Use Complex Training to Increase Your Strength and Power

STACK Expert John Cissik explains complex training and offers a 12-week complex training workout plan to build strength and power.

Complex Training

Complex training has been around for a long time. When I started in the strength and conditioning field, it was a secret Russian training method designed to increase strength and power during the season. It's a great use of your time when you're in-season and training time is limited.

Complex training combines a slow, heavy strength exercise like a Squat or Press with a light, fast, explosive exercise like an Olympic lift, a jump, a sprint or a throw. The idea is to use the heavy, slow movement to maximally recruit the nervous system, then take advantage of that recruitment with the fast exercise. For example, perform a set of strength exercises, such as three or four heavy repetitions of the Back Squat, followed by a set of an explosive exercise, such as five vertical jumps. Recover fully before performing the next set; this is not quite like a bodybuilding superset.

Below is a 12-week complex training workout plan. The first four weeks will prepare you for what is to come.Weeks 5 through 8 are heavier than the first four and are the first true complex training workouts. Weeks 9 through 12 are the heaviest. After 12 weeks, start over with Week 1.

Complex Training Workout Plan

Weeks 1-4

Monday

Power Snatch: 3x3-4@60-70%
Snatch Pulls: 3x4-6@60-70%
Back Squats: 3x8-12@70-80%
Romanian Deadlifts: 3x8-12
Reverse Hyperextensions: 3x12-15

Wednesday

Push Jerk: 3x3-4@60-70%
Bench Press: 3x8-12@70-80%
Dumbbell Bench Press: 3x8-12
Pull-Ups: 3x8-12
Bent-Over Rows: 3x8-12
Military Press: 3x8-12

Friday

Power Clean: 3x3-4@60-70%
Clean Pulls: 3x4-6@60-70%
Incline Press: 3x8-12
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3x8-12
3-in-1 Shoulders (front raise + side raise + rear delts): 3x12-15
Biceps/Triceps superset: 3x12-15 each

Weeks 5-8

Monday

Snatch Grip Deadlift + Power Snatch: 3x4 + 3@60-70%
Back Squat + Squat Jumps: 3x4-8@75-85% + 5 Jumps
Romanian Deadlift + Standing Long Jumps: 3x4-8 + 5 Jumps
Reverse Hyperextensions: 3x12-15

Wednesday

Front Squat + Push Jerk: 3x4-6@75-85% + 2-4@75-85% of Push Jerk
Bench Press + MB Throw: 3x4-8@75-85% + 5 Throws
Bent-Over Rows + MB Behind Back Throw: 3x4-8 + 5 Throws
Military Press: 3x4-8

Friday

Romanian Deadlift + Power Clean: 3x4-8 + 2-4@75-85%
Split Squat + Split Jumps: 3x4-8 + 5 Jumps (each leg)
Dumbbell Bench Press + Clapping Push-Ups: 3x4-8 + 5 Push-Ups
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows + MB Front Throws: 3x4-8 each arm + 5 Throws

Weeks 9-12

Monday

Snatch Grip Deadlift + Snatch Pull + Power Snatch: 3x3-6 + 3-4 + 1-2@70-80% of Power Snatch
Back Squats + Box Jumps: 3x1-3@80-90% + 5 Jumps
Partial Deadlifts + Counter-Movement Jumps: 3x1-3@80-90% + 5 Jumps
Eccentric Bench Press + MB Chest Pass: 3x1-3@70-80% + 5 Throws
Bent-Over Rows + MB Front Toss: 3x1-3 + 5 Throws

Wednesday

Power Clean + Front Squat + Push Jerk: 3x1-3 + 4-6 + 1-3 @ 70-80% of Power Clean
Split Squats + Split Jumps: 3x2-4 + 5 Jumps each leg
Deadlifts: 3x1-3@80-90%
Dumbbell Bench Press + Clapping Push-Ups: 3x2-4 + 5 Push-Ups

Friday

Dumbbell Power Clean + Dumbbell Front Squats: 3x2-3 + 6-10
Eccentric Squats + Squat Jumps: 3x1-3@70-80% + 5 Jumps
Bench Press + MB Chest Pass: 3x1-3@80-90% + 5 Throws
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows + One-Arm Kettlebell Swings: 3x1-3 + 1-3 each arm

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Topics: POWER CLEAN | CHEST | BENCH PRESS | WORKOUT PLAN | WORKOUTS | MILITARY | POWER | EXERCISE | BENCH | CLEAN | PRESS | THROW | DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS | SNATCH