How to Burn Fat and Get Shredded With Barbell Complexes

When it comes to burning fat, most of us think there is just the one option: cardio. Of course there are different types of cardio – with HIIT being one of the most popular – but still this essentially boils down to running, rowing or moving fast for set periods of times.


Problem is, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us would have to admit that we’re not the biggest fans of cardio. We became bodybuilders for a reason: lifting weights is fun. Running on a treadmill for hours? Not so fun.


Luckily though, there’s another option.

What Are Barbell Complexes and Why Are They Perfect for Cardio?

A complex is essentially a type of training that involves using large sets with a variety of different rep counts all in one big routine – almost like a circuit.


With that in mind, a barbell complex is obviously going to be a sort of circuit but using a barbell. And this basically entails doing things like squatting, like pressing, like deadlifting and like skull crushing. Then you have upward rows, curls, extensions, cleans and all the other exciting things you can do with a barbell.


Why is this the perfect storm when it comes to fat loss? First and foremost, this is because all these movements involve your whole body. When you deadlift, you engage lots of the biggest muscles in the body. The hamstrings and quads of course get involved, but so too does the lower back, the lats, the shoulders and the core. All of this works together and in doing so, it stimulates a huge release of hormones. These hormones are the anabolic hormones of course such as testosterone and growth hormone. At the same time, you also get a release of adrenaline and the other catecholamine hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline. This ramps up your muscle building and your fat burning to help create a truly ripped and lean physique.


What’s more, you’ll be performing rapid repetitions and long sets with these weights which will give you plenty of opportunity to burn calories. And because you’re doing this with weight, you’ll be doing what’s known as ‘resistance cardio’ or ‘concurrent training’. This entails combining cardio with resistance work which means your heart works harder and you burn more fat.


A Routine

So with than in mind, what might a routine look like that used complexes with a barbell to burn fat?

Something like this…

20 x Squats

15 x Clean and Press

10 x Overhead Extensions

10 x Rows

10 x Deadlifts


Combine these in a sequence with no or very little rest in between and do several routines. As an added bonus, burning fat this way will be more protective of muscle so you won’t lose those hard-won gains. And moreover, you’ll get to train doing what you love!


Note: These can also be used as ‘finisher sets’ tacked onto the end of a resistance workout to increase the total number of fat burned!

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