What Are Compound Exercises?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion about the right exercises to reach your workout goals effectively, depending on who you talk to.
However, everyone agrees that compound exercises are the most efficient. They’re the best way to squeeze the most out of a muscle day at the gym. Why? Because compound exercises work multiple muscle groups simultaneously (hence the name), speeding up your strength progress and getting you to your goals faster!
In this blog, we’re unlocking the secrets to this type of extremely productive workout—including the benefits and drawbacks of compound workouts, where you can do compound workouts, and a few examples.
What Are the Benefits of Compound Exercises?
Maximize Muscle Growth
Working multiple muscle groups at the same time is a much more efficient way to strengthen your body than simply focusing on one specific muscle group at a time.
Burn More Calories
Calories are simply units of energy that measure how much heat is required to increase the temperature of water by one degree Celsius. We measure calories because if we consume more than we burn, we gain weight, and vice versa when we consume less than we burn. Because compound movement exercises simultaneously work multiple muscle groups, our bodies can heat up at a faster rate, burning more calories than isolation exercises, for example. As a result, we speed up our strength-training progress.
Most real-world movement is compound. From bending over to pick up the morning newspaper to lifting a heavy storage box from a high shelf in the garage, it’s hard to even think of a real-life instance when we only use one muscle group. Why then would we want to solely focus on one muscle group at a time at the gym? If anything, compound movement patterns and exercises help to ensure that your body is built and ready for any physical activity required in day-to-day living.
Compound Workout Examples
Begin hanging from a pull-up bar, arms slightly wider than shoulder-width distance. Engage your core, back, and shoulder muscles as you lift your body, bending at the elbows, shoulder blades squeezing in towards one another, until your chin reaches the height of the bar. Pause, and then lower with control.
If pull-ups aren’t in your repertoire just yet, opt for an assisted pull-up on either a machine or with your feet hooked into a workout band that’s strapped to the bar. If assistance equipment isn’t available to you, getting on a chair, starting at the top of a pull-up, and lowering down as slowly as you can is also a great place to start.
Begin standing tall with both feet, hips-width apart. Step your right foot a few feet out in front of you as you lower your body so that your right knee is at a 90-degree bend and your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
To avoid injury, make sure that your right knee is stacked directly over your right ankle—you may need to adjust your foot placement. Hover your left knee above the floor but do not drop it to the ground. Keep your chest lifted and back straight. To help with balance, place your hands on the sides of your hips. Pause for a moment, and then return to standing, feet hip-width apart. Repeat on the other side of your body.
For an added challenge, option to hold weights in both hands or across your shoulders.
Begin standing tall with both feet, hip-width apart, feet facing forward. Imagine yourself sitting back in a chair. Bend both knees as your body lowers. Engage your glute and core muscles, keeping your back upright and straight. Keep your knees facing forward, the same direction as your feet. If your knees start to buckle in towards each other, lift your body until this does not happen. Lower as far as your body allows with proper form, pause, and then return to standing.
For an added challenge, option to hold weights in both hands.
Begin in a high plank position—hands roughly shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. With core and glutes engaged, begin bending your elbows, keeping your elbows out at a 45-degree angle away from you as you lower towards the ground. Pause when your elbows reach a 90-degree bend, and then push into your hands, lifting your body back into a high plank position.
For an easier variation, place your knees on the floor.
Where Can You Do Compound Exercises?
Compound exercise strength and weight training can be done in the gym, at home, or outdoors. People often prefer the gym because it is a routine location to focus on physical fitness, but there really is never a bad time or place for a quick compound workout sesh.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a more structured approach to incorporating compound moves into your workout routine, we offer team training to keep you accountable and on track!