Ultimate Barbell Complex to Burn Fat & Build Muscle

When it comes to burning fat and building muscle, nothing beats the barbell. All you need is one bar and an attitude to get work done and you can blitz through calories like no tomorrow. Not only that, but you’ll forge stacks of lean muscle mass too. 

For years everyone thought the only way to burn fat was on the treadmill. But, when you look at the science, that’s just not true. 

In fact, jogging is probably one of the most inefficient ways to reduce body fat. It’s slow, boring, and takes a long time to see results. Barbell training on the other hand is fast, efficient, and most importantly fun. You can forget the hour-long slog on the treadmill where we’re going.

Crush your goals with Compound Exercises

That’s because with the right planning you can hit compound exercises one after the next. It’s true, workouts don’t need to last an age. You can crush a full-body barbell complex workout in as little as twenty minutes and probably still burn through the same amount of calories as a steady, evening jog.

Why? Because multi-joint moves like barbell compound exercises work multiple muscle groups in one go. They require a ton more energy than your single muscle exercise, therefore, demand a lot more calories. 

Imagine it like running four or five engines over just one. Pull back the throttle and you’re going to blast through a whole lot of fuel, or in your case calories.

And as you know, burning calories is essential for fat loss. The only way you can get lean, ripped, and shredded is by wiping out more calories than you eat. 

Relying on running or jogging won’t give you the tools to build muscle unless you’re an absolute beginner. You need progressive overload and weight training for that. That’s why this workout will use compound exercises with just one barbell back-to-back in a complex. 

Burn & Build with Barbell Complexes

For the following workout use the same weight all the way through, quickly moving from one move to the next. No need to change equipment or run around the gym searching for another machine. Like we said at the beginning, it’s just the barbell and your attitude that will get you through this one. 

Perform each exercise back to back with as little rest as possible. Try not to drop the barbell until you’ve completed the very last rep. Keeping hold of the iron in your hands will really test your muscular endurance after the first few sets.

It also keeps your heart rate high by raising the intensity of the workout. And as the intensity rises, so does your energy demand. You’ll always burn more calories when you’re working your hardest.

When the complex is over you can drop the bar. Take as long as you need to rest so you’re strong and ready enough to go again. There’s no need to rush, just remember you’re trying to keep the intensity high from start to finish. 

Ready? Let’s crush it. 

The Workout

Complete three to five rounds of the following exercises. Each one should be performed for five reps, with as little rest in-between as possible. 

  1. Deadlift x 5
  2. Hang clean x 5
  3. Push press x 5
  4. Squat x 5
  5. Barbell roll-out x 5

How to do it


  1. Position yourself with your feet hip-width apart and your mid-foot underneath the bar
  2. Bend over and let your arms hang straight down at shoulder width until you grab the barbell
  3. Bring your shins forward until they touch the bar by bending your knees
  4. Lift up your chest while you brace your core to flatten out your back. Now, pull your shoulders back as you take tension out of the bar. 
  5. Breathe in to create tension in your core. Hold it as you stand upright without letting your back arch
  6. As the barbell slides toward the top of your thighs press your hips forward and squeeze your glutes until you hit lockout 
  7. Reverse steps 6 to 4 while returning the barbell back to the ground

Hang clean

The Hang Clean
  1. Use your deadlift technique to bring the bar to the tops of your thighs. Now, keep the same hook grip and lower the barbell to mid-thigh. You should feel your chest move forward a touch but your back stay straight – this is your starting position.
  2. Explode through your hips, knees, and ankles to perform triple extension. As the weight moves upward shrug your shoulders to guide it. Once it starts to reach it’s highest point, use the shrug to keep the bar moving while pulling your arms up and flaring your elbows out. 
  3. Once the bar hits it’s maximum height, pull yourself underneath it, and rotate your elbows so they’re pointing directly in front of you. Catch the barbell in a front squat position with the bar lading on your protracted shoulders. Try not to catch the bar with only your flexed wrists. 
  4. After performing the front squat to slow the bar down drive back to the top to complete the hang clean

Push press

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart and hold the bar in a front rack position
  2. Take a shallow front squat before exploding upward through your heels. This should drive the bar off your shoulders, which you will continue to guide above your head by extending your arms. 
  3. Keep the elbows tight so the elbow joint opens in a straight line. All the way through this exercise brace your core so your spine stays in alignment. 
  4. When you hit lock-out, bring the barbell back down into the front rack position


  1. Rest the barbell across the back of your shoulders with your feet at shoulder-width apart. Your rear delts should be protracted as the bar sits comfortably across them without touching the back of your neck. 
  2. Press your knees out and move your hips backward to drop down into the squat. Picture yourself sitting back into an invisible chair while keeping the weight over your mid-foot. 
  3. Keep descending until you break parallel – this is when the back of your hamstrings and glutes move below your knees
  4. Reverse steps 3 and 2 by pressing your knees out, keeping your chest up, and driving through the mid-foot
  5. Lock-out at the top until your legs are straight and hips back in the starting position

Barbell roll-out

  1. Place the barbell on the floor in front of you. Kneel down and grab it with an overhand grip set at shoulder-width
  2. Brace your core as you roll the bar out with straight arms as far as you can go. Once you reach your limit, contract your abs and keep your back straight to roll the bar back to where you started

Workout complete

That’s the workout complete! As you feel barbell complexes aren’t easy. But, they are killer for building muscle and burning fat over your entire body. Stay safe out there and use a weight that allows you to keep good form. Push the pace and enjoy the reward of a harder, leaner body. See you in the iron house. 

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