Complexes and Why We Love Them

When a coach has an athlete who is struggling to understand the small intricacies of a lift (which transfers into a lack of understanding of a lift as a whole), programming complexes into their training can be a great way to secretly (or not so secretly) break down the lifts into segments… with the hope that segmentation will then create fluidity.

When performing a complex, the key is to focus HARD on the purpose of each individual exercise. For example, a complex would be: 1 Clean Pull + 1 Panda Pull+ 1 Clean+ 1 Jerk.

Let’s break down each movement and understand why each specific movement was chosen.

  1. The clean pull is programmed to emphasize LEG DRIVE. We don’t have the added pressure of having to pull our selves under the bar, so we can feel the patience needed in allowing our body to fully extend.
  2. The panda pull helps us understand that tension must be kept on the barbell after we fully drive through our legs. It’s a big drive through the legs and then, WHILE KEEPING THE LATS ENGAGED, shrugging and pull the body into a half squat.
  3. The clean reinforces the first two movements: leg drive in the 2nd pull and keeping tension in the 3rd pull… all while feeling fatigued!
  4. Last, we end with an overhead movement to get good at jerking with tired legs!

Even though complexes can be long and emotionally and physically taxing, do your best not to move lazily or without focus while performing them!

And finally, have fun with them! They are a great way to break up the monotony of training and add spice into your olympic lifts.

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