Resistance Training For triathlon And Endurance SportGiven its name, complex training is extremely simple form of training that is very effective at stimulating an adaptation response from the body.

Complex training will get you fitness and fat loss results in half the time of other less effective workouts.

If you currently spend over 45minutes to 90minutes in the gym, bored of your usual workout routines and you have seen a drop in your performance or fat loss results, then I do recommend complex training for an effective and time effective workout.

No more sitting around procrastinating and wondering what to do next!

What Is Complex Training?

Complex training is the grouping or series of different exercises back to back, for example a resistance exercise followed by an explosive exercise. Depending on your background, skill and which phase of training you are in terms of periodisation the exact method will vary, but here are some examples of complex training routines.

 3 Examples Of Complex Training Workouts

1.     Squat – Vertical Jump

2.     Bench Press – Medicine Ball Chest Pass

3.     Lunge – Step Jumps

Depending on what you want to achieve you can perform this complex in several different ways.

As a general adaptation phase you might like to perform all the resistance exercises back to back, say 12 reps of each with 30-60 seconds recovery.

Taking 1-3 minutes complete rest once this is done you then perform the plyometric portion of your training session, say 10 explosive reps of the explosive exercise as follows:

Basic Complex Training Session

Exercies Reps Rest/set
Squat 3 x 12 (12RM) 30-60s
Bench Press 3 x 12 (12RM) 30-60s
Lunge 3 x 12 (12RM) 30-60s
3 minute recovery
Vertical Jump 3 x 10 (explosive) 90s
Chest Pass 3 x 10 (explosive) 90s
Step Jump 3 x 10 (explosive) 90s


If you are into a more advanced stage or competition phase of training then you will want to increase the load of the resistance portion of the exercise (6-8RM), moving into strength repetition range of between 1 and 6 reps.

In addition to this you can combine the resistance and plyometric exercises together with minimal recovery – super sets – for example 6 x squat followed immediately by 10 plyometric vertical jumps.

Advanced Complex Training Session

Exercise Reps Rest
1a Squat 3 x 6 (6-8RM) 90-180s
1b Vertical Jump 3 x 10 90-180s
2a Bench Press 3 x 6 (6-8RM) 90-180s
2b Chest Pass 3 x 10 90-180s
3a Lunge 3 x 6 (6-8RM) 90-180s
3b Step Jump 3 x 10 90-180s


It should be noted that this is an example and if you are training for a specific sport or competition then you should choose exercises that are specific to that sport.


As you develop through the periodisation cycle into strength and power phases you might also want or need to move into more challenging variations of the exercises set.

While stable exercises such as squat and bench press are best for strength exercises, and in my opinion destabilising these would make them less effective, you could try single leg hops as a development of the vertical jump (only if you are able to do this with full range of motion and you are ready physiologically).

Depth jumps might could also be a development of the vertical jump to really squeeze extra performance and take advantage of the myotatic reflex arc (stretch reflex) to generate more power.

Why Is Complex Training So Effective?

In terms of losing body fat, the complex training method is effective because it stimulates so many muscle fibres, can be highly anaerobic and generate high amounts of lactate, and if you play with your recovery times to reduce the ability of the body to disperse lactate you will increase epoc further.

In addition to this the workouts will burn lots of energy during the session making a calorie deficit more achievable for those looking to shed body fat.

By performing multi-joint compound exercises in a complex workout, and by keeping your workout time short (max 30-40mins) you will create an anabolic response in the body, human growth hormone (HGH) and a whole host of other benefits.

In terms of CNS and muscle fibre activation, by performing a resistance exercise before a powerful explosive exercise you will stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) and increase your body’s ability to generate power.

I hope this helps you save time and get better results through more effective training. I would highly recommend introducing complex training into your training plan especially if you are looking to overcome a plateau and you are ready for more explosive workout.

Happy training! Nico.