Man Doing Complex Training

Complex Training

Complex training is a modern training that focuses on enhancing the explosive power of an athlete by combining strength training and plyometrics.

Strength training focuses on building both strength and anaerobic endurance by using resistance to push your muscles. Plyometrics is a training routine that is characterized by short intervals of jumps and other fast movements meant to increase power.

The combination of these two trainings into one complex training is sure to always bring the results you want.

How Does it Work?

During complex training, you will perform a strength focus exercise and then you will pair it with a power focus exercise that follows the same basic movements. This is the combination of the two separate training methods. However, the true hero of complex training is called Post-Activation Potentiation, or PAP for short. PAP is a method that takes advantage of muscle contractions by quickly throwing in a fast and powerful plyometric movement during the exact time that the muscles are contracted as the result of a strength training movement.

What Does a Complex Training Routine Look Like?

Complex training routines vary by the level of fitness you are at currently. The basic formula is resistance exercise + plyometric exercise. Some examples of complex training specific exercises are:

  • Snatch Grip Deadlift then Power Snatch
  • Squat then Squat Jumps
  • Front Squat then Push Jerk
  • Bench Press then Clap Push-ups
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows then MB Front Throws

Clearly, complex training focuses on gaining speed, power, and strength. This training is perfect for athletes that participate in power-based sports.

See complex training in action here: 

Variations of Complex Training

There are many variations of complex training because, as long as it follows the strength/plyometric formula, it is technically a complex training exercise. However, there are some specific variations of the training.

  • Combat Athletics: This variation incorporates punches into its routines and is commonly used by martial artists and boxers.
  • Weight Lifting: For this variation, you quickly lift heavy weights and then switch to lighter weights and continue to quickly lift.
  • Rock Climbing: This variation is used to help rock climbers develop power and hand strength for secure holds while climbing.

Benefits of Complex Training

The benefits of complex training are not like other training types that promote generalized body health and stress relief. Complex training is targeted toward a very particular type of athlete, and that is where its benefits lie. The training uses the neuromuscular connection, which is the link between nerves and muscles, to train your body to react with maximum force. Sports that require explosive force, quick movements, and powerful reactions rely on complex training to help their athletes reach their full potential.

Women Doing Complex Training

Why Choose Complex Training?

Even though strength training and plyometrics are both great training programs in their own right, the combination of the two proves to be incredibly effective training for sports that rely on power. In fact, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study in 2000 that provided a comparison of strength training, plyometrics, and the combination of the two, complex training. While all the groups they observed showed improvement, those that participated in complex training were the only ones that exhibited notable increases in both strength and power. This determined that the training most beneficial to power-focused athletes is complex training.

The Verdict 

Complex training is a specified training reserved for power-based athletes that are looking to increase their performance. You most likely will not venture into complex training unless you are an athlete. It is not promoted as a regular workout routine, but you are always welcome to try it if you want to shake things up with intense exercise.