A lot of people think that they need to do tons of exercises or to follow a special and complex training program to see the results that they expect. This is completely wrong.

For gaining strength and increase your muscle density make sure you include in your workout compound exercises that engage large muscle groups.

Many gym goers are unaware of this common principle used by strength coaches and experienced trainers.

Compound exercises

There are two big categories when we talk about weight lifting exercises:

  • Compound exercises – multi joint movements that require at least two muscles. These are coordinated actions of several muscle groups to move two or more joints in the same time.
  • Isolation exercises – single joint movements. Those which move a single joint through its range of motion.

There are many reasons to use compound exercises instead of isolation exercises:

• Takes less time to train the full body.

• More calories burned because targets more muscles at once.

• Provides cardiovascular benefits by increasing the heart rate.

• Simulates real-world exercises and activities.


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Multi-joint exercises decreases the risk of injury during sports (any levels) by improving joint stability and muscle balance across a joint; more than that it increases coordination, reaction time and balance.

Training using compound movements will allow you to exercise longer with less muscle fatigue and lift heavier loads and build more strength.

Quality first, quantity second

The most important thing to focus on when you train using compound exercises is not the amount of weight that you’re about to lift, is the technique. After you learn to use the proper technique on the most important compound lifts, you can slowly increase the resistance.

If you are a beginner who wants to train safe and effective, get a good trainer to teach you proper technique and prescribe the right mobility and assistance according to your fitness level.

One of the basic principles of strength training is progressive overload. Don’t play around with the same exercises using the same weight, rep range and sets. This won’t make you stronger or leaner.

Compound exercises for women too?

Absolutely! If you want to look toned, defined, firm and lean with an athletic looking, while at the same time appearing completely feminine compound exercises are for you.

To get that body first you are going to need to build some muscles. Stop worrying about getting too big and too muscular because this is not going to happen. Read more about why women should lift weights.

To have a long-term progress make sure you are including in your training one of the following exercises. You don’t have to include them all from the beginning.

  • Squat

Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the strength and size as well as developing core strength. Main muscles involved: quadriceps, glutes, adductors  and hamstrings.


  • Bench press

The most common position for this upper body exercise is performed on a flat bench. The performer lowers a weight to chest level and then pushes it back up until the arms are straight. Main muscles involved: pectorals, triceps  and deltoids.


  • Chin-up

This  exercise demand a lot of coordination and strength from the muscles around the shoulder blade (scapula) and elbow flexors.  Arms are extended above the head, gripping a hold(bar) then the body is pulled up till the bar approaches or touches the upper chest, having the chin over the bar. Main muscles involved: lats(latissimus dorsi), arms (brachialis, biceps) and traps (trapezius).


  • Deadlift

One of the standard weight training exercises in which all repetitions begin and end on the floor: a  loaded barbell is lifted off the ground to the hips, then lowered back to the ground. Main muscles involved: back (erector spinae, trapezius), legs (quadriceps, adductor magnus, gluteus maximus, hamstrings and soleus) .


  • Overhead press

This exercise is also known as shoulder press and is a vertical press performed while standing. The weight is pressed straight upwards from the shoulders until the arms are fully extended overhead. Main muscles involved: deltoids, triceps and trapezius.


  • Bent over row

Targets a variety of back muscles and there are several versions of this exercise where you need to lift a weight from the floor to the stomach in a bent-forward position. Main muscles involved: back (latissimus dorsi, trapezius) and arms (brachialis, biceps brachii).

Other great compound exercises are Olympic weightlifting exercises like clean and jerk and snatch but they are power exercises (combination between strength and speed) that require even more technique.

Start now

Compound exercises are for everyone: man or woman, lean or overweight, young or old.

Although, people who had suffered an injury or inability need some preparation in order to be ready and an experienced coach is more than essential.

These exercises will work your entire body and make it better by working as a unit.

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