7 of the Best Compound Exercises

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If you’re in the game of building size and strength, you need to add compound exercises to your routine. Compound lifts are exercises that target several muscle groups simultaneously. 

And if working out is part of your daily routine, chances are, you’re already doing a few of these compound exercises. 

But what’s so important about compound lifts? Why should you incorporate them into your arsenal of workouts? And what are the best compound exercises? Here, we will explore some key compound lifts and show you how to perform them properly. 

Compound Lifts Benefits

Compound exercises are any strengthening exercises that focus on more than one muscle group at the same time. They include movements such as squats, deadlifts, and more. 

The most significant benefit of compound exercises is that they don’t require a lot of time. If you’re short on time, you’ll work more muscles and build more strength by doing compound exercises. Other benefits include:

Best Compound Exercises 

Below, we’ve compiled a few compound workouts that are the most effective in growing muscle across your body.  

Squats 

Squats

Why Do Them

Yes, the squat is among the best compound exercises you can add to your routine, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Getting the form right is essential to reaping the most out of the movement. In terms of increasing muscle mass, squats are vital as they work so many muscles at once. Plus, you can intensify the exercise by piling extra weight for maximum gains. 

What They Work 

Quads, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and core. 

Barbell Hip Raises 

Barbell Hip Raises 

Why Do Them

Your hamstrings and glutes are two of the most critical areas to strengthen. They’re your whole support system when you pop a squat, your strength when you deadlift, and your fuel when engaged in plyometrics or sprint work. Barbell hips raises are an excellent way to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. You can intensify the activity, which will help with a range of other exercises because you can put more weight on the barbell.

What They Work 

Glutes, hamstrings, lower back, core, hip flexors, and biceps. 

Deadlifts

Deadlifts

Why Do Them

Deadlifts are one of the best compound strength exercises that we think more people should get into. From a beginner’s perspective, they can look super dangerous. However, nailing the correct technique requires keeping your back straight throughout the whole movement. They’re particularly helpful in targeting weaker areas of your posterior chain and may help you reach your strength goals.  

The critical thing to remember is to get the technique right. Just starting out? Begin with just a barbell, and make sure you’re not using your upper body. Instead, lift with your glutes and hamstrings.  

What They Work 

Hamstrings, lower back, glutes, hip flexors, and core. 

Incline Bench Press 

Incline Bench Press 

Why Do Them

If you’re a fan of chest workouts, you know bench presses are great. But pecs are enormous muscles. That said, doing flat bench presses only targets one section of the group. By doing both incline and decline bench presses, you target the upper and lower chest for a more comprehensive chest workout. When performing this movement, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your muscles engaged. That way, you’ll be able to feel what muscles are working.  

What They Work 

Upper chest, front delts, and triceps. 

Clean and Press 

Clean And Press 

Why Do Them

The clean and press is a very technical compound exercise and is usually more suited to seasoned lifters. It is, however, a fantastic exercise for strengthening muscle because it works so many areas. 

A clean and press is essentially a deadlift which is then accompanied by a shoulder press. The most challenging part of this exercise is the grip transition—the moment you need to change your grip to go from a pull to a push position. You also need to have a fair amount of flexibility to catch the bar and rest it front-loaded on top of your chest. Nailing this exercise may take a lot of practice but is great for building strength. 

What They Work 

Quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, core, hip flexors, delts, upper chest, lats, traps, and triceps. 

Parallel Dips 

Parallel Dips 

Why Do Them

Parallel dips are great if you’re looking to build muscle mass across your upper body. They’re not the easiest of exercises on this list, but they make a great challenge if you’re looking to intensify your routine.  

There are a few parallel dips versions – those that work the chest area and those that focus on your triceps. It just depends on the position. 

What They Work 

Delts, triceps, chest, and core.

Pull-Ups 

Pull-Ups 

Why Do Them

The term ‘pull-ups’ refers to many exercises that can be performed on a pull-up bar, the most popular type being chin-ups. All forms have their benefits, so once you have mastered one form, try to mix it up and master another for a more comprehensive workout. 

Pull-ups are one of the best ways to work those back muscles, and they’re ideal for leveling up your fitness levels too. And by taking your entire body weight, they’re suitable for building up grip strength.

What They Work 

Lats, delts, traps, biceps, and core.

Takeaway

Compound lifts are great for building muscle mass. While you can perform most of them with just your body weight, it’s always a good idea to supplement your heavy lifts with accessory lifts (dumbbells). Add some of those exercises to your routine and thank us later. 

Looking for more workouts? 

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