What are compound exercises?
The short answer: Compound exercises are movements that involve multiple muscles and joints. Regardless of your primary fitness goal (weight loss, muscle gain, performance etc), compound exercises should make up the majority of your workout.
Isolation exercises (exercises that involve only one joint/muscle group) do have their place in training and rehabilitation programs and should not be totally neglected however I suggest your training plan be structured around compound exercises.
Some benefits of compound exercises are:
- Improves functional fitness since many compound exercises simulate real life scenarios/activities.
- Increases calorie burn.
- Increases workout intensity which creates the perfect environment for both fat loss and muscle building.
- Improves joint stability & balance.
- Increases ability to progressively lift heavier.
Below is a listing of some compound exercises you can include in your training plan, grouped by the primary muscle group being either upper or lower body. If you are unsure of how to properly execute any of these movements please do you research and/or ask for help. Bodybuilding.com has an excellent database of common exercises with videos included. Keep in mind, proper form is more important than the amount of weight you lift and can improve your odds of being injury free. 🙂
|Upper Body||Push ups (Incline, Decline, Diamond, etc)|
|Bench Press (Incline, Decline, Barbell, DB etc)|
|Chin Up/ Pull Up/ Muscle Up|
|Bent Over Row / Pendlay Row|
|Shoulder Press (Military, Arnold etc)|
|Lower Body||Squats (Front, Back, Hack etc)|
|Deadlifts (Sumo, American, Romanian etc)|
For videos demonstrating many of these movements, visit my exercise library!