What Are Compound Exercises?

When done properly, compound exercises have several health advantages. (Image via Pexels/ Pavel Danilyuk)
Compound exercises have several health benefits. (Image via Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk)

Wondering what are compound exercises? You're at the right place! Compound exercises are ones that work out multiple muscle groups at once. They help you gain strength faster while also maximizing the time you spend working out.

Especially if you enjoy full-body workouts, you've probably been performing complex exercises without knowing what they are. Compound exercises for the legs, back, arms, and anything else you can think of can give more bang for your money.

Compound exercises effectively target muscles all over the body. So, if you're always rushed for time during workouts, these exercises are definitely for you.


Benefits of Compound Exercises

Benefits of Compound Exercises. (Image via Unsplash/ Anastase Maragos)
Benefits of Compound Exercises. (Image via Unsplash/ Anastase Maragos)

The fact that complex movements make good use of your time may be their biggest benefit.

Focusing on compound exercises can help you work more muscles and increase your strength if you just have a short amount of time to work out. When done properly, compound exercises can give you the following benefits:

1) Builds muscle and strength

Compound movements use numerous muscle groups, which increases the recruitment of muscle fibers and promotes the growth and development of greater mass.

Compound movements encourage joints and muscles to work with each other to maximize body function and promote more muscle protein synthesis. A periodized strength training programme using these workout motions can help you gain strength as you gain muscle.


2) Helps in weight loss by burning calories

Compound exercises burn more calories than isolation movements if body composition and aesthetics are the main objectives.

Compound motions employ numerous muscle groups, so more energy, also known as calories and muscle fiber recruitment are needed to do them. Gaining a calorie deficit and increasing the body's ability to burn fat can help you lose weight.


3) Improves mobility

Compound lifts are frequently very complicated. Having sufficient joint mobility is necessary to do these exercises correctly and target all the target muscles. The hips, shoulders, knees, ankles, and wrists contribute towards muscle gain.

Hence, compound exercises not only help you focus on strengthening your muscles but also assist you in improving your mobility.


Best Compound Exercises

This guide to the best compound exercises for all fitness levels can be helpful if you want to cram a stack of multi-muscle motions into your next session:

1) Squat

Mighty squats. (Image via Unsplash/ Alora Griffiths)
Mighty squats. (Image via Unsplash/ Alora Griffiths)

Squats work out the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core by exerting pressure on the ankle, knee, and hip joints.

You employ this basic movement in almost every sport, as well as getting on and off the sofa, and it helps you transition from squatting to a standing position.

Here’s how to do squats:

  • Start with your feet wider than hip-width.
  • As you drive your hips back, keep your chest out and abs contracted. You should also put more weight back on your heels.
  • Get into a squat position by lowering yourself till your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Push through your heels to return to your starting posture while maintaining a raised chest and strong core.
  • Aim to complete three sets of 8-10 reps.

2) Front lunge with a twist

Front lunge with a twist. (Image via Freepik)
Front lunge with a twist. (Image via Freepik)

Lunge with a twist involves lower body muscles as well as the obliques. The twisting motion helps target the midsection.

Here’s how to do a front lunge with a twist:

  • Standing tall and with your feet shoulder-width apart, extend your arms in front of you.
  • Lunge forward while stepping with your right foot. Form a 90-degree angle on your front leg, and ensure that your knee does not extend past your toes.
  • As you lunge, rotate your upper body to the right before rotating it back to the center.
  • Lunge forward to repeat the action with the left leg before bringing the right leg back to the starting position.

3) Deadlift

Deadlifts.  (Image via Unsplash/ Anastase Maragos)
Deadlifts. (Image via Unsplash/ Anastase Maragos)

Deadlifts are considered one of the best full-body compound exercises for all the right reasons.

Here’s how to do deadlifts: am

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes tucked beneath the bar.
  • As you squat down, drive your hips back while maintaining a tight core and neutral spine. The back should not curve; it should remain flat.
  • Take hold of the bar with both hands.
  • On the bar, position your hands such that they're a bit broader than your thighs.
  • As you begin to rise, keep your knees supple, and drive into your heels.
  • Keep the bar close to your body as you lift, and pull it up till it reaches the same height as your hips.
  • Finish with a glute squeeze and a lofty stance.
  • Hinge at the hips as you slowly lower the bar to the ground.

Deadlifts work on various important muscles and help strengthen the hamstring, glutes, and upper body muscles.


If you are new to the game, start with beginner compound exercises and level up your routine with consistent practice. Your strength and endurance will increase if you perform compound exercises frequently and push yourself to lift greater weights.

Compound exercises enable the muscles to operate in a functional and synchronized way by using numerous muscle groups simultaneously. That improves the coordination of the muscles, joints, and neurological system.

Compound workouts raise the heart rate and put the cardiovascular system through a lot of work despite being strength training exercises.

Edited by Bhargav