Compound exercises are some of the biggest you could ever do. They cover everything from squats and deadlifts to push-ups and pull-ups, and they're all incredible ways to exercise. All of that is indisputable. To really understand the true potential of compound exercises and the benefits that they have to offer, however, you need to really look at where they come from. That’s what we’re here to do.

What are compound exercises?

A great place to start with a topic like this is to look at what compound exercises actually are in the first place. They’re essentially any exercise that uses more than one muscle or muscle group to complete an exercise. In a nutshell, that’s it.

To put this into perspective, let's use a couple of examples. A bicep curl, to start us off, is an isolation exercise. The motion of your arm moving like that needs only your bicep to move (if you do it properly, as we talk about here). A squat, on the other hand, uses a tonne of different stuff. Just about every muscle in your lower body comes into play at some point or another to help you move, and that's why you can lift so much weight. That's the difference.

Some of the best compound exercises are things like:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Pull-Ups
  • Push-Ups
  • Shoulder Presses
  • TRX Rows
  • Leg Presses
  • Chin Ups
  • Bench Press
  • Lunges
  • Cleans
  • Jerks
  • Snatches

What are the benefits of compound exercises?

Going back to the benefits of compound exercises, as we said, you're pretty spoiled for choice. They offer things that other kinds of exercise just can't, and that puts them in a league of their own hailed as some of the best exercises you could ever want to do. They're seriously awesome.

Let’s check out why

More Muscles Used


Person hanging from a pull up bar


The biggest thing to look at as we keep reiterating is the sheer number of muscles that you use per exercise. Using more muscles in one exercise is bound to have its own benefits, and it’s something that isolation exercises simply just cannot offer you. You reap the rewards of multiple muscle groups in whole new lights.

Higher Weight


Person shoulder pressing barbell


A direct result of the number of muscles you’re using in compound exercises is that you can lift more weight than you can in other exercises. It only makes sense after all. The more muscles you use, the more areas are working together to move the weight, and as a result, you can lift more. That means that all of the muscles that are getting involved are getting some work, and that’s awesome for things like cutting workout time, hitting more muscles more often and just generally improving the quality of your workouts.

Functional strength


Person doing compound jumping exercise


Those things, when put together, come to one of the most significant benefits that compound exercises can offer you. That's functional strength. The fact that you're using all of the muscles together to do movements that are similar to things you can do in the real world is astounding. The reason our bodies can do all of these awesome exercises is because that's what our bodies were designed to do, and it really helps in everyday life. You can carry more, lift more, push more, pull more, anything, more. It's seriously impressive, and it's great for your health.

Stability Required


Person doing a compound exercise


Using all of these muscles adds a little bit more of a secret benefit to compound exercises too. That comes from how you are stabilising yourself, if you use the right exercises. To put this into context, let's look at squats vs leg presses (like we did in full here). You need to keep your own balance and watch your form with squats, and that means you use muscles even as far up as your core to be able to stop your form wobbling, shaking or falling. That builds up smaller muscles you didn't even know existed! Machine exercises, although they can still be compound, don't allow you to do this kind of exercise since the machine has fixed motion. It's not compound-specific, but if you use the two together, you're winning.

High Calorie Burn


Person doing compound exercise in an empty room


Moving away from all of the bulky muscle talk, there's another crucial advantage to full body compound exercises that people don't really think about as well, and you'll kick yourself for it. Think about it. The number of muscles you use must mean that you use more energy. Using more energy means more calories. You're burning calories while you lift weights. If you're looking for a better calorie burn like if you're trying to tone up, this is exactly the kind of workout you need to maximise your results! It's amazingly efficient!

Workout Opportunities


Person reading in front of a dumbbell rack


The last thing we’ll talk about here before we sum things up has to be about all of the opportunities that come from such a great exercise. The opportunities to build your workouts in a way that you usually just couldn't is phenomenal. You can use things like frequency training to hit all muscles multiple times a week, or you can just go for building the most strength you possibly can by lifting a load of weight but only for a few reps. Even with limited exercises choosing the right sets styles opens up a world of possibilities!


The Conclusion

Compound exercises are a great way to hit more muscles with more weight more often, and all of those things help you in tonnes of different areas of your training. Whether you’re looking to change things up with the odd workout (like this), or you need a full workout plan like the one we did here we have something for you to try out. Test it for a few workouts and see what you think! Good luck, stay safe, and remember that form is more important than weight. That applies here more than ever! Home Gym Equipment



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. 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.