Can You Beat Our Bear Complex Barbell Challenge?

David Morton

From Men's Health

This barbell crucible is known as a ‘Bear Complex’, and it will maul both your muscles and mind. Grab a 30-60kg barbell and perform one rep of each move in turn without putting down the bar, 20 times through.

Each time you have to drop the bar – and you will – your penalty/recovery is 10 calories on the air bike. "My advice is to aim for sets of five with 'recovery' in between," says the creator of this workout, Faisal Abdalla. Just grin and bear it.

1A) Front squat 20 reps

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a bar across your upper chest. Support the weight on your fingers, with your wrists extended (A). Push your hips back to sink until your thighs are parallel to the floor (B). Drive back up and move on to the push press, without letting go of the bar.

1B) Push Press 20 reps

From the front rack position, initiate the press by slightly bending your knees (A) and then fully extending your hips, before pushing the barbell above your head (B). From the top of the rep, bring the bar down behind your head to rest on your back, ready for the next move.

1C) Back Squat 20 reps

Give your shoulders a brief rest by using your leg power to shift the barbell. With the bar across your upper back (A), drop into a squat, keeping your head up and back straight. Lower your body until your hips are aligned with your knees and your legs at 90 degrees (B). Drive back up and get ready to press the bar once more.

1D) Behind The Neck Press 20 reps

From the top of the squat (A), call on your posterior delts to press the bar overhead as you lock out your arms (B). Lower the bar to rest on the front of your shoulders. If you need a rest, let it hang by your knees before going back to the squats – just don’t let go unless you’re ready to hop on the air bike. You’ve got this…


Air Bike 10 calories

… But if you don’t have it, your penalty for dropping the bar is to burn 10 calories on the air bike. Rather than pushing for all-out sprints, use your time on the bike to recover, but don’t stop pumping your arms and legs. The air from the wheel fan will be a blessing. When you’ve burned your 10 calories, go back to the barbell for more of the Bear Complex.

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