Compound exercises. What are they? They are exercises that require the use of multiple groups of muscles over multiple joints in your body. Some of these may be squats, bench press, bent over rows. There are more compound exercises as opposed to isolated exercises. Isolated exercises are good and they have their merits in exercise prescription, but compared to compound exercises, expend less energy when used.
The more muscles used mean the more energy can potentially and or will be used in the workouts. And of course the higher the energy expenditure, the more you can shift the energy balance towards a “caloric deficit”.
When we look at movement of the human body, our body and muscles are all connected from the tips of your toes to the tips of your fingers. You move as a unit and not segmentally. Hence why compound exercises are the most effective in conditioning your body, getting it stronger and also expending the most energy at the same time.
Caloric output is of course determined by which muscles are being used. The quads, glutes, hamstrings, pectorals and also your back muscles (lats) would be the largest groups of muscles to use and if you can perform exercises that target these in a compound movement, you will be winning. Add some weight or resistance to the movement and you will definitely test your conditioning system.
The more time you spend on compound movements, the quicker you will be able to achieve a more toned look than from single isometric exercises that target single body parts at a time. You will find also that muscle coordination and control will improve with compound movements which in most cases are functional to our daily lives.
In a typical workout session, compound exercises are a better choice for time poor exercisers who want the best bang for buck in terms of a good conditioning workout. Yes you will build up your core temperature very quickly and start generating an immense amount of internal heat (metabolic rate increase). Expect to feel the warmth of the workout 5-10 minutes into the session even on a chilly winter day.
Even after the workout, you will also notice that you will continue to sweat up to 30minutes after you have stopped exercising and in some cases depending on how long you worked out for and intensity, up to an hour. This effect is one of the reasons why compound movements are so effective in achieving maximum caloric burn. The activity in your muscles to metabolise the waste, replenish the muscles with fuel and everything else the muscles need to repair and regenerate causes that “heat” to continue after your workout.
There are numerous benefits of compound movements and you will need to weigh up why you are doing them and the goals you are trying to achieve with them. Other types of isometric type exercises have their own benefits and uses too so do not discount them completely. Choose a few and get into the gym and hit them with determination.
See you in the gym.