Compound exercises of any stripe are more suitable to gain strength and build solid muscle than isolation exercises will ever be. With a half-dozen compound exercises, you can get a full-body workout that will quickly build muscle mass and overall fitness while strengthening the body as a whole.
Here’s a list of top seven compound exercises you should consider adding into your workout program.
Best Compound Exercises
- Deadlifts (and their variations) will help you put on weight in your hamstrings, glutes, entire back, and forearms. They also challenge your core.
- Squats are another “full-body” bodybuilding exercise that will help you add mass to your thighs and glutes, predominantly, but they’ll also really help to strengthen your core.
- Chin-ups/Pull-ups are great if you want to put on weight in your upper back (lats) and arms (biceps and forearms).
- Rowing variations are also great bodybuilding exercises that will help build up the upper back and biceps/forearms, improve your posture, and keep your shoulders healthy in the process.
- Bench presses (both barbell and dumbbell versions) are excellent for building up the pecs and triceps, as are push-ups, which should still be included for shoulder balance and health.
- Push-ups/Dips are key body-weight exercise for building pecs, triceps and deltoids.
- Standing Overhead presses/Military presses are awesome for those looking for bodybuilding exercises to put on mass in the shoulders, too.
There are many variations to each of these. Dumbbell versions, barbell versions, seated vs. standing, different grips, different angles, etc.
But the key things about this list:
- They are all compound movements, not isolation exercises
- Together, they hit every major muscle in the body (yes, they even work your abs for you fitness-models out there!)
- They produce RESULTS
- They should form the basis of any good program/routine; if your routine doesn’t include each of these at least once a week, even if you are a beginner, get a new program
- With the variations, you could do just these 7 exercises for years and never get bored
These seven categories of bodybuilding exercises might not seem like much, but they should comprise about 90% of your training if your goal is to build muscle. The remaining 10% can be devoted to “isolation” type exercises that may only involve one joint or not allow you to use much weight. Stick to the basics, eat plenty of quality muscle building foods, and you’ll gain quality muscle in no time.