Last Updated on November 27, 2020

If you’re looking for a good workout that allows you to work on multiple muscle groups simultaneously, compound exercises can meet your expectations and help you achieve more in less time. By working on several muscle groups at once, you can do less exercise and reduce the total amount of time you spend in the gym.

In this article, you will learn some of the most important examples of compound exercises that should be an integral part of any strength training

What are compound exercises?

Compound exercises are exercises in which at least two pairs of joints or more are involved. This means involving a large number of muscles in one exercise. For example, in a classic push-up, the muscles of the chest, shoulders, triceps, abdomen, and many other auxiliary muscles work very hard.

Compound exercises, also known as multi-joint exercises, are used by many people who practice various sports. They are used by bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, and even athletes who consider training in the gym as one of the elements of the entire training unit. The multi-joint exercises are undoubtedly the most effective tools when working on the figure and many motor features.

Multi-joint exercises are especially recommended to all beginner gym adepts, but also advanced strongmen and professional bodybuilders include them in their FBW training. They allow you to build an optimal body base, which can be refined at later stages thanks to the use of isolated exercises.

Compound exercises advantages

  • Especially important in the early stages of training, when overall development is a priority
  • Strengthen the connective tissue, which reduces the risk of injury to tendons and ligaments
  • Stimulate the development of smaller muscles that are not engaged during isolated exercises, which in turn improves the details in the appearance of the figure
  • Improve the effectiveness of training – thanks to the use of a larger group of muscles, they allow to reduce repetitions in the series and shorten the exercise time
  • More functional than isolated exercises – daily activities more often involve the use of multiple joints than one
  • They allow you to lift heavier weights – by engaging more than one muscle group, you can allow yourself to increase the load and work harder
  • Burn More Calories – Performing a greater range of movements that involve more muscle groups when lifting heavier weights burns more calories
  • They improve mobility – machines often limit the range of motion in the joints. Correct performance of compound exercises improves joint mobility. Joints play an essential role in building muscle. When working on developing strength, we must not forget to maintain and improve mobility.

Basic Compound Exercises

Basic multi-joint or compound exercises can be performed in the gym with a small amount of equipment. Usually, this will be the load of free weights that form the basis of general exercise. When implementing comprehensive training aimed at proportional muscle development, remember to:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Squats

Multi-joint exercises are the best option for people who want to harmoniously develop their body sculpture at the gym.

Compound exercises are the opposite of isolated exercises, most often performed on machines. Isolated exercises focus on selected muscles and are preferred mainly by bodybuilders, often focusing on improving the appearance of the specific part of the body.

Depending on the intensity, weight, and frequency, they can be used in training for muscle mass, body sculpting, and in the reduction period. For muscle mass and body sculpting training, it is advisable to use heavier weights with fewer repetitions. During the reduction, in turn, focus on lower weights and more repetitions.

However, the basis of programs for body sculpting, muscle mass, and the reduction will be mainly a diet with an appropriate caloric balance. In this case, not only the energy aspect is important, but also the quality of the ingredients and the ratio of macronutrients.

6 Best Examples Of Compound Exercises

Performing these few basic compound exercises will allow you to harmoniously develop your figure. Here are some examples of the best compound exercises

1. Deadlift

The deadlift is an exercise that has a huge impact on the development of the entire back body, stimulating a large number of muscles to work. Deadlifts are effective at building both mass and strength.

This exercise develops the gluteal, hamstring, quadriceps, shoulder muscles, and the back and abdominal muscles. Due to its versatility, deadlifts are the basic multi-joint exercise performed in the gym training.

2. Front Squat

One of the best exercises for building your quadriceps. It is not very popular because it requires greater involvement in learning the correct technique. It is also less comfortable than the traditional back barbell squats.

The front barbell squats are also one of the best abdominal exercises. It is a more difficult variant of the weighted squat and therefore it is recommended for more technically advanced people.

Front squat develops primarily the quadriceps muscle of the thigh, as well as the gluteus maximus, adductor, and calf soleus muscles. When done correctly with a barbell in front, the abdominal muscles also work to stabilize the body.

3. Military press

This is an exercise that involves pressing the weight above your head. Use only the strength of your shoulders and arms to do it. The military press can also be performed while seated. The muscles that work during this exercise are: the deltoid front, lateral, triceps, greater pectoral, and toothed front axons.

4. Neutral Grip Pull-Ups

This grip provides the muscles of the widest back with maximum stretching, i.e. working in their full range, thanks to which we emphasize the effective development of the back.

5. Dips

Examples of compound exercises - dips

One of the best exercises for building up and increasing the strength of the triceps arm and the muscles of the chest and shoulders. In this exercise, the more the body is bent and the arms are positioned sideways when moving, the more the pectoral muscles are engaged.

6. Hanging Leg Raise

This exercise works mainly on the abdominal muscles, but also the shoulders thanks to the use of the gymnastic bar. The exercise can be performed with the feet touching the bar or lifting the knees to the chest. This exercise is very good at developing the abdominal muscles.

Remember that the active contraction of the abdominal muscles begins when the legs reach the hip line and they rise.


After many years of the great popularity of machines, complex multi-joint exercises on free weights are back in favor. By engaging several muscle groups, they play the most important role in training for muscle mass, body contour, and reduction.

Multi-joint exercises are the basis of training in the gym, the aim of which is to build a harmonious body shape.

Due to their versatility, they make it possible to train more muscles by performing a few movements. It also saves time, because one exercise will cover many muscle groups.

Involving a larger area of ​​muscles also means that multi-joint exercises can be performed with a greater load.

Importantly, taking into account the general development nature of multi-joint training, you should remember about a comprehensive warm-up – both aerobic and careful joint warm-up, which will prepare the body for exercise.

Comments are closed.