Compound exercises are an incredible thing to do for your training, and they have a whole world of different ways they can help your training if you know the best exercises and how to use them. The trouble is that a lot of the time, that’s just the issue. There are so many different choices out there, that picking the best is just too hard to do. When you're looking at compound exercises, that's a luxury you can't afford to have.

The reason behind all of the confusion when it comes to the best compound or full-body exercises is that the best can actually mean different things for different people. Some people may be looking for the best compound exercises to build muscle, others for functional strength and others just for the most significant calorie burn. They’re all more than viable options, but they are all different things too. That’s what we’re here to look at in more depth.

 

Building Muscle

The first place we’ll start with is building muscle and the best compound exercises for doing it. This is one of the biggest reasons people look to compound exercises and the benefits they have to offer in the first place, so it does make sense. There’s a reason these exercises are so famous after all, and they do incredible things for your muscle mass.

Bench presses

 

Person doing bench press exercise

These are one of the best upper body building exercises in existence, and likely one of the heaviest lifts that you're capable of too. They hit your shoulders, chest and triceps all at the same time, and that’s perfect for the kind of complimentary muscles we need here. Make sure you perfect your technique and push yourself, but it’s an amazing place to start.

Squats

 

Person squatting barbell

Squats are often hailed as the best lower body builder for the same reason as above. That comes down to how many different muscles you’re using at the same time, how much weight you can lift, and how natural the movement is too. All of these come together for a real recipe for success, and that’s exactly what we’re looking for.

Deadlifts

 

Person deadlifting barbell

Deadlifts aren’t just an amazing muscle building compound exercise, but they’re one of the best exercises you could do in general. They are a genuinely amazing feat of human strength, and for what they do to your body, they are an exercise that anybody should be doing no matter what they are exercising for. They need to be done correctly of course, but as far as exercises go, few can meet this titan of training, hitting your whole posterior chain in every single rep, and using the rest of your body for stabilisation.

Bent Rows

 

Person doing bent rows

Staying on the posterior side of the body, we'll move slightly upwards and take a look at the best compound exercises to hit your upper back muscles in this exercise. The biceps are another beneficiary for his one, and, like the bench press, it's likely to be one of the most significant lifts you can do.

Shoulder presses

 

Person shoulder pressing barbell

The only muscle group that hasn’t quite had enough attention yet even with all of these hardcore compound exercises is the shoulders, and that’s why we’re finishing off with this one. The shoulder press is an amazingly effective way to hit all three muscles involved in the deltoid in one exercise as well as giving your arms another blast too. Make sure you’re using it to its full potential!

Build Functional Strength

Building muscle is all well and good, and the strength gains you’ll get from those exercises is all well and good, but for many people trying to utilise these exercises, that’s not quite enough. For many, functional strength is the aim of the game, and that's a lot different from just building as much muscle as possible. This is being able to really use that muscle in everyday life and do things your body was designed for.

Pull Ups

 

Person doing pull ups

Although it may not be something that you use directly on a daily basis, pull ups are still a perfect example of the type of exercises we’re talking about here. It’s still a hardcore compound exercise using just about every muscle in your upper body, but because of the difficulty even with the lack of weight, it still means almost all of your back and arm muscles benefit. That’s so easy to transfer into real life!

Muscle Ups

 

Person doing muscle ups

Muscle-ups are massively in the same kind of league, but because of the difference in the exercise, they have a much larger impact on the arms and chest as well as having all of the benefits of pull-ups. That's perfect for a full upper body workout in one exercise and again uses the strength form your natural bodyweight that is easily transferred.

Chest Dips

 

Person doing chest dip exercise

Tricep dips are an amazingly useful way to hit your arms, but add some forward tilt when you're in the air and you're onto a winner. This is a chest dip, and it's a huge chest and upper body builder that only takes your bodyweight. That's incredibly hard to do as far as compound exercises and chest exercises go, and it has to be one of the best for what we're looking at here.

Sled Pulls/Pushes

 

People doing sled pushes

We need to give the legs a special mention here too, and there are more ways to train for functional strength than just squats and deadlifts too. Another of the best compound exercises out there that you can do is actually when using a sled. Sled pulls and pushes give you real, transferable strength in your legs that helps you in ways you wouldn’t even imagine.

 

Tone up and Burn Calories

Lastly, the best compound exercises have another trying to help you with too, and that's toning up. Weight training is still a great way to burn calories if you do it right, and the best way to do that is by using the most muscles per exercises that you possibly can. More muscles mean more calories burned, because you’re doing more. Makes sense Building muscle on top of that is just asking for more muscle definition!

Clean

 

Person during clean exercise

To get the best of compound exercises for toning up and burning calories, we need to be looking at exercises like the clean to hit as many muscles as we can. It's like a cross between multiple exercises like a deadlift and a squat in this case, and that just means more muscles in less time. What more can we ask for?

Jerk

 

Person doing jerk exercise

The jerk exercise is essentially a shoulder press with more leg activation. It’s a huge lift that’s often regarded as a weight training titan as seen in the Olympic weight lifting category, and it's definitely earned its place as one of the best compound exercises you could have.

TRX Rows

 

Person doing trx rows

Another big back hitter that still uses a huge amount of natural mechanics that are seen in daily life is with TRX rows. These are a great example of using your body weight in an already classic exercise to really build your pulling strength, perfect for all kind of activities in and out of your exercise.

Lunges with Pass

 

Perosn doing lunges with kettlebell

Finally, we have lunges. They may seem like a total wildcard in the list since they are much smaller than a lot of the other lifts, but that doesn't mean they don't fit the bill here they are still an incredible lower body exercise that does what we need. Add a pass to the mix some equipment like a kettlebell or dumbbell, and you add a load of core work into the mix too. It only gets better the more you do, but it may be hard to find a wright to make the most of both part so the exercise. Do bear that in mind.

 

 

Ultimately, compound exercises are incredible, no matter what you’re training for. You should always be doing more of them wherever you can. They help your performance in every fitness goal you could want, so learn which suit you the best, master your technique, and see what they can do for your workouts. Good luck.

 

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