Muscle Building Compounds - the best muscle building exercises

Compound exercises 

muscle building compounds

Exercise experts do not agree much, but all trainers and researchers agreed on the effectiveness of compound exercises, whether in gaining strength or building muscle mass.

And most of the research and studies “if not all” confirm that compound exercises are the best muscle-building exercises, but also the fastest.

So what is the secret that makes these exercises in particular the main focus on which all effective and powerful training programs are built?

What are compound exercises?

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups simultaneously.

The bench press is a great example of this, as it activates many muscles of the upper body, including the chest muscles, shoulder muscles, and triceps.

It even "lightly" activates parts of the upper back and legs to stabilize the body on the bench during the exercise.

In contrast to an exercise such as flying “or lightening with dumbbells,” as some call it, which isolates the chest muscle from the shoulder muscles and the triceps.

Benefits of compound exercises

1- Build muscle in a short time

Since it activates more than one muscle, or more than one muscle group at times, this increases the total muscle mass gained.

2- Lifting heavier weights

By looking at a compound exercise such as the bench press, you will find that the shoulder and triceps muscles help your chest muscles in performing the exercise. For this reason, you can lift heavier weights compared to other exercises, such as lightening with dumbbells, for example.

3- Burning fat

Compound exercises require more effort while performing the movements because they activate a lot of muscles, and thus stimulate the body to burn more calories, including fat, to provide the energy needed for training.

4- Stimulating the body to produce more testosterone

Testosterone is a great hormone for men that not only builds muscle, but is also associated with improved cardiovascular health in men and increased cognitive function.

Research confirms that compound exercises are more effective in producing testosterone than isolation exercises. source

5- Save time in the gym

Sometimes we find ourselves busy with important matters and do not find enough time to exercise, and this problem causes the loss of months of effort.

Therefore, compound exercises are a great solution to this problem, as you can perform full body exercises in just one session, for only two or three days a week.

Isolation exercises

In no case should isolation exercises be neglected in your training program.

Yes, compound exercises are the best, but isolation exercises have an important role in building muscles, and their importance is as follows.

1- Strengthening weak and delayed muscles

Although compound exercises activate more than one muscle, not all muscles work with the same degree of strength.

To overcome this problem, it is recommended to use isolation exercises to target the delayed muscle or weak muscle more specifically.

2- The ability to perform types of retarded combinations

I mean here by different types of groups, for example:

Superset: Performing two different exercises “whether for the same muscle or for different muscles” without resting between them

Giant set: Performing several different exercises “4-5 exercises for the same muscle group without resting between them or resting for very short periods.

For example, “targeting all parts of the shoulder in the front, side and back, respectively.”

This feature is unique to isolation exercises, and you cannot vary between groups during compound exercises. Due to the great effort that requires rest after each exercise.

3- Better adjust your training program

Relying on compound exercises completely may cause neglect of some muscles that do not help in the exercise significantly.

For example, the lateral shoulder muscle should be targeted in particular.

Therefore, some isolation exercises must be included in the exercise schedule to work on these muscles individually.

The best compound exercises for each muscle

There are a lot of compound exercises, and the following list includes 10 of the best and most effective ones.

1- squatting

muscle building compounds

combo exercises with weights

Back squat exercise

It is not just a compound exercise, but rather a full-body exercise, as research indicates that squats activate about 200 “large and small” muscles in the body.

Basic muscles: front leg muscles - hamstrings - buttocks.

Auxiliary muscles: the back leg muscles - the lower back - the calves - even the abdomen is activated for balance.

2- Deadlift

muscle building compounds

One of the best compound exercises because it activates the entire back of the body.

The main muscles: the back leg muscles - the lumbar

Auxiliary muscles: activate most parts of the back of the body, including the “upper and lower back” – calves – back shoulder – traps

3- Rowing Bar - Bentover Row

muscle building compounds

One of the strongest back exercises and activates most of the upper parts of the back.

Core muscles: mid back

Auxiliary muscles: groin – trapezius – back shoulder – biceps – forearm

4- Pullup

muscle building compounds

compound resistance band exercises

This exercise has several benefits in developing the entire back muscles. Try it yourself and see how your back muscles will develop

Primary muscles: the hamstring

Auxiliary muscles: most parts of the back - traps - back shoulder - biceps - forearm

5- Barbell Bench Press

muscle building compounds

sandbag compound exercises

It is one of the oldest and most popular upper body exercises, and its performance requires activating a large number of muscles. Learn more about this exercise here

Core muscles: the pectoral muscles (upper, middle and lower)

Auxiliary muscles: the front shoulder muscles - the triceps - “even the back shoulder and the legs work in order to stabilize the body and balance.”

6- Diving

muscle building compounds

compound dumbbell

Compound exercises - parallel

It is also known as the parallel and is considered one of the best exercises to strengthen the arms and nerves and works on several muscles at the same time.

Primary muscles: chest muscles

Auxiliary muscles: anterior shoulder and triceps

7- Standing front shoulder press - military press

muscle building compounds

arm compound workout

The best shoulder exercise ever that fully activates the different parts of the shoulder

Main muscles: front shoulder

Auxiliary muscles: the side and back shoulder – the triceps – “the back and legs also work in small degrees to achieve balance and help push.”

8- Lunges

muscle building compounds

muscle building compounds

This exercise effectively targets the lower body, combining the benefits of both squats and deadlifts.

Basic muscles: front leg muscles - and back too

Auxiliary muscles: lumbar – lower back – calves – hamstrings

9- Barbell trapeze exercise - Shrug

muscle building compounds

As an exercise that requires lifting heavy weights, it needs to activate a large number of muscles.

Primary muscles: trapezes

Auxiliary muscles: upper back – forearm – fist – “and the back shoulder in a simple way.”

10- Bicycle Crunches

muscle building compounds

arm compound workout

Yes, compound abdominal exercise. This exercise works to strengthen more than 10 muscles

Core muscles: the lower, upper and lateral muscles at the same time

Auxiliary muscles: the lumbar region - the front and lower legs - the buttocks - and the neck muscles.


- Try to mix both compound and isolation exercises into your training program for maximum benefit

- Prioritize compound exercises.. and use isolation exercises to strengthen weak or inactive muscles in training.

Compound exercises are considered advanced exercises. Learn to perform the movements first, then increase the weights gradually to avoid injury

Do you have any questions? .. We are happy to answer all your questions in the comments

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