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The only compound exercises needed to build muscle

Updated: May 14


If you're looking to build size and strength in the gym, you need to know the basic compound movements. These movements are considered the fundamentals of bodybuilding and work the majority of your bodies muscles when performing them.


Before we go into these exercises, we should be asking, what are compound movements? Compound movements are any exercise where you’re using more than one muscle group at the same time. It's import to include these in your weekly workouts. Here we're going to go through the fundamental bodybuilding movements, and why everyone should be doing them.


Squats


Squats are one of the main compound movements for growing size and strength in the legs. With this exercise, you can add a lot of weight, and this is down to the fact that most of the weight is placed on the top of your back.


For anyone who has done squats, will know, there not easy! If you're just starting in your weight lifting career, then you should be including these into your weekly work out.


The main muscle hit during this exercise are the following:

  • Quadriceps

  • Glutes

  • Adductor Magnus (Inner Thigh)

  • Hamstrings

  • Erectors

  • Abdominals and Obliques

  • Upper Back and Lats

  • Calves


Deadlifts


This exercise is great for building muscle and strength. This movement is an all-rounder for size and will build both upper and lower strength and size. Not only that, but this also focuses on your core and your gripping strength. That's not to say that this movement can go wrong sometimes if the right precautions are not taken. The technique is everything, not only for this exercise but for all.


Once you have the technique cracked, they prevent more injuries to the body than cause them.


The main muscles hit during this exercise are the following:

  • Quadriceps

  • Glutes

  • Adductor Magnus (Inner Thigh)

  • Hamstrings

  • Erectors

  • Lats

  • Traps

  • Rhomboids

  • Abdominals & Obliques


Pull-Ups


Pull-ups are one of the best ways to target your back. They're also excellent at improving your overall fitness levels too. The fact that they take your entire body weight to be able to do just one rep makes it an ideal compound movement to add to your weekly workout. They also build up your grip strength, which is essential for many movements in the gym.


The main muscles hit during this exercise are the following:

  • Lats

  • Biceps

  • Trapezius

  • Deltoids

  • Teres Major, Infraspinatus & Teres Minor


Push-ups


This is a type of movement everyone should include in their workout, even the more advanced type of bodybuilding. This is because the pull up is similar to the push up in the fact that it uses all of your body weight to push off from the ground.


Push-ups are considered a quick and efficient exercise for building strength. You can perform this exercise practically anywhere because you don’t require any equipment.

The main muscles hit during this exercise are the following:

  • Chest including, pectoralis major and minor

  • Shoulders, including the deltoid major and minor

  • Back Muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapeze muscles

  • Biceps

  • Triceps


Shoulder Press

Shoulder press which is also known as the military press is an excellent movement which can be performed with both a bar or dumbells. This doesn't only work all 3 shoulder heads but also tightens the core and the lats. Standing for the exercise is your best bet, just make sure you're using the right technique and start on lightweight.


The main muscles hit during this exercise are the following:

  • Anterior Deltoid - All 3 Heads.

  • Trapezius

  • Triceps

  • Core and lower back


Bent over row


If you find that the deadlift is just not for you, don't worry the bent-over row can still add a lot of size and strength to your back. Just like the shoulder press, this movement can be done with both a barbell and dumbbell. Make sure to start light with the weight as you don't want to injure your lower back.


The main muscles hit during this exercise are the following:

  • Latissimus Dorsi (back)

  • Posterior Shoulder, Rhomboids, Scapular Stabilizers

  • Forearms and Biceps (grip and some pulling)

  • Spinal Erectors

  • Hamstrings and Glutes (positioning)


Be sure to include these in your weekly workouts to reap the benefits these movements offer.

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