If by now you don’t know that among the ways to live a healthy life is by eating well and working out, you must be living under a rock. When these two factors are combined with other factors like sleeping enough, drinking a lot of water, and avoiding stress, you are setting yourself up for a good life. On the contrary, being obese or overweight can help reduce your overall quality of life. Being obese or overweight increases your chances of getting many diseases and complications. But there is good news; you don’t have to be overweight forever. As much as the weight can be gained, it can also be lost. One way of achieving that is through working out, and here are the best compound exercises for weight loss.
What are Compound Exercises?
There are two types of exercises when we are clarifying them according to the number of joints and muscles they work. There are isolation exercises or movements and compound exercises (1).
Compound Exercises vs. Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises are exercises that involve only one joint and only train one major muscle. Compound exercises, on the other hand, are exercises that involve one, two, or more joints and train more than one muscle group. Compound exercises are also known as multi-joint movements (5, 1).
These multi-joint exercises are said to be effective when it comes to building muscle strength, increasing muscle mass, helping work out the body faster, improving coordination and balance, helping work out the core, and helping burn off the extra pounds. Examples of these workouts include deadlifts, squats, press-ups, etc.
Compound exercises are said to make one use a greater energy expenditure compared to isolated movements, and this makes them very effective when it comes to burning calories. The fact that they do that and belong to strength training exercises means that they bring the best of both worlds. They help one lose weight and at the same time build strength and muscles; talk about killing two birds with one stone.
One reason people always go for compound movements more than isolated movements is that they target multiple muscle groups with one movement (5). This helps people save so much time yet be effective in the gym. When you think about it, an average person has at most an hour to workout. With this limited time, working out one muscle group at a time means you will take so much time before you can finish working out all of these muscles. If you want to make the most out of your limited gym sessions, you need to incorporate multi-joint movements as they help work double the muscles at a lesser period.
Compound exercises stimulate more muscle groups at a go, as we have already seen. This leads to increased metabolic output for even several hours after a workout. These exercises are for people of any fitness level, age, and gender. However, people who have been advised by an expert to avoid these movements should not try them at all.
Types of Compound Exercises
There are two types of compound exercises. These are (9):
2. Two moves compound exercises: These are two moves brought together to create one exercise. An example would be joining a bicep curl and a shoulder press.
Compound Exercises and Weight Loss
Before we look at the different examples of compound exercises, let’s find out, are compound or isolation exercises best for weight loss? Both are good when it comes to achieving weight loss in their own way.
Compound exercises belong to strength training exercises. This now makes you wonder how strength training exercises aid in weight loss. They can achieve weight loss by building muscles (6). Muscles demand more blood flow and nutrients compared to fat mass. For blood to flow this much, it requires energy that comes from carbs and fats and thus works to burn calories. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn (6). This does not only happen when you are exercising. Muscles have a higher resting metabolism compared to fats. This means that even when you are resting, you are still burning calories. One pound of muscle is said to burn three times as many calories as a pound of fat burns at rest.
A report entitled, “Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health” by the Current Sports Medicine Reports says that several weeks of resistance training would increase one’s resting metabolic rate by about 7% (8). Hence, multi-joint exercises promote weight loss by building muscles.
Other Advantages of Compound Exercises
Apart from promoting weight loss by building muscles, these multi-joint exercises come with other advantages that give more people reasons as to why they should include them in their workout program. With that said, here are some benefits of doing compound exercises.
They train a lot of muscles at once (4). The more muscles you can train at a given time, the better. Firstly, this helps with your overall building of muscles. You can build so many muscles all over your body without having to concentrate on each muscle with a different exercise. The fact that they also work multiple muscles at the same time makes them time-efficient.
They enable one to lift more weight (4). People say you are strong depending on how much weight you can lift. If you use a single muscle to build an object, the object will seem heavier than if you used a lot of muscles. This is how compound exercises help you lift more weight. They involve many different muscles, and when you lift more weight, you get stronger faster. We can then say multi-joint exercises help promote faster strength gain by increasing the amount of weight we can lift.
