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“Bear Complex”


CrossFit Benchmark WOD

226.5K 2.5K
  • 5 Rounds For Load
  • Complete 7 Unbroken Sets of this barbell complex:
  • 1 Power Clean
  • 1 Front Squat
  • 1 Push Press
  • 1 Back Squat
  • 1 Push Press

The five movements known as the “Bear Complex” comprise one repetition. Complete the complex seven times, unbroken (without letting go of the bar or resting it on the ground) to complete one round. Complete five unbroken rounds, increasing the weight and resting as needed between each round to complete the workout.

Score is the max weight used for your fifth unbroken round. 

You may not change the load mid-round. 

Good Scores for the “Bear Complex”
Beginner: Men 75/Women 55 lb
Intermediate: Men 115/Women 85 lb
Advanced: Men 155/Women 105 lb
Elite: Men 225+/Women 155+ lb 

Movement Standards

A CrossFit-style Bear Complex allows an athlete to link movements together, such that one rep may look like a Squat Clean Thruster (when you go from the squat clean directly into the thruster with no pause) then a Back Squat Thruster (when you go from the back squat into the thruster with no pause). A “strict” Bear Complex requires each movement to be done individually as written.

Tips and Strategy

Big jumps are for chumps! Make conservative increases in load from round to round to avoid early failure.

Scaling Options

The “Bear Complex” is a very fatiguing CrossFit benchmark workout. If you’re new to these barbell movements, it’s best to stay with one load for the entirety of the workout (rather than increase weight for each set).

In order to get the endurance benefits from this workout, you need to complete unbroken sets; so pick a load that allows you to achieve that goal. 

Go up in weight (conservatively) in rounds three and five. Skip the load increase in rounds two and four.

Choose a light load and stick with that weight through all five rounds.

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namesake photo

Background: The oldest mention we’ve found of this popular CrossFit benchmark WOD is from the comments on a “rest day” post on the CrossFit main site from Tuesday, September 7, 2004 (040907), with more details discussed in the forum on December 12, 2007, where one member clarified, “The complex isn’t done for time. It’s a strength and tenacity workout.”

While there’s no time limit, like other “for load” workouts (eg: “CrossFit Total”), the spirit is that the workout is completed in a single lifting session. A typical “Bear Complex” session may take an athlete 30-40 minutes with moderate rest between sets.

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