Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness and nutrition courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
Sometimes the simplest way to burn fat is complex, and no, we don’t mean “complicated.” A complex is a series of exercises performed seamlessly one after the other, using the same equipment and same weight for all the moves. All reps of one move must be completed before moving to the next, and you can only put the equipment down when all exercises are finished.
Complexes are essentially a form of metabolic conditioning, which incinerates mega-fat while maintaining lean mass. According to one study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, participants who exercised three days a week using techniques similar to a complex lost more fat than participants who only did four hours of aerobics per week. Furthermore, the lifters retained all their lean mass and were shown to significantly increase their metabolism — while the aerobic-only group decreased theirs.
Take this barbell complex out for a test-drive, either as a finisher for a strength session or as a stand-alone conditioning workout. Since the idea is to boost your metabolism and ignite the fat burn, don’t use a crushing weight — just play to your weakest lift. For instance, if you can squat a Smart Car but can’t do an overhead press with a naked barbell, then use a naked bar for all the lifts. When in doubt, err on the lighter side; you can always increase your weight next workout.
Stand with your toes underneath the bar. Push your hips back, then bend your knees until you can grip the bar outside your legs, back flat, shins perpendicular. (Note: Your hips should be higher than your knees!) Extend your knees and hips at the same rate and pull the bar up in a vertical line as you come to standing. Reverse steps to return to start.
At the top of your last deadlift, clean the bar into a front rack position — elbows lifted, chest up, feet hip-width apart. Now push your hips back and lower into a squat, keeping your elbows as parallel as possible. Extend your knees and hips and come to standing.
Keeping the bar in the front rack position, adjust your grip, if needed. Push the bar straight up overhead to full extension of your arms, then lower to the start.
With the bar in the front rack position, squat down to just below parallel, then quickly stand and use that momentum to explosively press the bar overhead. Lower to the start and go right into the next rep.
Lateral Burpee Over Barbell
Place the bar on the ground (phew!) and stand sideways to it. Crouch and place your hands on the floor, jump your feet behind you, do a push-up, jump your feet underneath you, then extend your legs and hips and leap laterally over the bar. Repeat immediately on the other side.
Barbell Complex Workout
After a thorough warm-up, perform the moves in order, completing all reps for one set before moving to the next, without putting down the barbell until the burpees. Rest two to three minutes between rounds and shoot for three to five total rounds, depending on your fitness level.
|Overhead Push Press||4|
|Lateral Burpee Over Barbell||10|