Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

Many exercise routines focus on particular areas of the body and use traditional isolation exercises to improve the tone and strength of that particular part of the body. However, in real life, we use compound movements to do anything with our body which is why compound exercises can be far more effective. 

From compound lifts to compound movements, these exercises work your muscles in groups, just like you would use them when trying to lift up a box or pick your shopping bags up from the floor in real life. 

By using several muscle groups at the same time, you will be working your body harder which is why they can be more effective when training, than isolation exercises which only focus on one muscle area at a time.

 

So, What are Compound Exercises?
Push-Ups

These are the best type of compound exercise you can do as it works all of the muscles you need for push moves including your abs, triceps, pecs, and delts. 

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Squats

Squats are great for improving mobility and strength and you can add weights to make them even more effective. Squats help to train your core, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. 

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Rows

If you can’t do a pull-up or chin-up you can try doing rows to increase your pull strength gradually, then you can increase your workout intensity when you are ready. This works all your back muscles and your arm muscles. 

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Pull-Ups

Once you have built up your strength you can start incorporating pull-ups into your workout, as these will really help you to get into shape as they work all your back and ab muscles. 

 

Dips

Once you get stronger and you want to challenge yourself more, you can add dips to your workout. These are advanced but they work out your pecs, triceps, back muscles, and abs. 

These are all compound exercises you can do when starting out, and without needing any expensive equipment but once you start to get stronger, you can challenge yourself further by adding in weights.

 

Squat with Weights

This is a great compound exercise for working on building up your overall muscle strength and body fitness and works even better with weights. Doing squats with added weights will help to train your quads, glutes, and core muscles. 

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Doing deadlifts with weights is advanced so be careful and only start with a low weight that you can manage. Don’t overdo it or you will end up injuring yourself instead of getting in shape. This move works out your glutes, spine muscles, hamstrings, and many other muscles in your body. 

 

Overhead Press

The overhead press is a great move and doing it with weight simply adds to the challenge for you. The overhead press move with added weight helps to work out your pecs, abs, triceps, and back muscles all at once. 

Related read: 9 Best Adjustable Dumbbells – Tops Reviews 2021

 

Bench Press

Try using your bench and weights to carry out bench press exercises if you want to get stronger as it uses a whole variety of muscles including your arms, back, and abs areas.

 

Lunges

Add your weights to your lunges to really develop your compound exercise options and this will help to work out your core as well as your leg muscles.

 

These are some of the best compound exercises you can try if you want to get into shape so try adding them into your current workout. However, if you are thinking of changing up your workout, here are some tips you need to think about first: 

1. Make sure your form is correct

When you are undertaking exercises such as deadlifts and pull-ups and particularly if you are going to be adding weights, you need to be careful to use the correct form so that you don’t injure yourself. 

2. Don’t overdo it

When you want to get into shape it can be tempting to try to lift the heaviest weight and really push yourself but that will just result in injury and frustration. You need to start slow and steady and keep consistent. As you get fitter you can build up the intensity gradually. 

3. Keep trying

If you are struggling to achieve a certain move, don’t give up straight away, just be patient and understand your body’s limitations. You need to work with your body and not against it. 

4. Try using a mirror 

If you are working out at home, try installing a mirror so that you can check your form and see what kind of posture you are using. 

5. Hire a coach

If you are struggling with any of the moves or your routine is not improving your fitness, it might be time to hire a personal trainer or fitness coach to help you. 

6. Take it one move at a time

If you are brand new to compound exercises, just try adding in one at a time to your workout regime. Once you have mastered one compound move or compound lift, you can try the next one on your list. 

7. Build up your weights gradually

Once you are ready to add weights into your compound exercises, don’t go straight for the heaviest weights, start low and then build them up gradually so that you don’t accidentally injure yourself

Compound exercises are a great way to improve your fitness and strength overall so if you are looking to improve your workout and develop from simple isolation exercises, then why not try adding in some of these. 

By working more than one muscle at a time compound exercises are a far more efficient use of your time at the gym and mimic the way your body works in real life, which is why they have become more and more popular recently. 

Many classic exercises including pull-ups and deadlifts are compound moves so it might be that you have been incorporating them without realizing it and now it’s time to perfect your technique and take your challenge to the next level. 

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