Monday, 28 May 2012

Complex training

If you know me, or follow my blogs you’ll probably have a pretty good idea by now that I love to use sports performance strength and conditioning protocols within my training to achieve a functional, shredded, muscular physique. Without a doubt this is one of my favourites and fastest ways to build muscle, melt fat, gain strength, gain explosive power and build work capacity simultaneously. Let me introduce complex training! (not to be confused with a complex, like the one I presented in a previous post - the BB warm up complex)

so what is it? Well the concept of complex training has been around for years and quite simply is a strength exercise paired with an explosive exercise of the same/similar movement pattern. For example, a bench press for 6 reps into a medicine ball chest pass for 15 reps. Not all exercises have an explosive exercise they can be paired up with, but a substitution can normally be found.  Here are some common pairings:
Strength exercise (4-6 reps)
Explosive exercise (12-15reps)
Bench press
Medicine ball chest pass
Front squat
Jump squat
Broad jump
Weighted pull-up
Medicine ball slam

The science behind complex training is actually quite simple when you think about it. It activates the central nervous system and fast twitch fibres simultaneously (remember these have most potential for growth and are responsible for explosive power). You can already see your going to be killing more than 2 birds with one stone right? So the strength exercise activates the fast twitch fibres, then the explosive exercise that immediately follows stresses these fibres that have been activated even more. This type of training will also shift certain muscles fibres that may be more slow twitch to perform like a fast twitch muscle fibre. If you want to become a fast, strong, explosive individual this is exactly what you want! If you want to become a slow, weed with bamboo sticks for legs stay away from this technique. My last point is that the pace of this workout torches calories and gets your heart rate up which keeps your body in that ‘fat burning’ state.
The video below shows a quick demonstration of a smith machine bench press paired with a medicine ball chest pass. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!