As a trainer, I’m constantly looking for ways to challenge my Baby Boomer and senior clients to burn more calories and become more efficient in their exercise routines. One approach that people commonly overlook is adding compound exercises into their fitness routines. But just what is are compound exercises, and why are they so effective?
Compound vs Single-Joint
When most people think about resistance training, they picture big biceps or triceps, or strong thighs. But exercises that lead to these results are single-joint or isolated moves, that is, they “work out” a single muscle group. While effective for sculpting shapely muscles, these exercises are not effective in maximizing results.
Compound exercises, on the other hand, engage multiple muscle groups. They address many actions at once and produce numerous benefits. For example, think push-ups (which engage chest muscles, shoulders and triceps) vs just a tricep exercise.
There are several benefits of multi-joint movements when compared to single-joint exercises:
• Increase energy (calorie) expenditure
• Improve muscular coordination
• Elevate the heart rate and pump more blood to the muscles
• Improve muscle balance across joints
• Improve coordination, reaction time and balance
• Allow for a full body workout faster
Examples of Compound Exercises
Here are four of the most common compound exercises and how you can start enjoying their benefits:
Push-ups work the shoulders, triceps, core, chest, back, legs and buns. Start against the wall or, when first moving to the floor, with legs bent in what we used to call a “girl’s push-up.”
Pull-ups strengthen the biceps, back, shoulders, core and grip. Find a gym that has a super band–think of it as an overgrown stretchy strap that assists you when building up to a pull-up.
Squats work thigh muscles, hamstrings, buns, lower back, calves, core and lower legs. Start by bending at the hips and dropping your bootie down into a chair.
Lunges target the abdomen, buns, hips, thighs, hamstrings and calves. Start by holding onto the back of a chair, facing sideways.
To make the most of your workout, perform compound exercises before single-joint ones, and be sure to include both upper and lower body.
For more information about effective ways to burn calories, join my webinar on March 7, 2016, 4:00 pm PST, 7 Truths About Weight Control!