Compound Exercises

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Compound Exercises

For a beginner to weight lifting, there is some confusion of what exercises to do, when and how often. The hardest part is also building up the confidence to do certain exercises. I know personally, doing certain compound exercises is a little intimidating as it requires precise form and can surely be dangerous if not done properly.

This article is going to talk about some compound exercises, what compound exercises are and why they are useful to incorporate into your weight lifting activities/routine.


Firstly, what are compound exercises? I know you have spoken about squats, and barbell bench press sometime throughout your weight lifting sessions or with friends in whatever regards, but did you know those are part of compound exercises? Compound exercises are exercises that bring in more than 1 muscle group into work, while doing the exercise. So for example, if you’re doing barbell bench press, you are bringing in the core muscles as a stabilizer, the triceps, you get some workout in the shoulders and then finally, obviously, the chest. So in just one exercise, you have basically worked out 4 muscle groups. I mean how productive is that?

Compared to isolated workouts, people suggest doing compound workouts to help with overall size. I have mentioned before, if you want to get big arms, you should incorporate compound exercises into your routine. As they utilize so much different muscle groups depending on the exercise being performed, you’re either warming up a body part so you can get into full sets for isolated training, or you’re working out body parts to assist with hypertrophy (enlargement of the cells, which in hence builds the size of your overall muscle).

Compound exercises are what gives you the mass, while isolated exercises focuses on that particular muscle group, and directly training it. A good example of how compound exercises and isolated exercises can benefit the same muscle group is when it comes to your biceps. For bicep peaks, isolated bicep exercises should be included into your routine, for example preacher curls. Now this will focus on definition of the muscles or shaping the muscle while doing the bench press or military press, can assist with size of the muscle.

The main compound workouts include: squats, deadlifts, bb bench press, military press, and bb bent over rows. Any exercise that basically brings in 2 or more muscle groups to assist with the exercise, can be considered a compound exercise.

A lot of people strength train with these compound exercises, to help carry over strength into other aspects of your training. Some ways you can include compound workouts is doing the BB bench press and dumbbell bench press, along with other chest workouts, during your chest training. Or, you can do what is called pull/push workouts. Where you incorporate days that are only for pulling (pull ups, bent over rows, deadlifts, etc.) and days for pushing (bench press, military press, squats, etc.).

This will be a workout that’s mainly for total, overall mass gains. While you have another week or month where you’re focusing on isolated training. You can do it in the same day, same week, etc. Point is, they should be incorporated into your training if you’re interested in gaining some serious muscle mass! The isolated workouts will just shape and define the muscle group, as I mentioned before but if you want that big massive look, the compounds are a must.

But I must mind you, these exercises tend to be ones you have to work up to. You can’t expect to place 100s on them and start pushing up. Good advice is to try to go a little heavier as every week passes. Or, try to get 10 reps out of whatever weight you’re pushing or pulling, before adding weights. Or, strength train doing 5×5 (5 sets of 5), with the compound exercises and then go back to pushing 10 reps with some new weight, but yet again don’t increase by too much. If you did the 5×5 properly, you should have gained some strength even if it’s just 5 lbs. Don’t exert yourself too much, if 10 reps can’t be pushed out. Try for 6, 8, or the 10. Increase the reps as weeks go by and keep training for strength to keep the weight going up.

Remember, safety first. Leave your ego and pride at the door, when you’re setting yourself up to do some compound exercises. They can be very dangerous and you need to train the muscle groups that you’re going to use, to help with perfect form so that injuries can be prevented.

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