Compound Exercises: 3 Major Reasons To Do Them
Gone are the days where we have time to focus on and isolate each and every muscle group at the gym. Time is precious these days and furthermore, there is limited space and equipment at the gym with the new years resolution crowd! That is exactly why compound movements should be your best friend. They will get you the results you want without spending tons of time at the gym. Simply put, exercises can be broken down into two basic categories: compound and isolation exercises. Compound exercises work more than one muscle group at a time (most of the time almost all muscle groups!) and they are always multi-joint exercises. Isolation exercises use one muscle group at a time and are only single joint exercises. Here's an example to make it clearer to visualize: A barbell squat includes movement of your hip & knee joint and fires up your quads, glutes, back, core and hamstrings. This is a compound movement. A seated leg extension includes the movement only at your knee joint and only targets one muscle group: your quadriceps. See the difference? Now of course there's always a time and place for isolation exercises, but if you're short on time or can only get to the gym 2-3 days per week, read on to see how compound exercises can be a game changer.
3 Major Reasons Why You Should Do Compound Exercises
Compound exercises are functional. In our daily routines, it is very rare that we are only utilizing one muscle group at a time. Pretty much every movement in every day activities, like walking, running, carrying groceries, sitting, playing sports, etc. involve moving multiple joints at a time. Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, etc. mimic these everyday movements and can make us stronger for life.
2. Bigger Bang For Your Buck
As compound movements utilize more muscle groups at once, your working harder, burning more calories and building strength all over your body in less amounts of time. Compound exercises also allow you to lift a bit heavier weight because you're engaging your entire body. Front squats and deadlifts, for example, are one of the best exercises that can be done (especially for you ladies!) because they require essentially every muscle in your body to work hard! And I'll tell you this - my core is sore every time after I do front squats because our cores work so hard to stabilize in a front loaded movement, and NEVER after I do crunches. Forget the endless crunches and work various muscle groups at once!
3. Increase Lean Muscle Tissue All Over
Contrary to popular belief, heavier compound movements are really the tools you need to "tone" and "tighten" your entire body. Lifting heavy weights with proper and safe form will most definitely not make you bulky or spike your testosterone levels! It will do just the opposite: burn fat, boost your metabolism, define your muscles and make you one strong, badass lady.
Here are some excellent resources around the web to help you learn more about adding compound exercises into your workout: 5 Compound Exercises You Should Add To Your Workout, ACE Fitness 5 Best Strength Moves For Weight Loss, Health Magazine Difference Between Isolation & Compound Exercises, Livestrong Here's a couple of my favorites! The first one is a side elevated squat with an upright row and lateral leg raise, phew! This one works literally your entire body and gets your heart rate up like no other. I also can't live without my sumo squats!
Now tell me, do you incorporate compound exercises into your workout? Would you like to start? Would you like to see more workouts on my blog incorporating movements like these? Have a great day!! XO- Rach