My form of complexes, which I am convinced is the fastest route to body “revamping/recomposition”, is generally done with barbell movements. But it can also be done with other pieces of equipment as long as you understand the movement pattern these equipment target as well as how they can be used (where in the force spectrum).
Here are some common strongman/GPP exercises and to what pattern they belong.
TIRE FLIP: deadlift movement pattern
PROWLER PUSHING: lunges or deadlift movement pattern (if torso parallel to the ground)
SLED PULLING BACKWARDS: Squat movement pattern
HILL SPRINTS OR STAIRCASE SPRINTS: can be used for deadlift, lunges or squat movement pattern. If using staircase sprints, 2 steps at a time = deadlift, 1 step at a time = squat
FARMER’S WALK: deadlift or squat movement pattern
LOG PRESS: overhead movement pattern
SLED PRESS: Bench press movement pattern
STONE LIFT: deadlift movement pattern
TIRE STRIKING: Although not a press movement, and the fact that it involves the lats a lot, I like to use it in an overhead complex since it works shoulders nicely
KETTLEBELL SWINGS: Deadlift pattern
KETTLEBELL CLEAN & PRESS: overhead movement pattern
KETTLEBELL SNATCH: overhead or deadlift movement pattern
WHEELBARROW WALK: deadlift or squat pattern
*** Then you must understand how you can adapt these exercises to fit the various points in the force spectrum ***
You can go VERY heavy for a short distance/low reps (e.g. load the prowler with as much weight as you can push for 10 yards), with a moderate weight for speed/power (eg 20yds prowler sprint) or with a light/moderate weight for strength-endurance (e.g. prowler pushing, longest distance covered in 1:30-2:00 minutes).
TIRE FLIP: Maximal = if you have a very heavy tire; that is hard to flip 3-5 times… Power = Explosive flips, as many as you can in 12 seconds … Strength-endurance = maximum flips in 90-120 seconds
PROWLER PUSHING (examples given above)
SLED WALKING BACKWARDS: maximal = heaviest weight you can pull over 10 yards… power = moderate load, maximum distance you can cover in 12 seconds… speed = light load, maximum distance you can cover in 5 seconds … strength-endurance = maximum distance you can cover in 90-120 seconds
HILL/STAIRCASE SPRINTS: maximum = none (if you are crazy you could sprint up a hill pulling a sled over 10 yards) … power = wearing a weighted vest, maximum distance you can cover in 5 seconds… speed = no vest, maximum distance you can cover in 5 seconds… strength-endurance … maximum distance you can cover in 90-120 seconds (for stairs, doesn’t really work with hills)
FARMER’S WALK: maximal = maximum weight you can carry over 10 yards … power = moderate weight, maximum distance you can cover in 5 seconds (speed is the same but with lighter load) … strength-endurance = maximum distance in 90-120 seconds
LOG PRESS: maximal = heaviest weight you can lift for 3-5 reps … power = explosive push press for 3-5 reps … strength-endurance = maximum reps with around 50%
SLED CHEST PRESS: maximal = heaviest weight you can do for 10 yards… power = moderate load, maximum distance you can cover in 12 seconds… speed = light load, maximum distance you can cover in 5 seconds … strength-endurance = maximum distance you can cover in 90-120 seconds
STONE LIFT: maximal = lift the heaviest stone you can for 3-5 reps… power = lift a moderate weight stone explosively for 3-5 reps… strength-endurance = pick a lighter stone and lift it as many times as possible
TIRE STRIKING: maximum = none … power = the more strikes you can do in 12 seconds… strength-endurance = maximum strikes in 90-120 seconds.
WHEELBARROW WALK: same as sled walking backwards
KETTLEBELL STUFF: maximal = maximum weight you can lift 3-5 times… power = moderate load (1 size lower that the maximal weight) for 3-5 explosive reps… strength-endurance = light/moderate weight for max reps
For strongman complexes you pick one maximal movement, one power movement and one strength-endurance (or speed in some cases) movement.
DEADLIFT PATTERN: A1. Heavy tire flip 3-5x … A2. prowler sprint, max distance in 5-12 sec. … A3. Kettlebell swing x max reps
DEADLIFT PATTERN B (bar/strongman combo): A1. Deadlift x 3-5 reps … A2. Prowler sprint max distance over 5-12 seconds… A3. Tire flip, max in 90-120 seconds
SQUAT PATTERN: A1. Heavy sled pulling backwards max weight for 10yds … A2. Hill sprints wearing a vest max distance in 5 seconds … A3. Farmer’s walk max distance in 90-120 seconds
SQUAT PATTERn B (combo): A1. Back squat 3-5 reps … A2. Jump squat with 30% for 5-8 reps … A3. Sled walking backwards maximum distance in 90-120 seconds
OVERHEAD PATTERN: A1. Log press 3-5 reps … A2. Kettlebell push press 3-5 explosive reps … A3. Tire striking max in 90-120 seconds
OVERHEAD PATTERN B (combo): A1. Log press 3-5 reps … A2. Push press 3-5 explosive reps … A3 Kettlebell clean and press max reps
BENCH PATTERN: A1. Log floor press 3-5 reps … A2. Sled chest press maximum reps in 12 seconds … A3. Plyo push ups
BENCH PATTERN B (combo): A1. Bench press 3-5 reps …A2. Medicine ball throw from chest x 8-10… A3. Sled chest press max distance in 90-120 seconds
By Christian Thibaudeau