Combine these five full-body lifts into a full-throttle fat-fighting complex.

When gyms reopen on 12 April, hit the bar with this five-move complex that unites some classic compound lifts to devastating fat-fighting effect.

Grab a barbell, do each exercise for the required number of reps, then move onto the next move without setting the weight down.

Only rest after you finish all five moves. Do this as a finisher to a strength session or as a standalone quick-fire workout.

“Barbell complexes are an effective tool to build muscle and at the same time fire up your metabolism to torch body fat,” says Steve Kowalenko of W10 Performance.

“They’re fast, fun, and elevate your metabolism for longer than traditional cardio. Also, while traditional cardio can increase your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for fat storage, this complex will release anabolic hormones that will outweigh its negative effects and help you maintain muscle mass.”

HOW TO:

  • Use a manageable weight you can use without sacrificing form.
  • Complete 10 reps of each exercise.
  • Rest as long as you like between exercises – just don’t put the bar down.
  • Rest for 60 secs at the end of the round.
  • Complete 3-5 rounds in total.

This Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UKThis Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UK

1a. Bent-Over Row

  • Hold the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your core engaged and hinge forward at your hips, keeping your back flat.
  • Pull the bar up to your sternum, then lower.

COACH TIP: “Pull your elbows toward the ceiling, rather than just pulling with your hands, to recruit your upper back,” says Kowalenko.

This Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UKThis Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UKThis Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UK

1b. Hang Power Clean

  • Allow the bar to hang with straight arms so it’s just above your knees.
  • Straighten up and snap your hips forwards to help you lift the bar high.
  • Catch it on the top of your chest, with your elbows as high as you can get them.

COACH TIP: “At the start, push your bum back so your hamstrings and glutes are fully engaged. Don’t bend your knees.”

This Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UKThis Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UK

1c. Front Squat

  • With the bar resting on the top of your chest and elbows high, squat until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
  • Make sure your knees stay wide apart and heels remain in contact with the ground.
  • Drive back up.

COACH TIP: “Squat straight down. If your hips go too far back it will cause you to lean forward and strain your back.”

This Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UKThis Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UK

1d. Push Press

  • Get a good grip on the bar again.
  • Drop into a quarter squat and, as you drive back up, use the momentum to press the bar overhead.
  • Keep your core and glutes tight so your back doesn’t curve under the weight.

COACH TIP: “Your head travels around the bar, not the other way around. Pull your head back as you press directly up.”

This Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UKThis Barbell Conditioning Workout Builds Lean Muscle | Men's Fitness UK

1e. Back Squat

  • Lower the bar on to your shoulders behind your head.
  • Keep your chest up and lower into a squat, keeping your weight on your heels.
  • Drive back up.
  • Once you’ve finished all your reps, set the bar down.

COACH TIP: “Don’t rely on your quads. Activate your glutes by keeping your heels on the floor and your knees wide.”

 

Photography: Tom Miles

 

 

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