The BADMAN Complex

A complex is a series of exercises using one piece of equipment (barbell, dumbbells, kettle-bell) performed as a circuit. The BADMAN is a particularly hard circuit generally performed by people that can subsequently be called ‘badmen’.

As a circuit the BADMAN will work every major muscle and give your heart and lungs a beating. Used as a conditioning tool it is up there with the best. If fat loss is your goal, look no further.

The 8 exercises used are:

  • Deadlifts
  • Hang cleans
  • Front squats
  • Shoulder presses
  • Back squats
  • Bent over row
  • Press ups off the bar
  • Power thrusters

Using a barbell that you could shoulder press for 10-15 reps perform 5 reps of each exercise without taking your hands off the bar. Perform a total of 5 sets with 60 secs rest in between each. In total it will take no more than 15mins and yo won’t need to do much more! Be warned though, it is tough. Very tough. Sometimes a programme is needed to work up to the 5×5 blitz. If you would be interested in such a programme, let me know.

6 thoughts on “The BADMAN Complex

  • I did the badman. I started on 15kg as per your advice, a brief summary:

    Set 1 – felt okay, breathing heavy
    Set 2 – form started to drop off
    Set 3 – starting to sweat
    Set 4 – form gone
    Set 5 – raining sweat

    I did it in 11 mins 10 secs

    That is an amazing circuit/workout, gonna try adding more weight next time

    • Nice work!!!

      I’ll summarise how I felt during my circuit for the video:

      Set 1: Started off OK but as soon as I did the shoulder presses I felt like someone had punched me in the face. I started to reconsider the video.
      Set 2: Recovered enough to feel motivated again. The same thing happened with the shoulder presses. I glanced over to the tripod on the corner with the camera staring at me in the most judgmental way ever. I pushed on
      Set 3: Again, recovery was just enough to compose myself. I knew that after this set I was over half way. This really spurred me on.
      Set 4: Form started to disintegrate. Again, I glanced at the bastard camera and realised I had to hold it together so I basically squeezed my buttocks as hard as I could!
      Set 5: Recovery felt like it lasted a second so I was puffing from the previous set. I was driven by the fact it was the last set. During the shoulder presses I saw Mufasa from the Lion King in the halogen lights above me. He told me to push on. At this point I think I may have traveled back in time but I can’t say for certain. Driven by the vision of a dead cartoon character I found the energy to dig in and get to the end. I started doing 1 rep at a time and eventually it was done!

      I had planned to say something witty and heroic to the camera at the end but I had lost the ability to speak. Hence my mumbled comments on the vid.

      I love and hate the BADMAN equally. When I’m short on time and in need of a good full body blast it is really useful. Just don’t go doing it every session as it will quickly wear you down. As a side note, doing it with an empty Olympic bar for one set is a nice warm up.

  • I’ve introduced this in a slightly altered form with dumbells with a couple of clients and so far they are loving it (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration). We’re starting with a couple of sets to get them used to it but they all know they’ll be doing the full five and are determined to survive!
    P.s. I am now strangely addicted to the badman but HATE it. You are 100% to blame.

    • Alter it as much as you like. Complexes aren’t a new concept so lots can be found online. They offer a lot in terms of maximum output with minimum space and equipment so your clients have lots to look forward to

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