What are compound exercises

What are compound exercises

Let us know about what are compound exercises. Regular exercise is very important for a healthy life. You can use many methods to stay fit . If you want , you can add regular walking, running , cycling or swimming to the routine or you can maintain fitness while playing your favorite sport. For those looking for good health and fitness, gym can be a great solution. Here you can do many physical activities that will help you keep fit.

According to the instructions of the National Health Portal of India, every person must exercise for about 150 minutes in a week. However, even this time is not enough to exercise every part of the body. The simplest and best solution to this problem is ‘Compound Exercise’. Through this exercise, multiple muscle groups can be targeted at the same time. You can do these exercises at home, in the park or in the gym.

If you see, the exercises being used at present are inspired from various sports, military training exercises, which aim at the overall development of the body. In such a situation, by including compound exercises in the routine, not only will you be able to improve your fitness fast, but also you will be able to make your daily exercise interesting and enjoyable.

Benefits of compound exercises

What are compound exercises
What are compound exercises

Compound is an exercise in which several muscle groups are exercised at the same time. Beginner-level bodyweight exercises and some weight-training exercises also fall into the category of compound exercises, because during these exercises many muscles are exercised at the same time. These exercises can have many benefits some of which are as follows.

Saves Time : Using compound exercises can save you time in addition to many benefits. In gyms, when you target a single muscle group, it takes more than an hour, whereas with compound exercises, you can work more muscle groups in less time.

More Freedom to Lift Weight : Compound lift exercises can generate tension in many muscles of the body at the same time. For example, by lifting more weight in this exercise, you will be able to activate many muscles in the same amount of time, compared to the amount of weight lifted in the dumbbell curl exercise done only for the muscles of the hand.

Muscle growth : Since you can lift heavier weights during compound exercises, muscle growth is greater than other exercises.

Burn more calories : Targeting different muscle groups in the body at the same time can burn more calories in a set amount of time. You can also get the added benefit of increased muscle mass and metabolism by lifting weights during these exercises .

Strengthens the heart : You can also increase the capacity of the heart and lungs by doing compound exercises in a relatively short period of time compared to aerobic exercises .

Increase in flexibility : While doing a compound exercise, many joints of the body also get exercised. This increases the strength of knee, elbow, shoulder and hip joints and brings flexibility in the body.

Better coordination: By involving multiple parts of the body in a single exercise, coordination of body movements also remains good. It improves eye-hand co-ordination and maintains balance and stability in the body.

Types of compound exercises

Any exercise during which more than one muscle group comes into active state at the same time is a compound exercise. Broadly speaking, compound exercises can be done with or without weights. Both have their own benefits.

Compound bodyweight exercises

People who are not able to go to the gym are also advised to do aerobic training along with weight training two to three days a week. Such people can also do bodyweight exercises. Three sets of 10-12 reps can be done for these exercises. Some such bodyweight exercises are given below, by doing which you can get maximum benefits.


One of the most effective bodyweight exercises for many body parts is push-ups . Although there are many variations of this exercise, one of the simplest forms of exercise remains a favorite among fitness lovers even today. Since this exercise can be done anywhere, its popularity has continued to grow.

Which muscles are affected

chest, triceps, back and core

how to do this exercise

  • Lie on your stomach on the floor with your legs straight. Place your palms on either side of the shoulders.
  • Now, applying pressure on the ground, lift the body upwards until both the elbows become absolutely straight.
  • Now only your hands and toes should be on the ground. Keep the whole body in a straight line from head to feet.
  • Now bring the body down by bending your elbows, there should be no touch with the floor. This is a rap.


This is one of the hardest bodyweight exercises. During pull-ups, you have to lift your body upward with the help of hands only. During this exercise, tension is generated in many muscles of the body at the same time, hence it is an excellent compound exercise. This exercise can be done with many variations. Even the lowest level practice of this exercise is quite difficult, hence one needs to be very careful while doing it.

Which muscles are affected

chest, back, arms and core

In which stages to do exercise

  • Stand beneath a parallel or pull-up bar held overhead.
  • Now hold the bar by making a good grip with your hands. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Using force on the hands, pull the body upwards and touch the chest with the bar.
  • Don’t jump with a jerk to reach the top. Move the body upward slowly.
  • Now slowly come back down to the starting position. This is a rap.


