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Compound Exercises: How to get more bang for your buck

Jan 15, 2015

A busy lifestyle of constantly running around between work, family, and just the general commute can be draining on energy and motivation. (Massachusetts drivers are literally the worst. Don’t believe me? The Boston Globe will back me up on this one. Boston Globe).

With all of this you can get the gist of why fitness can rank on the bottom of priorities. Even if you do get a small time block to workout it might only be 30-45 minutes. Below I’m going to show you a list of the best compound exercises you can do to reach your fitness goals.

First off we should understand what a compound exercise is. A compound exercise is a multi-joint movement that will work several muscle groups at the same time. A great example, and one of my favorites, is a barbell row and I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s talk about the benefits of compound movements!

So why should you even care about compound movements? Well they provide a ridiculous amount of benefits all listed below.

•Probably the biggest reason why anyone would want to do compound lifts for weight loss it that using more muscles during an exercise equates to more calories burned. So when you burn more calories during this kind of movement it will help you to lose weight faster than lets say a bicep curl. So more calories burned more weight lost.
•The second biggest reason for people in a time crunch to do compound movements is that it allows you to do a full body workout faster than you would traditionally do. A very traditional workout program would have you doing an upper body day and a lower body day, or arm day. That’s all well and good if you have time to kill and you know you will be able to get those 3-5 workouts in, but if you are a working professional or an insanely busy parent you can’t guarantee that those other days will happen. (Plus as a side note if I ever did an arm day and skipped leg day any other trainers who know anything about anything would be ridiculing me for having little baby chicken legs).
•Using compound lifts simulates real world activities. If you are going on vacation and packed way too much as usual how are you going to pick it up? Be bending at your knees and hips grabbing onto it and standing straight up. This seems kind of similar to a Deadlift don’t-cha think?
•It decreases the risk of injury! And let’s be real with each other who doesn’t want that? With increased bone density broken bones become less common. Funny story about that but I was talking to a yoga instructor about and she was against heavy lifting. Now I’ve got nothing against yoga and I can totally see the benefit of it, but you really shouldn’t start having diarrhea of the mouth when you are talking to an expert in the field and you know really very little about it. Anyways long story short she was trying to bait me into an argument about it and I remained calm and explained a few benefits, one of them being increased bone density and muscle mass (especially in men) and how if you fell on your shoulder it decreases the chance of braking it (Side note, this was 2 years ago during one of those really bad snow storms). She said that was ridiculous blah blah blah, and I seriously can’t even make this part up but about 2 weeks later she slips on a sheet of ice falls on her shoulder and brakes her collar bone…. Karma? I’ll leave that for Exercise Gods to decide.

Listed below are some basic but some of my all-time favorite lifts.
• Squat
• Deadlift
• Lunges
• Pushup
• Bench press
• Barbell Row
• Pull up
• Shoulder press
So to finish this article off compound exercises are great for you and everyone should be doing them in some capacity in their program. Is there a place for isolation exercises like tricep extensions? Absolutely, depending on what your goals are and what you are trying to accomplish.

If you have any questions about what would be some of the best compound lifts for you or how to add them into your program feel free to shoot us a message.


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