I have written several posts (both here and elsewhere) on complexes and combos. Lots of those have been absolutely murderous (5 and 6 exercise behemoth’s for up to 5 reps each) and each serves a purpose in my training.
Recently though I have found myself navigating towards simpler and simpler combos. Instead of 5-6 exercise slogs, I am focusing in on 2-3 movements and doing them at a fairly heavy weight, (similar to what I wrote in this article for T-Nation). These simple combos are more suited for developing strength and enhancing my technique.
They just so happen to be the types of combos that we use at my gym the MOST often for athletes. 2-3 movements done really well, not taxing on energy systems, but on strength. Athletes and olympic lifters get the most out of this type of combo or complex, short and to the point.
Below you will find 3 combos that I have been using in my own training a lot recently. The clean and jerk combo, and the jerk combo are really well suited to everyday athletes, and the snatch combo is perfect for the more weightlifting centric types.
This snatch combo pairs a power snatch with an overhead squat, but in the middle it throws a change-up and makes you do a snatch grip push press. I really like this one because developing some overhead strength is an often overlooked portion of the snatch.
Clean and Jerk Combo
This combo is so simple. for some people their “full” clean and jerks may even look close to this combo, but this deserves it’s place. Can’t beat simple and effective.
It can be done for slightly higher repetitions than the previous snatch combo. The power clean is done first, a front squat immediately following, and like always, finish with a jerk.
You can choose to finish with a power jerk, but in my case I used a split jerk to continue to work on my technique (which has been a struggle in the past).
The jerk is like the little brother of weightlifting. When people talk about Olympic lifting they talk about their snatch, and their clean, but forget about the jerk. The jerk needs just as much work as the clean if not more.
This combo does a good job of developing the ability to drive into the bar, keep a steady shelf and get the bar moving overhead.
In the video below I complete a push press, followed by a behind the neck power jerk, and finally a split jerk from the racked position. Obviously you are limited by your push press, but by the time you bring it down on your chest for that final jerk, you will feel like toast.
All of these “combos” are done 1+1+1 style, but each could be easily done as a true complex, by doing 3 reps of exercise 1, and then moving onto the next movement. That much is for you to decide. For me this is a simplification of sorts, try to start moving more and more weight in combos and complexes with bigger and more important movements. I’ll keep trying to come up with better ones, but for now these are pretty sick to use in my own training.