The squat, deadlift, and overhead press are compound exercises that combine multiple muscle groups to create a single movement.
These exercises challenge the body's ability to balance, coordinate, and stabilize itself while also providing a fabulous way to increase strength. A combination of barbells or dumbbells with perfect form can push your muscles and joints through their limits as you boost your performance in other lifts or sports activities.
Compound Exercises For Strength
Here's a look at five such exercises:
#1 Back Squat
Back squats are great for building strength, as they require you to lift a heavy weight while keeping your core engaged and lower back straight.
To perform a back squat:
- Place the barbell on your upper back, and step under it so that the bar is resting across the top of your shoulders.
- Step away from the rack with feet staggered (one in front of the other) so that you can lower yourself into position easily.
- Slowly lower yourself down by bending at the knees till they're parallel to or below parallel with the floor. It may take some practice before that becomes easy.
Make sure to keep your chest up and core engaged throughout thje movement. It's important not just for keeping proper form but also for protecting the lower back from injury during this movement and others involving heavy weights, like deadlifts or squats.
#2 Front Squat
The front squat is an essential exercise for any athlete's lower body workout.
It's a regular squat, but instead of placing the bar across the back and resting it on the upper trapezius (shoulder blades), you hold it in front of you at arm's length. While that might seem like a small tweak to the traditional squat, it has numerous benefits that make it well worth incorporating into your routine.
When you hold the bar in front of your chest and core muscles are forced to contract harder than usual, there are significant gains in muscle activation from an increased demand placed on these muscles.
Additionally, as holding onto the weight requires greater stability through the torso and legs than doing so with just the legs alone under heavy loads (like during standard squats), this exercise is especially effective for developing core strength.
#3 Overhead Press
This exercise is a combination of the bench press and shoulder press. It's an overhead pressing movement that targets the shoulders and triceps, but also strengthens the chest and back muscles. This compound exercise not only works the upper body in a variety of ways but also improves endurance.
Overhead presses can be performed with dumbbells or barbells, depending on what you're most comfortable using. The key to the exercise is keeping proper form while lifting heavy weights over your head while standing up straight without arching your back too much (especially if using dumbbells).
Make sure that when lowering the weight back down after each rep, you don't drop it from above head height. Always control it down into position at eye level before starting another rep.
The deadlift is a compound exercise, meaning it involves multiple muscle groups including the muscles of your legs, hips, and back. That makes it a great exercise for building overall strength and power.
The deadlift is one of the best compound exercises you can do for overall muscle growth, as it hits many different muscles at once. It's also very easy to learn, as there are only the following steps:
- You don't need any fancy equipment or techniques to get started with this powerful move—just grab an Olympic barbell, and load up some plates on each end till they feel heavy enough for your fitness level.
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of the barbell while holding onto its center handle with both hands (palms facing towards you).
- Keep an arch in your lower back throughout the movement so that all four points where your feet meet the floor maintain contact throughout each rep.
- Bend forward at the waist till your arms form 90 degree angles pointing straight down towards the ground.
#5 Bent-Over Row
The bent-over row is one of the best compound exercises for building big, strong arms and a powerful back. It's also great, as it doesn't require any special equipment — you just need to know how to do it correctly.
- Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Grasp a pair of dumbbells (or use a barbell) with an overhand grip that's slightly narrower than shoulder width.
- With your knees slightly bent and chest high, hinge forward at the hips till you're parallel to the floor, holding the weight in front of your shins.
- Without moving from this position, pull both dumbbells up towards your stomach till they touch.
- Pause briefly before returning them back down through their starting position as you return to standing.
So there you have it. That's a list of five best compound workouts for building strength and power.
Do these lifts consistently, and you will see great results in your workouts, no matter what kind of goals you have for yourself. If you're looking for something more specific than that — say, a great upper body workout - try mixing in some isolation lifts too.
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