Examples of Power Complexes


In regards to your recent instagram post on doing explosive work for longevity, could you grace us with a few examples of power complexes?

In my current homegym setup I have space to do jumps, throws, bike sprints, rope jumps and plyometric work for squat and pushup variations.

However I don’t have much experience with setting up power complexes and the basic principles and rules that apply to make those complexes work for their intended purpose.

For example: how many exercises (I was thinking 3-5 max), how many reps (3-5 also?), how much rest between each exercise (or would you take a rest after performing all of them in a row) etc.

Look up this article: there is literally everything you need to know about complexes.

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Well damn. I should’ve known by now that you have an article published somewhere on everything that’s related to training.

When the goal is building complexes for power development specifically:

  • Can you achieve that exclusively with modalites that don’t use more than 20% of your max load or does there, at some point, need to be a strength based (85%+ load) exercise in the complex to improve?

  • Do the movement patterns all have to be similar in a complex or can you train multiple movement patterns explosively and reap equal benefits? Is that less efficient? For example, A1. 10 second bike sprint - rest 2-3 minutes A2. 3-5 Medicine ball slams - rest 2-3 minutes A3. 3-5 Alternating split squat jumps with 10%-20% of 1RM.

  • Can you do a power complex in between your normal training sessions (for example when you’re following a strength or hypertrophy based program but you still want to train multiple capacities with longevity in mind) or should the complex be considered a substitute for one of your hyp or strength based training sessions?

Thank you.

Well, you could have a complex of speed-strength (explosive movements with 20% or so loads, like a trap bar jump) and reactive/plyometric exercise (e.g. depth jumps or hurdle jumps. In which case it would be a good idea to at least have separate strength work.

Or you could use isometrics + a speed-strength movement (one of my favorite complex)

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Yeah, a complex trains at least the same muscle(s) and ideally in a similar movement pattern. That’s the purpose of a complex: to train one movement pattern using various points in the force-velocity curve.

You CAN mix explosive exercises hitting more than one muscle group/movement pattern, but that becomes a power circuit. Which does have it’s benefits but is not the same as a complex.


That would be largely volume-dependant. I mean, if you do 1 or 2 sets of a complex of 2 exercises it isn’t a very large stress and can likely be added to a reasonable routine… heck, that volume of work could be used as activation prior to a normal workout.

But if you are building a true performance session, which would include a decent amount of complexes (and maybe some other stuff), then it is better if it replaces a workout.


Got it. I think the power circuits are what I want to do more of right now next to my regular training. I want to be/feel more athletic and well rounded this time and not just be muscular and lean.

I’m very excited to start implementing these complexes into my next strength based program though.

Thank you for being transparent and answering my questions individually.

That helps!

Yeah, I like power circuits too. The way I see them is a good way to develop some overall explosiveness and athleticism.

Complexes are better to MAXIMIZE these traits, as in being a competitive athlete who needs every ounce of power they can develop.


That is good to know, thanks for explaining this subtle difference between circuits and complexes.

Last questions:

  1. Do the same rules apply to a power circuit when it comes to rest periods (2-3 minutes) in between exercises or are 60-75 seconds in between enough and you rest like 2-3 minutes after?

It probably depends on the type of exercise and the external load that is being used right (bodyweight in plyometric exercises versus speed-strength or strength-speed variations with a load of 10-70% of 1RM)?

  1. This question is related to the first question. In your article you mention that combining strength qualities like power and strength or strength and hypertrophy are good matches. Can the same be said for power and conditioning (only anaerobic power and capacity, not steady state) or is there too much interference?

When I think of an athlete I picture someone who is strong, muscular, lean, powerful and very well conditioned. I just wonder if conditioning and power can be trained in the same sesson (one after the other, not mix and match) or if they have to be trained separately with like 4-6 hours in between.

Thanks CT!

It depends on your main goal.

If you want to develop maximal power, go with 2 minutes.

If you want to develop power-endurance and/or anaerobic capacity go with shorter rest periods.

If you were a competitive athlete, you could start with the longer rest periods and as you get closer to the season/camp, you’d reduce the rest periods.


Well, yes, if the “conditioning”, is anaerobic and ideally has a focus on speed of movement (e.g. prowler sprints, assault bike sprints, battle ropes, KB swings, jump circuits, etc)


They can be trained together IF the "conditioning’ is a form of anaerobic conditioning (anaerobic capacity).


Reply to all answers: Excellent, l’m gonna do work now :sunglasses:

Merci mille fois coach!

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