What Are Compound Exercises?

Dec 07, 2023


There are a lot of fitness trends floating around the internet, and it can be confusing to know what exactly you should be doing consistently in the gym to see the results you want.

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with getting back to perfecting the basics of exercise! One fundamental aspect of any well-rounded workout routine is the incorporation of compound exercises.

In this blog, we'll take a deep dive into what compound exercises are, why they're essential (whether you're a beginner or advanced gym-goer), and provide a list of compound exercises suitable for anyone!

What Are Compound Exercises?

Compound exercises are any movements that involve using more than one muscle group at a time. Because they involve engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, compound exercises are highly efficient for building strength, endurance, and functional fitness (or movements done during your everyday life.)

Unlike isolation exercises that target a specific muscle, compound exercises build a comprehensive workout, helping you make the most of your time at the gym.

Why Do Compound Exercises?

  1. They're Efficient: Compound exercises maximize your time by working multiple muscle groups at once. This efficiency is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules or small workout time windows.

  2. They Improve Your Functional Fitness: Compound exercises mirror real-life movements, enhancing your ability to perform daily activities and reducing the risk of injuries associated with muscle imbalances or weaknesses.

  3. They Build Muscle and Strength: As compound movements require the activation of several muscle groups, they contribute significantly to overall strength development.

  4. They Support Join Health: By engaging various muscle groups, compound exercises help distribute forces more evenly across joints, supporting the surrounding ligaments and tendons. This contributes to enhanced joint function and resilience, reducing the risk of imbalances and potential injuries.

Essential Compound Exercises



  • Muscle Groups Worked: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
  • How To: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body as if sitting back into a chair, and return to the starting position.

Click here to learn how to find your perfect squat stance!



  • Muscle Groups Worked: Hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back.
  • How To: Start with a hip-width stance, hinge at your hips to lower the weights, keeping your back straight, then return to an upright position.

Check your deadlift form with advice from a certified personal trainer! Click here to book your complimentary training session.

Bench Press


  • Muscle Groups Worked: Chest, shoulders, triceps.
  • How To: Lie on a bench, lower the barbell to your chest, and push it back up to the starting position.

Unlock more chest press benefits by learning the difference between incline, decline, and flat benching here!

Overhead Press


  • Muscle Groups Worked: Shoulders, triceps, upper back.
  • How To: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, press a barbell or dumbbells overhead, and return to the starting position.


DumbbellRow (1)

  • Muscle Groups Worked: Upper back, lats, biceps.
  • How To: Bend at the hips with a straight back, pull the weight towards your chest, and lower it back down.

Click here to learn how to use the rowing machine for even more back muscle growth.


Adding compound exercises into your fitness routine can be a game-changer for improving strength, functional fitness, and time efficiency of your workouts.

It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or someone back revisiting the basics, these compound movements provide a solid foundation for a well-rounded workout routine.

Remember to start with proper form, gradually increase weights, and listen to your body to ensure a safe and effective fitness journey. So, lace up those sneakers, grab your water bottle, and let's get moving!

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