Compound Exercises And Core
Compound movements also help in training one’s core (7). Strong core results in better balance, better posture, reduced lower back pains, and so on. When you are doing the compound movements, you are usually involving the different core muscles like the abs. When you continuously work these muscles, one can get a strong core and enjoy the advantages of having it.
Compound exercises make it easier for one to perform everyday activities. Everyday activities are activities like walking, lifting shopping bags, climbing a pair of stairs, among others (7). These movements help because they involve functional movements that we do every day. Functional movements require more than a single muscle and a joint at a go, and compound exercises are doing just that (9). A good way to explain this is when you walk; do you think you only involve one muscle group? The answer is no since walking involves different muscles. Thus, constantly doing compound exercises helps your body be in better shape and form to do various real day activities.
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Best Compound Exercises for Weight Loss
Now, since you know almost all there is about these multi-joint movements, here are some of the best compound exercises for weight loss at home that you can try:
This is a well-known exercise that works a person’s hamstring, glutes, back, and almost all other muscles around. Deadlifts are known to cause injury if not done properly. When doing deadlifts, one way to prevent damage is to preserve the right form before starting and while doing the exercise. You should always make sure your back is straight and your knees are bent. Deadlifts are known to train your core and help you build strength.
How to do Deadlifts (10):
- First, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While bending your knees, reach down and grab your dumbbells or barbell, whichever you are using.
- Keep the dumbbell or barbell lifted with your hands slightly closer together than shoulder-width. This is your original starting position.
- The next thing to do is to raise the dumbbells or barbell slowly until they get to the hip level and then bring them back to your shin.
- Do 10 to 12 reps and rest for 30 to 60 seconds between each set. Do up to three sets of this.
Squats generally work the whole body; hence they are a great all-body exercise. They are effective when it comes to building strength, and they also help people tone their bodies. Squats also strengthen one’s bones, ligaments, and tendons. They mostly work the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Apart from that, they also work on the back muscles and core. Squats can be done with or without weights, depending on the person’s preference, fitness level, or advice from an expert.
How to do Squats (10):
- First, stand with your feet wide apart. Make sure your legs are as straight and parallel to each other as they can be. To make it easier, you can turn your feet slightly outwards; not more than fifteen degrees.
- Then with your arms straight out, lower yourself. While lowering yourself, you should make sure your knees are well bent, your bottom is pointing outwards, and you are leaning forward at your waist. A position is almost similar to the one you make while seated.
- You should lower yourself until your hips are parallel to the floor then you can return to the original starting position.
- You should do 20 reps of 3 sets. While doing squats, it is important to always look ahead and try as much as possible to align your knees to your ankles.
This is an exercise that works the chest, shoulders, triceps, and more muscles. It is used to build muscles and strength. It is known for helping people with a bigger chest. Contrary to common misconception, bench presses are not just for men as women can also do them. When doing a bench press, it is important to have your breathing in control. Exhale while you are lifting the bar and inhale while lowering the bar. While you lower the weight, it is good to be cautious, so you should lower it gently. This can be a very dangerous exercise if you are new to it. Always have a spotter or someone who is trained if you are still an amateur.
How to perform a Bench Press (10):
- First, lie flat on a bench. Make sure the bench is straight and firm. You don’t want to have the wrong form or fall.
- Using a medium-width grip, light the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This is your original starting position.
- From the previous position, lower the bar gently until it slightly touches your chest. Hold this position for some seconds.
- Push up the bar to the original starting position as you breathe out. That counts as one repetition. You can do as many reps as you want
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These are yet another example of multi-joint movements. They work the back muscles, triceps, and even the biceps. This is not the easiest exercise to do and is known to build upper body strength. Since it is not a very easy exercise, don’t try it when you are out of shape; you should look to ease yourself into doing pull-ups. A good way of easing yourself into pull-ups is by doing other light exercises that can help you build upper body strength at a rate at which you can handle them. Once you’ve done that, it will be much easier for you to do pull-ups in the right way and end up enjoying the vast benefits they bring.
