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Compound Lifts: The Ultimate Guide

Compound Lifts In this post, you’ll learn everything about compound lifts and why they’re better than isolation exercises. It’s a fact that weight training is no longer limited to body builders. So, if you’re interested in gaining strength, burning calories, and shedding some body pounds, compounds lifts are for you. Now, based on science, compound lifts are one of the most remarkable weight training workouts with the most impact on the body’s strength level. Anyone looking for ways to be fit and stronger will be glad to commence compound exercises such as deadlift, shoulder push press, and squats. Does this sound like what you need to build your body and increase your muscle size? Grab a seat and read further.

What are Compound Lifts?

Generally, compound lifts or compound exercises target many joints and muscles. They are primarily responsible for giving the body the biggest muscles. When compared with isolation lifts or exercises, compound exercises stimulate your muscles better and result in a greater number of growth hormones. For instance, when you engage in compound lifts regularly, you experience a higher level of testosterone. This increase comes as a result of the stimulation of the endocrine system. It further contributes to increase in muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments. The big shot with compound exercises is that they utilize many muscle groups, thereby resulting in an overall impact on your body. Let’s consider the squats. Squats are functional exercises which include your hips, knees, and ankles. As a result of the emphasis on multiple joints and muscles, compound exercises yield the highest bodybuilding results and boost fat loss. Nevertheless, some people hold the opinion that compound lifts are typically difficult and cannot be done by beginners or intermediate body builders. However, compound workouts combine a few basic exercises which produce the ideal physique. Another great reason to do compound lifts is that you achieve more in little time. Since compound workouts focus on more than one muscle at a time, you can be bigger in 4 weeks or less. Isolation exercises, on the converse, pays attention to one muscle at a time. This, therefore, requires that you devote some time to each muscle. Sounds exhausting! Again, compound lifts are great at getting your central nervous system busy. This is because the exercises require greater body exertion and result in higher stress levels. Yet, this doesn’t take away the huge impacts which accompany compound workouts. With this solid background on compound lifts definition, let’s go on to discuss the advantages of compound lifts. Keep reading.

Advantages of Compound Lifts

Movements which involve multiple joints and muscles produce bigger results. So, when it comes to compound workouts, these are the benefits you enjoy:
  • Saves Time – As earlier mentioned, compound lifts save time when building muscles. Due to the involvement of many muscle groups in the workouts, you get to see results in more than one part of your body faster. Also, if you don’t believe in spending so much time in the gym, the compound lifts are all you need to keep fit while investing little time.
  • Higher Testosterone Levels – With regular compound lifts, you get to enjoy increase in testosterone. This is usually due to the stressful nature of the compound movements and the body’s need to handle the stress.
  • Improved Strength – Your entire body soon gets stronger since the compound movements require more joint and muscle involvement. The more you engage in compound exercises, the stronger you become.
  • Greater Balance – As a result of the tough workouts you do when you do compound exercises, your body gains improved balance for carrying weights and lifting heavy tools.
  • Builds Quads and Glutes – If you’re looking to build quads without doing quad workouts alone, compound lifts are perfect. Squats, especially, takes advantage of your butt, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
  • Speeds up Weight Loss – Greater muscle coordination brings quicker fat burning. Thus, you don’t have to worry about going on a special weight loss program.
  • Increased Heart Rate – When you engage in challenging workouts, you improved the rate at which your heart functions and encourage blood circulation to all parts of the body.
  • Reduced Risks of Injury – Athletes or highly active individuals will find that compound lifts prevent them from sustaining injuries. This can be traced to the overall joint stability.

