You might have heard people say to just stick with compound exercises. After all, not many people love spending hours on end in a gym working out.

If you're like the average person, you're probably looking for the quickest and most efficient way to zip in and out of the gym and still see results.

Some trainers stand by compound exercises as the be-all-end-all of training. Since they are considered more "functional" than training each muscle group individually (isolation exercises).

And that's why in this article I'll go into what compound exercises are, the pros and cons, and some compound exercises that you can do in the gym to increase strength, grow muscle, or lose weight.

First...

What Are Compound Exercises? And What Are The Benefits?

Simply put, compound exercises are exercises that activate multiple muscle groups and joints at one time.

According to Eric Cressey, they also help "stimulate a large amount of muscle mass."

They are also typically done from a standing position, which requires better control and balance.

Some research has shown that compound exercises help improve muscle growth by improving anabolic response to resistance training. However, this idea has been challenged.

Short-term hormonal increase due to training has been seen to have little correlation to muscle growth, if any. (studies here and here).

But that's not to say that compound exercises are bad.

As they still require activation of multiple muscle groups, it is still a more efficient and functional method of training compared to isolation exercises.

Are Compound Exercises All You Need?

Other than the lack of evidence that compound exercises are better for muscle growth than isolation exercises...

There are other myths about it floating around.

While compounds do use more muscle groups than isolations, it is better to do both if you want to have a more complete and optimal muscle development.

Sticking to just one exercise doesn't really help that much compared to working it with several exercises.

Because each muscle group may contain multiple muscles, and compounds may not activate all of them equally.

For example, your quads or quadriceps are made up of 4 muscles. And squatting doesn't work all 4 quad muscles equally.

That's where isolation exercises or other compound exercises come in and "fill the gap".

For example, squats activate the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis more. But leg extensions uses the rectus femoris more.

Andmuscles don't grow in complete isolation, they grow in relation to one another (just to different degree and also based on your genetic potential).

Bottom line, compounds alone aren't enough depending on your goal.

Still, Compound Exercises Are Great To Start With

If you're a newbie in the gym, too busy to spend hours in the gym regularly, or just hate being there for too long...

Then a routine comprising compound exercises may be good for you.

It's efficient, can get you results, and also keep you motivated because of the strength growth you'll see.

So, here are 5 starter compound exercise that you can incorporate into your workout routine in the gym:

1. Barbell Back Squats

Remain with your feet more than shoulder width separated - this wide position will permit a deep squat, getting your glutes and hamstrings included.

Hold a barbell over your upper back with an overhand grasp – abstain from placing it on your neck. Embrace the bar into your traps to connect with your upper back muscles.

Take the load of the bar and gradually lower down – head up, back straight, buns out. Lower yourself until the point that your hips are lined up with your knees, with legs at 90 degrees – a more profound squat will be more helpful yet get the quality and adaptability first. Drive your heels into the floor to bring yourself back up.

Your torso should be in the same position when it is at the top position and when executing the squat

2. Romanian Deadlifts

compound exercises

Hold the bar with shoulder width and stand inside of your grip.

Lift the bar off the floor while having an upright straight back.

Hinge at the hips, while only slightly bending your knees.

While keeping arm straight and spine in neutral position, lower the bar towards your shin.

Once at the stretched position, move to the original position.

3. Barbell Bench Press

Lie on the flat bench with your eyes beneath the bar. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder-blades. Keep your feet firmly and flat on the floor.

Hold the bar firmly in the base of your palm with a full grip and straight wrists.

Lift the bar off the rack by straightening your arms. Move the bar over your shoulders with your elbows locked.

Lower the bar to mid-chest while tucking your elbows 75°. Keep your forearms vertical.

Press the bar from your mid-chest to above your shoulders. Keep your butt on the bench. Lock your elbows at the top.

Repeat until the required number of repetitions is met.

4. Barbell/Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

Holding a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure you keep your head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.

Lift the barbell to you while keeping your torso stationary. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.

Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Repeat until the required number of repetitions is met.

5. Barbell Bent-Over Rows

Holding a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure you keep your head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.

Lift the barbell to you while keeping your torso stationary. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.

Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Repeat until the required number of repetitions is met.

At the end of the day...

Your program should depend on your goal. Different goals require different types of workout to activate different muscles.

That's why our fitness experts take extra time and care into proper programming. Whether it's muscle growth, strength, agility, or weight loss...

We customize a specific plan following your timeline and lifestyle.

If you'd like to get your free workout roadmap, come down and meet our experts for a free 1-to-1 fitness assessment today.

Click here to book your slot.