How to do a Pull-Up (10):
- First, stand straight with your hands fully extended while holding a pull-up bar.
- While keeping your knees bent, pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar.
- Return to the original position and repeat as many times as you can.
The shoulder press works for your shoulders, triceps, biceps, and other muscle groups. Just like most workouts on this list, it is known to help build strength. People who have problems with their lower back should do this exercise while sitting down and should pick up a manageable weight. If not so, please consult an expert before trying this exercise.
How to do a Shoulder Press (10):
- The first thing to do is to pick a barbell and hold it so that your palms are facing in front. The distance between your arms should be wider than the shoulder-width.
- Then slightly bend your knees and place your barbell near your collarbone. Lift the barbell so that it is lying on your chest, and make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Now raise the barbell to your shoulder level and hold it there. It should be right in front yet still above your head. That is your original starting position.
- From the original position, lower the barbell to your collarbone slowly. Do this as you breathe out.
- Raise the barbell back to the original starting position to make one repetition.
This multi-joint movement is known for working out the core and all the muscles associated with it.
How to do a Renegade Row (2):
If you are new to the workout, you should use a lighter weight.
- First, get into the push-up position with your hands on your dumbbells.
- Then tighten your core and slowly row one hand up. The hand should be raised just above your torso. You should make sure to keep your chest parallel to the flow while doing this.
- Lower the raised hand and repeat with the other hand. Do as many repetitions as you can.
While doing a renegade row, avoid rolling your hips or swaying yourself from side to side. This is something most people find themselves doing without even noticing once they get momentum while performing the exercise. Try as much as possible to avoid doing this and always maintain the right form to prevent getting an injury.
Resistance Band Seated Row
This compound movement works on your lats, chest, rhomboids, and triceps. You will need a resistance band to do this workout.
How to do it (3):
- Start by sitting down on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
- Wrap a therapy resistance band underneath the curves of your feet. You should keep your back upright, chest out, and shoulders rolled back.
- Flex your elbows and draw them back. Squeeze your scapulas. Do not lean back.
- Slowly extend your hands and bring them back to the original position.
- You should do three sets of fifteen repetitions.
The Bottom Line
Those are some compound exercises for weight loss you should try. It is important to remember compound exercises are movements that involve more than one joint and muscle group. Compound exercises are part of strength training exercises and help in weight loss by building muscles. Muscles require more calories while at rest compared to fat mass, hence work in burning more calories and promoting weight loss (9). The multi-joint movements come with other benefits like working one’s core, helping improve balance and stability, allowing one to lift heavier weights that can build strength quicker, and promoting real-life activities, among other things. Just like any other type of exercise, you should not try these workouts without consulting an expert. It is also important for you to ease yourself into the exercises to reduce the risk of injuring yourself.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7 COMPOUND EXERCISES THAT WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND BUILD MUSCLE (2019, puregym.com)
- 9 of the Best Dumbbell Compound Exercises to Get You Lean Fast (n.d., yurielkaim.com)
- 18 Resistance Band Workouts – Effective Full Body Exercises For Women (2019, stylecraze.com)
- Are Compound Exercises Better Than Isolation Exercises? (n.d., legionathletics.com)
- ARE COMPOUND EXERCISES GOOD FOR LOSING WEIGHT? (n.d., medium.com)
- If You Want to Lose Body Fat While Strength Training, This Is the Place to Start (2020, livestrong.com)
- Isolation versus compound exercises (2019, nuffieldhealth.com)
- Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health (2012, journals.lww.com)
- The Exercises That’ll Help You Get More Done In Less Time (2016, self.com)
- Weight loss: 5 compound exercises that can help you get body of your dreams (2019, thehealthsite.com)