If you’ve been around KBs or the strength training or the
fat loss world for any length of time then you’re probably
aware of some pretty “hardcore” methods for fat loss.
And one that’s achieved amazing popularity in the last
Just in case you don’t know what a complex is, it’s simply
a series of exercises, where all the reps for each exercise
are done before moving on to the next exercise, and those
exercises are performed non-stop without ever putting your
Here’s what it looks like:
Swing x5 then, Clean x5, then Press x5, then Squat x5,
You can do these for time or for reps.
You can use a prescribed rest or you can use a density
based program where you do as many as you can in
a specific time period – racing the clock.
Regardless, for many people, complexes are one of the
WORST methods for fat loss that exist.
Why on earth would I say that when I’m known by some
as “Captain Complex” – the author of “Kettlebell Muscle”
and “More Kettlebell Muscle” – books specifically about
Before I tell you the reason, consider the history of the
Complexes as we know them were “invented” in the 1960s
by a Romanian weightlifting coach, Istvan Javorek, to be
used by Olympic weightlifters to improve muscle mass,
conditioning, synchronization of movements, and the
overall “harmony” of the weightlifters’ bodies.
In other words, complexes were used for already well-trained
athletes to make them even more well-trained.
The complex is above many people’s strength AND skill
If you’re using complexes for fat loss your engaging in
And in training methodology, you need strength in order
to train strength-endurance.
The latter is based on the former.
Remember, the guy who wins the marathon is still the
strongest guy – he generated more force per footstep to
allow him to cover the course the fastest.
Skill comes, in many cases, at least with weights, hand-in-
hand with strength.
But even if it didn’t, you need to have spent a lot of time
refining your skill so it doesn’t fall apart when you get tired –
Which, incidentally, is when most people’s skill falls apart.
And make no mistake, complexes make you tired – VERY
The greater the strength you have, the longer your skill
usually remains intact while under fatigue.
If you have neither – you have a situation where your technique
falls apart quickly – and –
Because you’re neither confident in your skill or your strength,
you panic under fatigue –
Fear you’ll drop the weight…
Fear you won’t make the reps…
Fear you can’t keep your technique in the later reps and sets…
And fear increases your sympathetic hormonal response –
Releasing more adrenaline and cortisol – which is a perfectly
normal response in potentially life-threatening situations and
as a response to stress.
If a KB complex is life-threatening you’re a fool for doing it.
If you’re already stressed out with 60+ hour work weeks, a
family, two mortgages, two car payments, and credit card
debt, then putting an already stressed out system under more
stress is not the smartest of things to do.
Your body (and mind) can only take so much stress.
Then you know what happens?
The system breaks.
Your shoulder, back, hip, elbow, neck, wrist, whatever.
Maybe even your stomach as you aggravate that ulcer or
Know what I mean?
And THAT’S why for many, many people, complexes are the
worst method for fat loss that you can use.
So if you’ve tried them and they didn’t work for you – in
other words – you couldn’t complete the program or got
hurt or worse – got fatter – now you know why.
So what do you do instead?
Start slowly and small.
(Words that are almost anathema to the average American.)
Work your technique.
Get it down pat so it’s automatic – you don’t have to think
about it – you just do it.
Work on strength.
Just get strong.
How strong is “strong?”
Well guys should strive to ultimately be able to press a
pair of 24s or better and ladies should be able to press
a pair of 16s or better.
(These are easily achievable goals with the right program
and some patience.)
Then, you’ll definitely be ready for some complexes for
your fat loss.
Until then, refine your skill and get strong with the “Kettlebell
STRONG!” 2 DVD and book set.
P.S. If you’re already relatively strong, you’ll still be helped
by “Kettlebell STRONG!” – You’ll find your weak points.
P.P.S. If you’re ready for complexes for fat loss – check out the
“Deluxe” edition of “Kettlebell STRONG!” – it includes my
book, “More Kettlebell Muscle” – which includes 20 DIFFERENT
complex training programs – each between 6 and 12 weeks