Dips are one such exercise that tests your ability to lift your body off the ground. All the muscles of the upper body can be increased through dips exercises. For this exercise, you will need two parallel bars, with the help of which the body can be pulled upwards.

Which muscles are affected

shoulders, triceps, chest and core

Exercise in which steps

  • Stand straight and place both your hands on the parallel bars.
  • With emphasis on the hands, lift the body upwards from the ground. To create balance, you can bend your knees backwards.
  • Now bend the elbows and bring the body downwards. Your shoulders should reach the level of the bar when you reach down. This is a rap.


Squats are a very effective exercise in strengthening and increasing the muscles of the lower body including the back.

Which muscles are affected:

glutes, hips, low back, core, thighs and calves

how to do this exercise

  • Stand straight with your feet at a distance of shoulder width.
  • Extend your arms in front of you for balance. Try to sit with your back straight and knees bent.
  • While coming down, make such a position as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep the thighs parallel to the floor. Stay like this for a second or two.
  • Now return to the starting position by straightening the legs by applying pressure from the heels. This is a rap.

brapee exercise

This exercise is quite challenging, but it is also very helpful in activating almost all the major muscle groups of the body. It does not pose much difficulty for people doing high intensity workouts like CrossFit or HIIT .

Which muscles does it affect

Arms, chest, legs, hips and glutes.

how to do this exercise

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Keeping your hands on the floor in front of you, bend your knees slightly.
  • Take a plank or push-up position with your feet back .
  • Bending your hands slightly, try to bring your chest very close to the floor.
  • Now bring the body to the squat position by bringing your feet forward.
  • Now come back to the standing position by jumping up and spreading your hands upwards. This is a rap.

lunges exercise

Like squats, lunges are also a great compound exercise for all the muscles of the lower body. It is very effective in strengthening the muscles of hips, core and glutes and promoting physical balance. If you want, you can do lunges with or without weight.

Which muscles are affected:

Lower back, abs , hips, glutes, hamstrings, front thighs and calves

how to do this exercise

  • Stand straight keeping the hands on the waist. Now take a step forward with your right leg. Go only so far that there is no problem in the exercise.
  • Keeping the back straight, bend the knees and move the hips down. Look at the front.
  • Do not let your back foot touch the ground. Make sure that both the knees are bent at right angles.
  • Now return to the previous position by bringing your right leg back. Repeat this exercise with the left leg as well. This is a rap.

Compound exercises with weights

The days of performing exercises for different muscle groups on different days are becoming obsolete. Such exercises also take a lot of time. As an alternative to these exercises, weighted compound exercises are fast becoming the first choice of people. This is because these exercises can target multiple muscles at the same time, which not only has a greater impact on the muscles, but also saves time. Here we will tell you about weighted compound exercises, which you can benefit from by including them in your daily exercises. Like compound bodyweight exercises, these exercises can also be done in 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

bench press exercise

During this exercise, dumbbell or barbell has to be lifted while lying on a bench. All variations of the bench press, be it flat bench press, incline or decline, all fall under compound exercises. All these exercises target multiple muscles of the body at a time.

Which muscles are affected

Chest, Shoulders, Triceps and Core

In which steps to do this exercise

  • First of all, lie down on your back on a flat bench. You can put a pillow under the head.
  • Make a good grip on the barbell by keeping the hands slightly wider than the shoulders.
  • Now straightening your arms, lift the barbell from the rack and bring it towards the top of your chest.
  • Now slowly bring the barbell down by bending your elbows and touch it to the middle of your chest.
  • Now push it upwards by straightening your elbows. Allow your back to lift off the bench throughout the entire exercise. This is a rap.

shoulder press exercise

This exercise is also known as overhead or military press. The shoulder press is a great compound exercise, especially when done standing. Lifting weight above the head is not so easy. During this exercise your shoulders, triceps and core muscles are exercised simultaneously.

Which muscles are affected

shoulders, triceps and core

Exercise in which steps

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly hip-width apart.
  • Hold the barbell parallel to the shoulders in the same manner as during a front squat.
  • Now straighten your elbows and lift the barbell upwards and stay in the same position for one to two seconds. Keep your back straight during the entire exercise.
  • Slowly lower the barbell back up to shoulder level. This is a rap.


