When it comes to building muscle and strength, you can't go wrong with compound exercises. Compound exercise workouts aren't particularly common, though. That's why we've put together this guide to compound exercises and a really effective workout for you to try. With our compound exercise workout plan, you'll be putting in maximum effort to see awesome results. Find out more.


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  1. What Are Compound Exercises?
  2. Deadlifts
  3. Squats
  4. Shoulder Press
  5. Bench Press
  6. Bent-Over Row
  7. Full Body Compound Exercise Workout Plan

What Are Compound Exercises?

Compound exercises use a combination of multiple muscle groups. This is different from isolation exercises, which use only one muscle group at a time. This is what makes all the difference. Compound exercises give you real, transferable and functional strength, which is something that's difficult to achieve with anything else. It's one of the fundamentals of strength training.

A compound exercise workout is an effective way to keep your strength in top condition. The number of muscles used and the amount of weight moved while performing compound exercises leads to the high burning of calories. Even after your workout, you will continue to burn fat, tone up, build muscle and increase your strength.

Our compound exercise workout consists of five exercises. Together, they will target every single muscle group in your body. Find out more about each move below.

Deadlifts

Man deadlifting

The deadlift is the ultimate compound exercise. It has a place in any full-body workout. Deadlifts use your entire posterior chain, and few exercises come close to what this move has to offer. A deadlift will allow you to lift massive weights, but you need to make sure that you’re nailing your deadlift form.

Squats

Woman squatting barbell

To hit your lower body adequately, you also need to throw in some squats. Squats are an incredibly effective way to build up muscle in your legs, and they are some of the biggest in your body, so they need the attention. Your quads and glutes especially see the benefit here, so focus on them throughout the exercise. It really cements your leg strength in just one compound exercise, and when you do it with deadlifts, your full-body workout really turns up a notch.

Shoulder Press

Man shoulder pressing in a compound exercise workout

Moving to the upper body, it’s a great idea to start with the shoulder press. Namely, the military shoulder press with dumbbells or a barbell. Standing for the exercise is your best bet, and you’ll be hitting all three deltoid head muscles (the front, side and rear) hard for the full exercise. You will also be using your core to stabilise yourself, as well as your back and triceps. That's what makes the shoulder press perfect for a compound exercise workout.

Bench Press

Woman bench pressing barbell

The bench press needs no introduction, and it’s probably one of the most popular exercises for building muscle. Dumbbells are the best piece of equipment for a bench press because you need to balance them and make sure one side doesn't do more or less work than the other. Remember to use a spotter or a Smith machine if you’re going for huge weights, though.

Bent-Over Row

Man performing a bent row compound exercise

Finally, you can’t forget about your back in a compound exercise workout. Your back is capable of huge strength feats. It’s also a good way to make sure that your back is warmed up, too. The bent-over row is best done with a barbell and is an awesome way to finish off, so make sure you give it your all in one final push.

Full Body Compound Exercise Workout Plan

This workout will be difficult, and if you're moving large weights, it’s a good idea to stick to the 5x5 set style. If you do want an extra push in your workout, you can add a 1 rep maximum lift at the end to overload your muscles and really focus on strength building. The choice is yours! Be careful and ensure you've got correct form, and this workout will give you a huge strength boost. You can also watch our video guide to really perfect your compound exercises.

ExerciseReps x Sets
Deadlift5 x 5
Squats5 x 5
Shoulder press5 x 5
Bench press5 x 5
Bent over row5 x 5

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.