Compound Exercises

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Compound Movements

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In the world of bodybuilding and weightlifting, some of the terminology used can be confusing. For this tip, I'll define the term, "Compound Movement," and explain how it relates to your workouts.

Compound movement refers to an exercise which involves the movement of several joints and muscle groups. Examples of these types of exercises are Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Press, Seated Military Press, and similar variations of these types of exercises. Let's take a look at the deadlift a little closer and explain why it's a compound movement.

During the execution of a deadlift, you start with your knees bent almost like at the bottom position of the squat. As you pull the weight up, you straighten your knees using your quadriceps muscles. You also pull back with your lower back. Secondary muscles hit during the deadlift include the calves (Stabilization), forearms, biceps, traps, and shoulders. The deadlift is the king of all compoud movements. It seems to hit almost every muscle in the body.

So what exercises aren't compound movements? Single joint exercises or "isolation" exercises. These include Concentration Curls, Preacher Curls, Tricep Pressdowns, Leg Extensions, Leg Curls, Flys, etc.

Typically, compound movements will recruit more motor units within the muscle when they are performed. However, both types of exercises are important to include in your workouts to obtain the best possible results.

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