A workout regimen full of compound exercises is the ultimate lazy girl (or guy) workout. If you're constantly strapped for time and looking to master the art of doing the least for the most benefit (guilty!), compound movements — ones that target more than one muscle at a time — deserve a place in your fitness arsenal.
While compound exercises aren't necessarily easy to perform, they're incredibly efficient, cutting down on your total gym time. And yes! There are moves that target your booty while strengthening your arms. Just grab a pair of dumbbells and get to work with these five moves from Aleisha Fetters, certified strength and conditioning specialist.
1. Bulgarian Split Squat With Hammer Curl
- Stand tall with a narrow stance and hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length, palms facing your thighs.
- Place your right foot on a low box or bench behind you, balancing your weight in your front foot.
- From here, bend your knees and lower toward the floor as far as comfortable, keeping your front knee behind the toes.
- Simultaneously, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your ribs and avoiding swinging your arms.
- Pause at the bottom of the split squat, then press through both legs to raise back up to start, lowering the dumbbells.
- Keep your shoulder blades down and back, Fetters says. Contract your core muscles throughout and focus on pressing through the heel of the standing foot to really engage your glutes.
- If you want to fire up the glutes even more, increase the distance between your front and back foot. This will make the exercise more glute (rather than quad) dominant.
- If you begin to feel knee pain, you may need to adjust your form, says Fetters. Hinge forward at the hips and lean your torso forward as far as is comfortable (or until your shoulders alight over the middle of your front foot). This can help you maintain a neutral spine.
2. Staggered Deadlift to Bent-Over Row
- Stand with your legs staggered with one leg slightly behind the other. Maintain your weight in the front leg and hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand.
- Hinge at your hips and push your butt back, allowing your front knee to bend slightly. With a flat back and straight neck, lower the weights toward the ground, keeping them close to the body.
- At the bottom of the deadlift, row the weights up toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your elbows at your sides.
- Lower the weights back to arms length and press through the front heel and push the hips forward to return to standing.
Throughout this move, keep your core braced, says Fetters. Keep your ribs tucked and avoid arching your lower back as you lower the weights. And make sure to perform this exercise on both sides!
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3. Heel-Elevated Hip Thrust Decline Press
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent, heels on the edge of a bench or box about hip-width apart. (Optional: Place a small resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.)
- Keeping a flat back, contract your glutes and push through the heels to raise your hips until your torso forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold here as you perform the chest press.
- Hold the dumbbells straight up over your shoulders, palms turned diagonally toward the feet.
- Lower the weights toward your chest outside the shoulders until your arms nearly touch the ground.
Keep your hips raised the whole time. You should feel this move in your glutes, not your hamstrings, says Fetters. If you do begin to feel the move in your hamstrings, try positioning your feet closer to your hips. On the other hand, if you feel the exercise more in your quads than your glutes, try scooting your feet further from your hips.
4. Single-Leg Heel-Elevated Hip Thrust Skull Crusher
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and the heel of one foot on the edge of a box or bench. Hover the other foot above the bench or keep the knee tucked toward the chest (this might be more comfortable).
- With a flat back, squeeze your glutes, push through your heel and raise your hips until your torso forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Keep your hips even, square and raised throughout the exercise.
- With dumbbells in each hand, straighten the arms up over your chest.
- Bend at the elbows and lower your upper arm down toward the sides of your head, keeping your lower arm in place. Allow the upper arm to move past perpendicular to get a deeper stretch in the triceps.
- Perform half of your reps and then switch legs. After you perform the second half, switch back.
5. Reverse Lunge to Overhead Press
- Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your thighs.
- Take a large step back with one foot and bend your hips and knees to lower toward the ground. Keep the toes of your front foot behind the toes and try to maintain most of your weight in the front foot.
- As you lower into the lunge, curl the weights up you your shoulders and then press them over head, squeezing the glutes and contracting the core to keep the back safe.
- Pause at the bottom of the motion for a moment, then drive through your front heel to return to standing, lowering the weights as you do so.
If you feel discomfort in your front knee, Fetters recommends taking a bigger step back to keep the front knee from shooting too far forward. You can also lean forward slightly to reduce stress on your knees and quads.