We don’t blame you if you believe the only way to get into shape is by exercising no less than two hours a day. That might work for some people, but there are more efficient ways to make the most out of your training time. These compound movements will help you achieve just that.
What are compound movements?
Compound movements are exercises that engage multiple joints to stimulate and build multiple muscle groups. They let you activate more muscles, burn more calories, and maximise exercise efficiency. They’re the opposite of isolation exercises, which target only a single muscle group.
These multi-joint movements damage muscle fibres and overtax them by depleting their energy stores. The body then reacts by releasing a great amount of testosterone and growth hormone, which promote an increased rate of muscle growth by repairing damaged fibres and replenishing energy.
Here are five movements you should start integrating into your routine.
- The power of push-ups
The push-up is a compound exercise that builds and strengthens the upper body. It makes the entire body work as a unit and trains several muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps, while also working out the abdominal and leg muscles.
How to get the best results: Engage your upper back, shoulders, and arms, and keep your neck neutral instead of using your hips to move up and down. It can be adjusted based on your training level, by adding weights or integrating variations that challenge you to balance.
- Squat often and squat correctly
The squat is one of our favourite compound movements because it works out the upper and lower body, primarily the butt (gluteus maximus), the front and side of the thighs (quadriceps), the muscles behind the thighs (hamstrings), calves, and back muscles (erector spinae). When done right, the squat can activate approximately 200 muscles. Common squatting mistakes can strain the knee joints, lower back, and spine — the muscle groups it’s supposed to build and strengthen.
How to get the best results: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes slightly outward and keep your back straight. Make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly below parallel to the ground when you go down, and your legs are straightened and your torso lifted when you go up.
- Definitely do deadlifts
Deadlifts may be challenging to execute especially for beginners, but with the right form, you work out a majority of your body’s joints and muscle groups. The back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes are the primary muscles being worked out, but practically every muscle in your body has to assist. Although maintaining proper form when doing any movement is important, it is absolutely crucial when it comes to the deadlift; poor form and execution could cause serious injuries.
How to get the best results: Grab the barbell with a shoulder-wide grip and hold the bar with an overhand grip on one hand and an underhand grip on the other. To keep your back secure, start the lift by activating your hamstrings, utilising the back only when the bar passes your knees.
- Grow your back and more by doing rows
Rows engage the lower neck and rear shoulders, but they also engage the middle and lower part of the back (latissimus dorsi muscle or “lats”), biceps, and forearms. There are many variations that can involve dumbbells, barbells, or machines.
How to get the best results: Maintain your spine at a stable position throughout every repetition, and make sure that the front of your shoulders do not round forward, because an optimal row is one where your shoulders — not your elbows — are fully stretched back.
- Overhead press the proper way
Also known as the military press, the overhead press works out muscles in the shoulders, upper back, arms (triceps and biceps), and your entire torso. It can be done while seated, but doing it standing up activates the shoulder and your stabilisers (abs/obliques) more effectively and trains several major muscles simultaneously. That said, doing standing presses could also result in greater injury to the lower back and core when done in poor form.
How to get the best results: Make sure you lift the bar overhead in as straight a line as possible. Slightly lean back, keep your body tight and your chest up, squeeze your glutes, and look straight ahead throughout the entire exercise.
These compound exercises may vary greatly in difficulty and complexity, but they all allow you to train many muscles at once, lift heavier weights, and significantly raise testosterone and growth hormone levels. When done right, these movements will not only greatly improve your physique, they will also reduce the time you spend training.
Here at BodyScene, we believe in creating a routine based on an individual’s goals. And that’s what our Fitness Programme offers — a routine that’s personalised and saves time. Call us today!