Do you want to know the most effective way to increase strength, burn fat and build muscle? While there’s no one secret to reaching your fitness goals, there are ways to make sure your training is as effective as it can be.
To get the most out of your workouts, include compound exercises. This type of exercise uses more of the muscles in your body during each movement. The more muscle you use, the more energy you burn and the more muscle mass you can gain — getting you the results you want faster!
What is a compound exercise?
There are two different types of exercises you can do in the gym: compound exercises and isolation exercises.
Compound exercises recruit multiple muscle groups and use several joints to complete a movement, while isolation exercises focus on strengthening a single muscle group and generally involve a single joint in the movement.
Compound exercises tend to mimic natural movement. Think of how your body moves when you squat, run, climb or lift something. Isolation exercises tend to focus on a very specific movement for a limb or joint in one direction, and only target a single muscle or muscle group, like a preacher curl.
Benefits of compound exercises
During a compound exercise, you teach your muscles to move in a functional and synchronised way, training both the muscle tissue and the nervous system to work together effectively to complete the movement. Compound exercises that reproduce everyday movements can help you to improve coordination, reaction time and balance.
This, in turn, can help to reduce your risk of injury during sports where you run or change direction rapidly, or during daily activities where you lift and carry objects. As your fitness and the rate of perceived exertion for each compound exercise improves over time, your strength and endurance will improve. You’ll build core strength and be able to carry heavier loads.
Recruiting multiple muscles for a compound exercise means you can get a full-body workout with just a few moves. You’ll also maintain a higher heart rate throughout the workout, giving you cardiovascular benefits with strength training.
Finally, recruiting more muscle groups in a movement means you’ll burn more energy during your workout — so make sure you’re complimenting your training with a healthy eating plan!
5 Compound exercises for the gym
You can build strength in the gym with these compound exercises — in some programs they may be referred to as the ‘primary movement’. No matter which exercises you are doing, make sure that you are comfortable using the gym equipment before you begin.
A squat is something you do every day — when you sit and stand when you need to lift something or jump high. Here’s how to do a barbell squat in the high bar position:
1. Set the barbell on the squat rack at approximately chin height. With a resistance band looped around your lower thighs, position yourself underneath the bar so that it rests comfortably on your shoulders. Place both hands on the bar in an overhand grip (palms facing away from your body) slightly wider than your shoulders.
Standing underneath the barbell with it resting on your shoulders, stand up tall and release it from the squat rack. Take a small step backwards and plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart.
2. Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains within a 45- to a 90-degree angle to your hips.
3. Exhale. Push through the heels of your feet and extend your legs to return to the starting position.
Repeat, before returning the bar to a secure position on the squat rack.
The bench press helps you to build fundamental upper body strength. It works the chest, shoulders, triceps, and it’s one of the most effective upper body exercises. Here’s how to do it: 1. Place a barbell on the rack and add any additional weight in the form of weight plates, ensuring that the amount of weight is even on both ends of the bar. Lie down on the bench press so that your head is beneath the barbell. Plant your feet on the floor on either side of the bench, or on the bench itself — whichever is most comfortable. Place both hands on the barbell in an overhand grip (palms facing away from you), slightly wider than your shoulders. Push the bar away from you to unrack the barbell and extend your elbows to hold the barbell directly in front of your chest. This is your starting position. 2. Bend your elbows outwards to lower the barbell towards you until the bar touches your chest. 3. Extend your elbows and push the barbell away from your chest to return to the starting position. Repeat, before returning the barbell to a secure position on the rack.
Use this exercise to build strength for any overhead lifting — whether it’s storing overhead cabin luggage on your next flight or practising your pull-ups.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Safely pick up a barbell. Holding a barbell with an overhand (palms facing towards your body) directly in front of your body, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Bring the barbell forward and upwards into your chest. Your palms should now be facing away from your body. This is your starting position.
2. Using the muscles in your shoulders and arms, extend your elbows to press the barbell directly above your head. Your arms should be in line with your ears on either side of your head.
3. Bend your elbows to lower the barbell into the starting position. Repeat.
Strengthen your legs and back with the conventional deadlift.
Here’s how to do a deadlift:
1. Holding a barbell with both hands with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) in front of your legs, plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart. Draw your shoulder blades down and back to push your chest out slightly. This is your starting position.
2. Inhale. Bending from the hips only, allow the barbell to run along the length of your thighs. Once the bar reaches your knees, bend your knees and allow the bar to run halfway down the length of your shins. Ensure that you maintain a proud chest and that your head is an extension of your spine. You should feel the tension in your hamstrings (back of your legs).
3. As you reach halfway down your shins, exhale. Push through your heels and, using your glutes and hamstrings, extend your knees and hips to return to the starting position. Ensure that the barbell remains in contact with your legs.
C5 Training Space, Punawale
Work on building strength or losing weight, it all happens at C5 Training Space. We are committed to being a gym for everybody. Drop-in for a quick workout at C5 Training Space, Punawale or join us as a member. We offer a selection of affordable options for you to come in and enjoy our clean, fully-equipped facility and assistance from our professional training staff.
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