Full Body Compound Exercises for Women

Sporty woman doing push-ups in the park
A woman is doing a push up outside. (Image: Zoran Zeremski/iStock/Getty Images)

Compound exercises using dumbbells are excellent for women who need to maximize time in the gym, working multiple joints and muscles at one time. These exercises are especially beneficial because women tend to have weak joint and postural stabilizing muscles. Include these exercises regularly in your routine, using weight machines once in a while to reduce your risk of injury due to poor posture and weak joints.

Squats with Shoulder Press

Compound exercises such as squats with shoulder presses burn plenty of calories compared to doing just squats because you are using more muscle groups. This means your heart must also work harder to circulate oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, so your heart beats faster. Perform this exercise by holding a dumbbell in each hand and standing with your feet at shoulder-width distance. Then, bring the dumbbells to the level of your ears, just above your shoulders; keep your elbows out to the sides. Next, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Finish the movement by simultaneously standing up and pressing the dumbbells directly over your head; squat back down as you lower the dumbbells to the level of your ears. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions.

Pushups with V-Ups

This exercise must be done on a wood or tile floor. Prepare for this exercise by opening up two small hand towels and placing them next to each other on the floor. First, assume the pushup position with the toes of each foot on one towel and your hands on the floor. Then, do a push-up by lowering your body and spreading your legs apart into a “V.” Next, push your body up as you bring your legs together, sucking your navel toward you spine to draw your buttocks toward the ceiling. Your body should be in a “V” shape. Repeat the exercise by lowering back down into a pushup with your legs spread apart. Complete as many repetitions as you can, working your way to 10 reps.

Lunges with Lateral Raises

Lunges work your entire leg while lateral raises focus on your deltoids. Your abdominals and lower back muscles are also engaged to keep your trunk erect. Perform this exercise holding a dumbbell in each hand. Step forward with your right foot as you do a lateral raise with both arms. Next, stand back up as you lower your arms. Repeat this exercise with your left leg and another lateral raise. Complete 10 total steps with 10 total lateral raises per set.

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