A compound exercise is a form of strength training. Strength training has two types of exercises: isolation exercises and compound exercises. With isolation exercises, you train only one muscle group by isolating this muscle group during the exercise. With compound exercises, you train several muscle groups at the same time. Compound exercises are sometimes called composite exercises for this reason.
Advantages of compound exercises
Because you train several muscle groups with compound exercises, they have the following advantages:
- You burn more calories during your workout
- You build up more strength and muscle mass
- You also work on coordination and balance
- You often work on postures that you use in everyday life or in other sports
- Your workout is over faster and you get better results
There are compound exercises for all muscle groups. There are exercises that train the different muscle groups in the legs, exercises that combine chest training, triceps and shoulders, exercises for the back, biceps and shoulders and exercises for the shoulders and triceps. Which exercises are best for you will depend on your training goal. Popular compound exercises are the squat, deadlift and press exercises. In many compound exercises weights are used.
Add compound exercises to your training schedule
If your aim is to quickly increase muscle mass and/or strength, then compound exercises are ideal. Be careful not to make your schedule too ambitious, instead build it up slowly. Compound exercises are often more difficult to do than isolation exercises, because several muscle groups are involved. This means there is a higher risk of injury or overtraining.
If in doubt, get help from a professional
Not sure which exercises are right for you? Unsure of how to do them properly, or what's the best training regime for you? Then get help from a professional, such as a personal trainer. Compound exercises are really useful, but can also cause problems if you don't do them properly.