Compound Workouts: Best Compound Exercises for Fast Results

If you've been struggling to work out because you can't find the time...

If you've hit a plateau and finding it difficult to make gains...

Or if you're a beginner who's looking for best way to get started...

Its time for you to get a superior workout while spending less time in the gym. Whether you're just starting out or need to change up your routine, the key is build a program using the best compound exercises to multiply your results in the gym and make the BEST use of your time.

Compound Movements vs Isolation Exercises

At a very basic level, exercises can either be classified as compound, which are movements that actively target more than one major muscle group, or isolation, movements that primarily target a single muscle group.

In other words, compound exercises use multiple joints at the same time to work more muscle groups simultaneously. For example, the bench press is a multi-joint movement involving both the shoulder and elbow joints, effectively recruiting the chest, shoulders and triceps (emphasis on these muscles can be changed with different variations).

However, if you compare it to Bicep Curls, only the elbow joint is moving and thus the biceps are being isolated (with some forearm action depending on your grip and positioning)

*Note: it is impossible to completely isolate just one muscle group, and equally impossible to completely isolate a specific segment of a muscle. For example, just by gripping and moving weight, other complementary muscles are recruited to "assist" with that exercise. So a true definition of an isolation exercise is one that EMPHASIZES one muscle group in a major way.

Here are the main benefits of Compound Movements:

- Time-Efficiency: since you're working multiple muscle groups with a single movement, compound workouts can help you get "more done" in less time. Only about 8-10 total exercises are needed to effectively burn the whole body. What does that really mean? Less time in the gym.

- Size & Strength: they are the king of strength building exercises, as evidenced by olympic & power lifters. Moreover, it appears that compound exercises pack on more overall mass with less volume (meaning 1 set of a compound exercise delivers more mass building potential than 1 set of its isolation counterpart)

- Functional: in the sports you play and the daily activities you do, almost every thing involves multiple joints, which means that compound movements are more functional in nature, helping you improve performance in a wide variety of tasks.

The Best Compound Exercises that Deliver Fast Results

Don't worry, these exercises won't pack on slabs of MASS on your body, unless you progressively use heavy loads, eat a lot, and have the hormonal profile to get really big. In other words, women naturally don't have the "goods" to get too bulky, while men can easily control how big they want to get.

For a great compound workout, you can perform all of the following exercises in a single workout session. These movements are proven to help people get in shape fast!

Squat: this is one of the single best full-body exercises that exist, reshaping the lower body like none other. It blasts your butt, thighs and calves, while strengthening your core and back simultaneously.

Lunges: complementary to squat, lunges further target the butt and hamstrings to further develop the lower body. Since they are also a functional movement, they can help improve performance in sports and daily activities. Overall, with squats & lunges, you pretty much have the lower body covered.

Bench Press: typically known for developing the chest, the bench press is actually quite effective at hitting the shoulders(anterior) and triceps as well. It is the most complete exercise for upper body development.

Lat Pulldowns: next to bench, lat pulldowns develop the upper body in a major way. Targeting the largest back muscles and your biceps, this is one movement that can give your physique a much more balanced appearance.

Dumbbell Row: this exercise is typically done with one-arm, although it can also be done with two. When you combine this move with lat pulldowns, you're ensuring complete back development, particularly the upper and middle regions, along with the rear deltoids.

Shoulder Press: very effective at giving your shoulders a boost, shoulder presses can help you look fuller in the right places, as well as giving the upper back, neck, and back of arms a nice workout.

Abdominal Bicycle: if you wanted to choose one Abs exercise that targets the upper, lower & obliques, bicycles would be it. This move will ensure complete abdominal muscle development and help you attain a tighter, defined mid-section(as long as bodyfat isn't covering it up).

If you start a routine with the above exercises, stick to it for atleast 8 weeks without changing anything. This way, you'll be able to get really good at performing them, allowing you to progress much faster.

Remember that proper form is always key to maximize results and prevent injury, so start with light weights in the beginning to allow your body a chance to adapt to the moves.

How Many Sets to Perform?

Depending on intensity, you really don't need more than one warm-up set and one good, hard set to fatigue. The goal is to complete 8-12 repetitions, with the last couple of reps being very challenging without comprimising your form. So after you feel the burn and your form is about to suffer, stop at that moment (without letting form suffer).

For beginners, one intense set is more than enough to see results, and even intermediate/advanced lifters can benefit from this approach if they've been training with heavy volume for many months (to give the body a break).

Another goal is to progress by either increasing the reps or increasing the weight, but take your time in becoming somewhat comfortable with a weight before you increase it. Basically, you want your form to be good and the chance of injury to be minimized, so its wise to progress at a slower pace.

The compound workout can be performed 3-4x a week, with atleast one day of rest in between each workout for adequate rest & recovery. More is NOT better, especially if you're a beginner.

Closing Tips

In order to prevent the routine from getting stale, you can change the grips on certain exercises (wide vs narrow), the stance of your feet (width and toe positioning) and the setup angles (incline bench, decline, etc). The biggest benefit of using this approach is emphasizing particular segments within a muscle group, such as upper chest, lateral delts, etc.

So there you have it, a proven, time-efficient compound workout that is sure to deliver results. Expect to not only improve your body composition(shape), but also increase your fat-burning metabolism(temporarily) and general conditioning. Mixing in some light cardio after your workouts or on rest days can really help you target that stubborn fat (provided your diet is sensible).