Build Functional Strength in 20 Minutes with This Full-body Barbell Complex

Got a barbell? Great. That’s all you need to challenge your entire body thanks to this barbell complex workout from our fitness editor Andrew Tracey.

For those of you who don’t know, a barbell complex is four or five exercises strung together and using a single piece of kit. The barbell complex you’ll be doing today combines five movements (and a set of press-ups tacked on at the end, naturally). It’s also an AMRAP workout, so you’ll be completing as many rounds of the complex as possible in 20 minutes.

“It doesn’t matter if your barbell’s a little bit light,” says Tracey, “because over that 20 minutes, you’ll end up getting more reps in. If your barbell is a little bit heavy and you have to rest more, that’s absolutely fine. You’ll be doing less reps at a heavier weight, and everything will balance out in the long run.”

Time to pull the pin. Remember to rest liberally and you can warm-up with some walkouts into cobra. We also suggest starting light so you can warm-up in the complex.


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Push Press x2

How: Grab a barbell and hold it at shoulder height with palms facing forwards. Set your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees to initiate the move. Push up with your legs to explosively press the barbell straight above your head. Return under control to the start position.

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Hang Power Clean x4

How: Drop the barbell down to your hips, maintaining an overhand grip. Dip down at the hips before explosively bringing the weights to your shoulders, slightly jumping as you do. Straighten your legs to stand. Lower the weight back down to your hips before repeating the movement.

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Front Squat x6

How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a barbell across your upper chest. You can either support the weight on your fingers, with wrists extended, or cross your arms to support the weight. Taking care to keep to not arch your back, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive your heels into the floor to push yourself explosively back up to the start position.

Back Squat x8

How: Brace your core with your feet shoulder-width apart and your lower back naturally arched. Hold the bar across your upper back with an overhand grip. Pull your shoulders back so that the bar rests comfortably on the shelf created by your shoulder blades. Keeping your lower back arched, lower your body as deep as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Your torso should stay as upright as possible. Pause, then reverse the movement back to the starting position.

deadlifts

Deadlifts x10

How: With your feet beneath the barbell, squat down and grasp it with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back and look straight ahead rather than up or down. Lift the bar, keeping it close to your legs and focus on taking the weight back onto your heels. Lift to thigh level, pause, then return under control to the start position.

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Press-ups x12

How: Get down into a press-up position with your hands shoulder width apart. Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground then explosively drive up by fully extending your arms.

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