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The Bear Complex

By February 17, 2012February 21st, 2012CrossFit, Exercise

When I saw that term pop up in our WOD prescription last week, I was totally thrown off. Bear Complex? What is that? Is it like World of Warcraft when my Druid goes into “Bear Mode“? Neil and I were a little worried, mostly because anything involving “bear” is usually tied to amazing feats of burst strength, which lets not kid ourselves, we don’t totally have yet. So we did what any scared newbs would do, we Googled. And the results were pretty beastly.

There are apparently several types of Bear Complexes, but ours was comprised of:

  • Power Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Push Press
  • Back Squat
  • Push Press

Ideally, your bar should never rest on the ground, even to re-grip (that didn’t happen for us, again we’re newbs). The Power Clean should finish at a full hip extension with arms locked out overhead and Squats should fall below parallel. Some people choose to combine their Squat and Clean into a thruster, others find it easier to keep them distinct. It’s a lot of different movements and it’s difficult to manage form when all you can think about is how heavy and tired you are.

The WOD itself was 5 rounds of 3 Bear Complexes + 5 Box Burpees (burpee + box jump). Since Neil and I were assigned different rounds, he was the unfortunate victim of my phone camera. For both of us, the first set of Bear Complexes were purely trying to get form and go through the motion. Not easy! But I’m happy to say that we accomplished our first Bear Complexes and if there are any others named for surly predatory animals, bring them on!


Shout out to Ron who is probably one of the most vocal, supportive people in our gym. You can hear him in this video, and another I took a few months ago. Most impressively this time, he was doing it while doing mobility/foam rolling his back.