Compound Exercises are Key

pushups4When putting together an exercise program the primary focus should be on compound movements.

Compound movements or exercises are those that involve using more than one major muscle group at once (and often across one or more joints in the process). The larger muscle group does the bulk of the work while the smaller muscle groups are supportive and secondary.

If you are pushing, pulling, dead-lifting, or squatting then you are likely performing a compound exercise that is training and building one major muscle group. For example: Any shoulder exercise that is pushing and pressing is also engaging the triceps. Chest exercises that involve pushing and pressing engage the shoulder and triceps as well as the chest. That’s why they are called compound.

Here’s some of the compound movements that should be incorporated into your workout routine:

Bench press: Muscle group: Chest; Secondary, shoulders and triceps

Deadlifts: Muscle group: Posterior…glutes/back, hamstrings etc.; Secondary… upper and lower body muscles

Squats: Muscle group: Quads; Secondary…lower body/lower back. Many varieties such as split squats should be included.

Lat pull-downs and Pull-ups and Chin-ups: Muscle group: Back; Secondary…biceps

Rows and Bent over Rows: Muscle group: back; Secondary…biceps

Shoulder Press: Muscle group: Shoulders; Secondary…triceps

There’s also lunges, step-ups, split squats, leg presses, push-ups and plank exercise that are all compound movements that need to be included and focused on.

One nice thing about a well-designed training program that incorporates compound exercises is you won’t need to make extra time for cardio because these movements also offer heart-health benefits…they are built right in as you perform and you’ll also create valuable metabolic responses in your body.

Another big benefit is the savings in time. Who has enough of that anymore? Compound movements make it possible to see fantastic results from little time commitment. The proper strength training program/resistance training program demands no more than 90 minutes per week – three sessions each 30 minutes long.

Heavy lifting helps add superior muscle tone and definition. It improves the metabolic rate and elevates your functional fitness to a far greater degree.

Even with the perfect exercise program with a high calorie diet, women build muscle at about 1/3 the rate of men, so shying away from heavy lifting because you are female and afraid of getting big and bulky is a mistake. Heavy lifting doesn’t make you big and bulky. There is simply not enough testosterone in the female body to add significant amount of muscle mass.

The range of sets is typically 2-4 sets. Moving up to 4 can really work the muscle but also requires you to perform fewer total exercises in your workout program to keep the volume reasonable.

Too many sets with too many exercises means your volume is atrociously high and this can result in overtraining which defeats all your hard efforts.

Below is a couple of BEGINNER Workout programs to get you started: (It’s important that you always begin each workout with a five minute warm-up and finish with a five-minute cool-down that could include marching on the spot, skipping rope, walking up and down stairs or performing any light cardio exercise.

Each one of these programs takes about 30 minutes to perform. Aim to do these 3 times weekly with a day off in between.



This is just a sampling beginner exercise program to get you acquainted. You can find 3 more beginner exercise routines along with intermediate an advanced ones in “Rebound Free Weight Loss.”

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