Compound exercises are resistance, or weight training, exercises that work several muscle groups in one set. Compound exercises use free weights and body weight and focus on the target as well as the core. A compound exercise may be one single exercise, such as the push-up, that works several muscle groups, or a sequence of exercises performed with no rest between. Proper form is essential for getting the most benefit out of the exercise and preventing injury. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.
Lunge with Dumbbell Curl and Overhead Press
This compound sequence targets the upper body, such as the shoulders, biceps and triceps, and the lower body, such as the hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. It also activates the abs and lower back to keep your trunk stable and maintain proper form. Use weights that are heavy enough that you can do up to 10 repetitions of each exercise, but no more than 12. Stand with your feet at hip-width, your shoulders back and down and your lower back neutral. Step your right foot forward and drop into a lunge -- your knee should be over your ankle and your right thigh parallel to the floor. Curl the dumbbells to shoulder-height, and then press them overhead. Step forward with your left foot to come out of the lunge and lower the arms back into the curl then return your hands to your sides. Repeat five times on each leg.
Squat and Front Raise
This sequence targets the shoulders and upper back as well as the lower body and core. Use weights that are heavy enough so that you can do up to 10 repetitions of each exercise, but no more than 12. Stand with your feet at hip-width, your shoulders back and down and your lower back neutral. Stick your behind out and lower into a squat, as if sitting in a chair. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor and your knees in line with your ankles. Raise the dumbbells in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor. Lower your arms and rise back up to standing. Repeat five times.
Jumping Mountain Climbers
This sequence targets the shoulders and upper back as well as the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Stand with your feet at hip-width, your shoulders back and down and your lower back neutral. Squat down and place both hands on the floor, in front of your feet. Extend your right leg back, then extend your left leg back while bringing your right leg forward -- as if running in place. Repeat three times, and then bring both feet back to the squat position and jump up in one explosive motion. Repeat the entire sequence five times.
This exercise targets the biceps, triceps and upper back as well as the shoulders, pectorals and core. Lie face down with your hands beneath your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor. Engage your abs and press yourself up, until your arms are fully extended. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your body should make a straight line. Walk your right hand and right leg one step to the right and follow with your left. Lower yourself back down to the floor. Push up again, and walk back to the left. Repeat five times on each side.
- "Personal Trainer Manual"; American Council on Exercise; 2000
- "Physiology of Sport and Exercise"; Jack H. Wilmore, Ph.D., and David L. Costill, Ph.D.;1999