In any quality resistance workout, you’ll find a variety of exercises that can be switched in and out depending on end goal. However, you’ll almost always find compound exercises incorporated. Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or increase fitness, compound exercises can and should be worked into any fitness regime.
Compound exercises are movements that require several muscle groups and joints to be working at the same time. They are different than isolation exercises, movements that only use one muscle group and joint at a time.
The benefits of compound exercises are exceptional: they recruit multiple muscle groups to help you gain more strength and mass while also burning more calories than standard isolation exercises. On top of this, compound exercises help keep your muscles balanced, improve coordination, and strengthen your core — the benefits of which we talked about in our last article. They are especially valuable if you are training for athleticism, since compound exercises help you learn how to better coordinate your muscles as the movements are more translatable to the way you move in the real world.
Some common examples of compound exercises are squats, push-ups, pull ups, deadlifts, and the overhead press, all of which engage more than one muscle and can be made more difficult by adding weight. In our Keep app, the bodyweight exercises are compound exercises that exemplify all the benefits that we’ve mentioned above, and is a great place to look for workouts especially if you’re a beginner.
With all these benefits, it’s vital to execute the movements with proper form because of the various components that come into play. Focusing on good technique will help with body awareness, allowing you gain the most out of the workout by using the right muscles and prevent injury. Another thing to watch out for is the needed mobility and the weak links in your body. There may be some limiting factors in terms of flexibility and muscle strength that will deter the usefulness of the exercise, so be mindful of how your body moves and any weaknesses you have.
Lastly, despite the numerous advantages of compound exercises, isolation exercises should not be entirely neglected. Isolation exercises are still great for correcting muscular imbalances and targeting specific weaknesses. Instead, compound and isolation exercises should be used in unison for well-rounded resistance training. Only then will you be working at your full potential.
Which compound exercises do you swear by? Do you prefer isolation exercises or compound exercises? Let us know in the comments below!