Compound exercises are the best trend to hit gyms in a very long time. They allow us to get in and out in less time so that we can no longer use the clock as an excuse for not working out.
What is a compound exercise you ask? Compound exercises are those that combine several muscle groups or work two or more sets of joints. Basically, these are whole body, or almost whole body, exercises that give you a greater workout economy.
A classic compound exercise is the squat. The joints used are the hips, knees, and ankles. The muscle groups used are the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, as well as the core. All compound exercises will require engaging the core. And let us not forget the many smaller, stabilizing muscles that compound exercises utilize. By using so many parts of the body, it is easy to see how you can increase your overall fitness more efficiently through compound exercises.
A major benefit of compound exercises is of course, the time factor. Not only can a person get more fitness accomplished in thirty minutes of compound exercise, but it is likely that they are getting a better overall workout than the person who spends thirty working on isometric exercises. Why? Because compound exercises engage all sorts of smaller parts in our bodies, like ligaments, joints, and other connective tissues. All of these need to grow with your muscles so they can be supported as well as possible. Someone once described isometric exercises as putting a Hemi on a bicycle. It won't work. You cannot make stronger muscles until the joints in your body can manage the additional strength and power.
There are some key things to remember about compound exercises. First, they will exhaust you. You probably will not be able to carry on a reasonable conversation as you move through a circuit of compound exercises. Second, you will not be able to do all of the compound exercises right the first time. They are like a dance and you must teach your body how to move through them gracefully and safely. Third, flexibility is important in compound exercises. The full range of motion they require only comes with time. Stretch after every workout while your muscles are still warm to increase your flexibility and reduce your chances of injury.
Finally, if you are new to compound exercises or working with weights, medicine balls, or balance balls, take the time to view the videos on Workout-X® or talk to a professional at your gym. An extra set of eyes on your body positioning and movements could save you from an ineffective workout at the least or serious injury at the worst.