The answer to a more challenging and efficient workout lies in compound exercises: multi-joint movements that engage two or more muscles or muscle groups with each repetition and tend to mimic the movement patterns of everyday life. They are extremely beneficial for sport and athletic performance, but at the same time they are a great addition to any workout, beginner or advanced.
One of the major benefits of compound movements is the fact that they recruit a large number of muscle fibres at once so you’ll be able to lift heavier weights. By lifting more weight you'll see faster strength gains, especially when you’re a beginner starting a new workout routine. You'll also burn more calories during and after your workout which is especially important if fat loss is a priority. Compound movements also promote greater mobility and can reduce the risk of injury by strengthening the core. Lastly, compound exercises save so much time when they're incorporated into workouts. In fact, you can get a full-body workout by only doing a few compound movements as opposed to doing upwards of 10 different isolation exercises. For example, a few sets of back squats can replace multiple sets of leg extensions, hamstring curls, glute bridges and planks. The overhead press can replace shoulder raises, triceps press-down, planks and cable rows. As you can see, compound movements are extremely effective and efficient.
Here's a list of my top 8 compound exercises:
- Front and Back Squat
- Overhead Press
- Bent-Over Row
- Bench Press
To increase intensity, build strength and shorten the length of your workout, try including 2-3 of these exercises in your next program. With consistency and effort, you'll be amazed at the results produced by these exercises. Happy Training!