds between sets.

Dumbbell Complex

Pick a pair of dumbbells you could strict press for 10-12 reps, then perform the following exercises:

  • DB Romanian Deadlift x10
  • DB Hang Cleans x10
  • DB Front Squat x10
  • DB Push Press x10
  • Man-Maker x5 (that’s one row per arm, plus a push up)

Same directions as above – rest 60-90 seconds between rounds for 4-5 rounds.

Kettlebell Complex

This one gets fun since we can do a bunch of dynamic movements with the kettlebell. Select a weight you can safely snatch for high reps.


  • 1 Turkish Get Up (just the “get up,” not the reverse)
  • 10 Single-Arm KB Cleans
  • 10 Single-Arm KB Thrusters (squat to press)
  • 10 Single-Arm KB Snatches
  • 10 Arm-Overhead Lunges (5/leg)

Rest 60 seconds and repeat this complex with the other arm. Complete 2-3 rounds per side.

There you have it, the not-so-complex way to get a quick and sweaty strength workout in a busy gym.

You don’t have to spend an hour at the gym to get an effective workout. While everyone else is fighting over the treadmills, you’ll build strength and endurance (and holy grip strength, Batman) with these complexes.