Did you know that there are certain exercises that you should be building your workouts around?
Let us introduce to you, COMPOUND EXERCISES. What are they you may ask? Compound exercises are exercises that involve multiple muscles and joints. Without a doubt, they provide the MOST stimulation to your muscles than isolation exercises (Ex. bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, leg extensions etc.) and they build the most muscle.
We aren’t saying that isolation exercises are a waste of your time, however, you want to place those towards to the tail end of your workout and save your energy and strength for your compound exercises. Why? Mainly because compound exercises require MORE energy since they are working several muscle groups at once.
This graph below, shows how Compound exercises compare to Isolation exercises and the multiple joints that are involved. 2-3 joints in compound exercises Vs. 1 joint in isolation exercises.
4 Compound Exercises everyone should be doing…
1. Squat: We believe everyone should incorporate some kind of variation of a squat into their routine. It is a great way to build a solid foundation because they target your back, abs, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Total body!! Beginners can start with bodyweight squats then progress to a goblet squat and finally a barbell squat. Barbell Squats are great because one can really progress on this exercise because of the ability to load more weight as the individual gets stronger and their body adapts.
2. Deadlift: Another great one! Deadlifts don’t just work your back but also your hamstrings, glutes, upper and lower back, traps, forearms, and your abs. There are so many different variations such as Kettlebell deadlift, Romanian deadlift, Sumo deadlift, and the Conventional Barbell Deadlift. Deadlifts are essential again for building a solid foundation and they really help strengthen your core and back. Austin and I have both had clients that had terrible back issues when they started training with us, but once they started deadlifting (proper form and progression, of course) their back pain went away and they are stronger than ever and injury free!
3. Pulling (Pull-ups/Chin-ups, Pull-downs, Rows): Pulling exercises are crucial because they work your back AND help improve your posture. These are ESPECIALLY important for those who have desk jobs, sit at a computer all day, or just have crappy posture. Let’s look at the dumbbell row, for example. This exercise not only targets the back but also the shoulder, biceps, forearms, and even your abs because of the stabilization aspect.
4. Push/Pressing (Bench press, Dumbbell press, Overhead Press, Dips): Since you need pulling exercises, you therefore need to create balance with pressing/pushing exercises. Bench press not only works your chest, but your shoulders AND triceps. Why do a tricep pulldowns all day when you can do bench press and overhead press and hit your triceps in BOTH as well as chest, shoulders, and even your abs (overhead press).
In conclusion, choose at least 2-3 compound exercises as the foundation of your workout and start with those. Let those exercises be the ones you really focus on progressing in weight on and lifting heavier as you get stronger. Then pick 2-3 isolation exercises and perform them in the second half of your workout.
Pro tip: You don’t have to be switching up your exercises constantly or “keep your body guessing” by always doing a different workout. All you need to do is just make sure you are adding more weight to your lifts as your body gets stronger and you WON’T plateau.
3 working sets of 8-10 reps is usually a good place to start and once you can do 10 or more reps at that weight with good form, add 5-10lbs the next time and keep going from there! And remember, you can always do a little bit more than you think you can 😉
TRAIN SMARTER, NOT HARDER!!!