7 Compound Exercises Maximize Exercise Benefits and Minimize Time

Keep Workouts Exciting and Fast With Compound Exercises

Compound Exercises
Jeffrey Crease

These days it feels like you can have it all. You can have the career, the family, the adventure, even the rockin' body. Heck, even your options have options! You could work as a sustainable farmer or an office manager. Your family could include children or only fur-babies. Your rockin' body can be built through running, strength training or yoga (or a combo!). With endless choices for fulfillment, happiness and lifestyle, your life is more dynamic and complex than ever.

This notion can be translated to the gym. By incorporating dynamic, complex and explosive movements into your routine, you not only save time, but you stave off boredom and bring new motivation to your regimen. Use these seven compound moves (that target multiple muscle groups at once) in your next workout routine and relish the extra calorie burn (and the time savings!).

You'll Need: Dumbbells

Optional: BOSU Ball and bench

Low Squat with Concentration Curls

Low Squat Concentration Curl
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Get into a low plie Squat.  Perform Concentration Curls without breaking the squat. Complete both arms.

New moves can help create new motivation - the motivation you need to exercise day in and day out, he motivation you thrive off of when you feel strength, efficiency and endurance working together. This first move requires static strength and endurance. A concentration curl which requires a bit more concentration. Instead of sitting on a bench to perform this move, sink into a deep, low squat. Push your comfort level and really get low! It’s going to burn and the lactic acid in your legs builds up, but so will your strength. Hold one dumbbell static on your thigh while the other performs the curl. Switch arms and complete the same number of reps without getting out of squat position. It'll hit your thighs, glutes, and biceps, 3-in-1.

Plank - Hammer Curls

Plank Hammer Curls
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Start in a plank position. Stabilize with one arm while you perform hammer curls with the other. Switch arms. Don't break plank position until both arms are completed.

Sometimes you just don’t have time for abs, so you should incorporate them throughout your workout. Plank-hammer curls are great for core and biceps. It saves you time and gives you a great burn. After grabbing a couple dumbbells, get into plank position. Stabilize on one arm, while you simultaneously perform hammer curls with the other. Without breaking your plank, switch your stabilizing arm and your curling arm and complete the next set of reps. Core, legs, arms - it's a total body, time saving movement. As your muscles get stronger, you can increase your reps. Remember to pick a manageable weight - this will help you maintain stability. 

Plie Squat and Shoulder Press

Plie Squat Shoulder Press
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Get into a plie squat. Pulse up and down while you simultaneously perform shoulder presses.

Squats are amazing and should be included as often as possible. They also enable you to vary your arm position and exercises, so feel free to switch it up. For this particular movement, pulsing is key. Start in a deep plie squat, then choose your arm exercise - you could add shoulder presses, curls or overhead triceps extensions. The trick is to maintain proper form in your arms and your legs as they pulse up and down with each rep. You never lose the strain of the squat. Keep pulsing. Mind over matter. Finish those reps before your legs break position. 

Chest Press With a Leg Lift

Chest Press with Leg Lift
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Get into position for a chest press. Hold your legs out straight, slightly hovering above the bench. As you push up the weights into a chest press, simultaneously perform a leg lift. Lower the weights and your legs together to return to start.

If your day is filled to capacity - if you can’t fit in a longer session - incorporating movements that utilize more than one body part at a time can decrease the length of your workout. A chest press with leg raises works your upper body and entire core simultaneously. Instead of planting your feet on the ground, you hold them out straight, hovering slightly over the bench or floor. As you use your chest and triceps muscles to perform the chest press, simultaneously work your quads and core as you lift your legs straight up. A manageable weight help maintain stability and control during your leg lift. The best part about this move is the variation - you can change your arms to a chest fly, maintain legs in a fixed position hovering above the ground, or even perform scissor kicks while you complete the chest presses. 

Burpee-Row-Bicep Curl

Burpee-Row-Biceps Curl
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Stand straight with weights at your side. Perform as you would when doing a Burpee. Hold the plank position.  Do a row with one arm while the other stabilizes your body. Switch arms. Hop back up into a standing position and perform a Bicep Curl.

No matter how much you love your workouts, there are days when the thought of going to the gym, again, is the last thing in the world you want to do. So, how do you keep it interesting? You switch it up, you change your routine, you add new movements, and you push it harder! This move incorporates your entire body, top to bottom.

Start in a standing position, holding weights at either side. Jump down as if you were doing a burpee, holding your position in plank. Proceed to do a row on each side of your body as you tighten your core, stabilizing yourself with one arm. Once both rows have been completed, pop back up into a standing position. The last move, which is optional (but encouraged), is to add a biceps curl. This too can be changed to fit different levels of fitness and preference. Stick a hammer curl or a shoulder press in at the end instead to keep it interesting.

V-Up with an Outward Curl

V-Sit Biceps Curl
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Start in a v-curl position. Place your elbows tight against your torso with your arms angled outward. Perform a curl while maintaining balance.

If you can’t get enough of arms and abs workouts, this is another great combination. Ideally, performing the exercise on a BOSU Ball works great, but if you don’t have one, the exercise is still possible. Find a good balance, as you would when you do a v-up during an abs session. (You balance so many responsibilities in life, balancing your body should be easy!) If possible, lift your legs straight up, as you keep your chest tall, finding balance on your glutes. If this proves too difficult, allow your toes to touch the ground, with a bend at the knee. Turn your arms outward, keeping your elbows close to your torso. Perform biceps curls with your arms outward. Maintain this balance, tightening your core. The BOSU ball adds an excellent, though slightly more difficult, surface to balance on. Feel your body harness its strength to allow you to perform this move. 

Tip: If you start with your knees bent and toes on the ground, create a goal for yourself and work your way up to a true v-up with your legs straight, pointing toward the ceiling.

Pushups With In and Out Jumps

Pushup with In and Out Jumps
Jeffrey Crease

Synopsis: Perform a pushup. Between each rep, jump in and out with your legs, bringing them to your chest. Continue with the next rep.

Pushups are already a compound exercise that require serious strength throughout your body. However, unless you're doing fast rep pushups you most likely aren’t getting much cardio out of them. If you want to really burn calories this move helps you achieve that goal.

Between each pushup, incorporate an in-and-out jump. Pull the strength from your abs as you jump your legs in toward your chest. Return to the plank position and continue with your next pushup. This extra move can be changed on a whim. For instance, switch it up with mountain climbers, plank jacks, or even changing the position of your arms to adjust the pushup.

Consistently going to the gym is not easy. Life constantly tears you in different directions, and naturally you want to experience and feel every moment. You want to accomplish every task on your to do list. You want to spend quality time with friends and family. You want to take a moment to yourself, where you can reflect, re-energize and regroup. There's no reason you can’t have it all and accomplish everything you want. These seven moves are the perfect way to fit that workout in, despite a crazy schedule. You'll not only cut the duration of your workout, you'll push your body to the next level. Use your whole body, feel it working together, the same way everything else in life has to work together.  

Continue Reading