What Makes Compound Lifts Better than Isolation Exercises

We previously hinted at the fact that isolation exercises are less functional and require more time to build all muscles. Now, we’ll explain the dichotomy in full. Isolation exercises are excellent for strengthening a particular muscle at a time. As an illustration, if an athlete hurts his biceps, the popular biceps curl can be recommended during physical therapy. The biceps curl is great for bicep strengthening. Another example of the isolation workout is the leg extension which isolates the legs to strengthen them. Other examples include:
  • Lateral Raises
  • Hamstring curls
  • Front Raises
  • Calf Raises
  • Rope pull-downs
Many times, isolation movements come in handy after illness or surgery. Nonetheless, they work only primary muscles and slowly build muscle mass. Equally, isolation exercises hardly stimulate anabolic hormones production which produces higher levels of testosterone. As a matter of fact, low testosterone levels are responsible for low sexual and muscular abilities. Why do isolation exercises which are time-consuming when you can build all primary and secondary muscles in a single compound lifts workout? Finally, we can conclude that while compounds lifts work the body and produce more muscle mass and strength, isolation exercises perform the sculpting of individual muscles.

Basic Compound Lifts

Below are the most popular compound lifts:

  1. Lunge
  2. Dips
  3. Squats
  4. Pull-up
  5. Pushups
  6. Jumping Rope
  7. Pushup to Overhead press
  8. Deadlift
  9. Chest Press
  10. Shoulder Press/Military Press
  11. Leg Press
  12. Rows
  13. Close Grip Bench Press
  14. Barbell Bench Press

5 Essential Compound Lifts for Great Results

  • Barbell bench press focuses on your triceps and chest. It is the number one movement for the upper body, as it builds chest muscle and strengthens the back. As you bend forward, stretch multiple muscle fibers and hold on to the bar until you’ve completed the benching.
  • Dips are one the oldest compound lifts which focus on building the chest, triceps, and shoulders. They increase body weight as well as upper body mass. Extend your arms and hang them on parallel bars. Breathe in and bend until your elbows reach your chest level which is parallel to the bar. Release your elbows and breathe out.
  • With the squat, you work your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and rectus abdominis. To perform this, get under the barbell and raise it to the trapezius. Next, look ahead as you hold the bars firmly. Breathe in, contract your abdominal muscles, press your press inward, and raise the bar from its stand. Position your feet so that they’re wider than your shoulders and arch your hips until you can make your legs straight. Then, release your breath.
  • The military press focuses on your upper pectorals, anterior deltoid, triceps, and trapezius. Sit with your back in a straight position and grip the barbell with your hands raised. Next, breathe in and lift the bar. Bring the bar down slowly and breathe out.
  • Pull-up works on your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboid minor and major, and biceps. With your arms raised above your head, grab a bar that’s wider than your shoulders. Next, breathe in and push your bodyweight up until your chest is on the same level as the bar. Then, lower your body back to the floor and breathe out.
All of these five important compound lifts produce remarkable results for the arms, abs, and other major muscle group in the body.

What is the Best Compound Exercise for You?

Are you wondering how much compound lifts will be good for your body? The first step is to see a fitness professional. A trainer can help you determine how to start and the ideal schedule to follow. Also, remember to start with light weight before progressing to tougher lifts. If you feel lightheaded at any point, take a break. When you begin to feel stable, consider increasing the difficulty level of your training. In addition, we recommend that you perform compound lifts three out of seven days. This is the best workout scheme for healthy adults who are interested in growing multiple muscles. It is equally safe to have some intervals in between each day of compound workouts. Ensure that your workout routine has intervals to allow the body to ease the stress and regain its strength. Always remember to hydrate in between sets. Go through this list of compound exercises to find out what works for you.


In all, this post serves as a guide for individuals and bodybuilders who are interested in increasing muscle mass and muscle strength with multiple-muscle movements. With compound lifts, you can achieve everything that isolation exercises claim to give you when taking one muscle at a time. Save time, increase your strength and heart rate, and build muscles without stress. Inasmuch as compound exercises are demanding, they are everything you need to build many muscles and joints in a complete workout. Which of these compound lifts are you eager to perform? Have you engaged in compound workouts and seen huge results? Share your experience!
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