This exercise may look difficult, but it is a great exercise for working many muscles of the body at the same time. While doing this, many muscles of the body are working simultaneously, which improves stability and body posture by strengthening the core muscles. During this, tension arises in all the muscles of the back of the body.

It is very important to be careful while doing deadlift exercises, because if it is not done correctly, there can be a risk of workout injury . Start this exercise with light weights and increase the weight only after you get used to it.

Which muscles are affected

back, hips, glutes, thighs and core

In which steps to do this exercise

  • First of all, stand with your feet slightly wider than the width of your hips.
  • Bend your knees while keeping your back straight. Now make a grip on the barbell placed in front and move the hips back.
  • Look forward, keep your back straight and keep your feet planted on the ground as you lift the barbell.
  • Now stand straight without bending the back or elbows. In this position the barbell should be in front of your thighs. Stay like this for a second or two.
  • Slowly bend the knees and move the hips back and come back to the previous position. This is a rap.

barbell hip thrusts

The barbell hip thrust is a great compound exercise that has become popular recently. It is considered very beneficial for the muscles of the back of the body like back, glutes and hamstrings . Comparatively, if the deadlift is not done correctly, the hamstring muscles do not show much activity. Also, all its pressure falls on the front of the thighs. However, the full impact of hip thrusts falls on the glutes and hamstring muscles. It is considered better to take the help of a trainer for this exercise.

Which muscles are affected

back, core, hips, hamstrings and quadriceps

In which steps to do this exercise

  • Lie down on a flat bench. Meaning your back and shoulders should remain on the bench, while keep your feet on the ground.
  • Now keeping a pillow on your pelvis, place the barbell on it. Maintain a good grip with both hands.
  • Push upward with the help of your glutes and hips. Stay in this position for a few seconds. Then come back to the original position. This is a rap.

Farmers Carry

During this exercise, by carrying weighted dumbbells in both hands, tension can be generated in many muscles of the body at the same time.

Which muscles are affected

shoulders, back, arms, glutes and legs

In which steps to do this exercise

  • Stand straight, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in both hands.
  • Now walk quickly from one end of the room to the other. During this, keep your back straight, keep the entire weight on your shoulders and look towards the front.
  • Keep walking for at least 30 seconds or as much as you can. Repeat this process at least three times.


Squats and shoulder presses are considered difficult exercises. Thrusters are twice as difficult as these exercises. In this exercise, you can take advantage of both squats and shoulder press. This exercise can be done with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell.

Which muscles are affected

shoulders, triceps, back, core, hips and legs

how to do this exercise

  • Stand straight with your chest forward, knees slightly bent. Take a squat position with the barbell resting on your shoulders.
  • Now bend your knees and push your hips back like a front squat and keep your back straight. Keep the thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Now using sharp force on the feet, straighten the knees and come upwards.
  • During this exercise, also do shoulder press exercise by taking the hands above the head. This is a rap.

Compound exercises ke Tips and precautions

Compound exercises are very beneficial and time saving. However, any kind of haste or wrong technique during these exercises can create problems for you. To avoid injury or strain during exercise, keep the following things in mind.

  • Before doing any exercise, it is very important to understand its steps thoroughly. More caution is needed during complex exercises like thrusters or hip thrusters. Instead of doing complex steps of such exercises with weights in the beginning, practice them without weights. Practice them with weights only after you understand all the steps of the exercise thoroughly and get used to them.
  • Such compound exercises, especially those that use weights, should be done only under the supervision of trainers. So that you do not make any mistakes in technique during exercise and there is no fear of injury.

conclusion –

Compound exercises are of higher intensity than other exercises, resulting in the burning of more calories. These also promote metabolism and muscle growth. Compound exercises target multiple joints and muscle groups at the same time. This is why these exercises are effective and time-saving.

Some exercises in compound exercises are also of the initial level, which can be done without any equipment. Bodyweight versions of these exercises are examples of this. Weighted compound exercises, on the other hand, are relatively high intensity, which helps in increasing your strength and fitness. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these exercises should be done in the right way as well as with full care. Along with exercise, it is also very important to have a balanced diet and give complete rest to the body.