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Complex Training Is Extremely Versatile

Q: What’s your opinion of complex training, where you combine several exercises into a single set?

A: Although primarily associated with general fitness training, complex training is extremely versatile. I highly recommend it. One of the foremost experts in the world on this subject is Istvan “Steve” Javorek.

An ethnic Hungarian born in Romania, Javorek has an extensive background in weightlifting and strength and conditioning. From 1964 to ’82 he worked at the Clujana Athletic Club-Cluj in Romania, training many top Romanian weightlifters who competed for the national team. He was a strength coach at Texas A&M for three years and later settled into a position as a full-time professor of fitness and the all-sports conditioning program at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Among Javorek’s most successful athletes are Wayne Simien, a 2005 first-round draft pick in the NBA who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Kareem Rush, another top NBA athlete who is currently playing for the Charlotte Bobcats.

In the late ’80s I attended one of Javorek’s lectures. He talked extensively about the value of complex training. He’s also published a great book about complex training called Javorek Complex Conditioning. It’s not for the research nerd but for the person in search of an excellent how-to book. Javorek’s book reflects the importance of variation in exercise design, and in it you’ll find not just dumbbell and barbell exercises but also dips, pullups, box jumps and walking lunges. The book should be a part of the library of every serious strength coach and personal trainer.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad on page 215.  IM

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