Battle the Bear: Total Body Blast in 6 Challenging Moves


As a busy professional, mom to 4, and fitness pro, it is essential for me to make the most of the time I have available. Through CrossFit training and traditional bodybuilding, I learned that you could work simple movements into a more complex chain of action to create a more effective and efficient training style. One such movement inspired by CrossFit athletes Rich Froning and Dan Bailey, is termed the Bear Complex. This lift allows the athlete to string together several traditional lifts into one challenging workout.

This lift can be used in a variety of ways. As a warm up, as recovery, or as a strength building exercise. Due to its level of difficulty, it is important for any lifter to begin this complex using light weight. This lift will challenge your core and grip strength, making it one of the best all around lifts. Many lifters will gradually increase weight, making the third cycle the heaviest of the complex and tapering down.

There are definite benefits to this complex as mentioned, and I have found that in addition to it being an efficient training tool, it has been an effective testing tool for strength and endurance. I will test this complex around every 6 months to determine how much progress I have made in these areas.

MORE: Can CrossFit Make You A Better Athlete? 

A word of caution, you should be proficient in the elements of this lift before utilizing it as a complex. If you do not feel confident in your deadlift, overhead press, or squat, you should build your skills in these areas before proceeding. This lift is meant to be performed under tension, meaning all movements should be controlled, executed with precision, and excellent form.

It is lifts like these that have allowed me to build the physique that I desire while not spending hours in the gym. As I have become more proficient, I can use this as an interval training workout, with light weight and increasing speed. In this workout series, I have broken up the complex into six lifts for those athletes less proficient at the clean. This allows the athlete to think of the movement as two separate lifts, the deadlift and the hang power clean.

See if you can Battle the Bear by completing 7 reps of this cycle for 5 rounds.

Click ‘Next’ below to see the first move … 

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