This month in our October Fitness Kickstart the theme is Compound It because compound movements are so important if you want to do more in less time.
Focusing on compound lifts is one of the most effective ways to build strength in a limited amount of time. This not only saves time, but can also allow you to lift heavier weights, increase calorie-burn, improve core strength and stability, and build muscle. Large, full body movements get your heart rate up, while keeping the whole workout low impact.
What Is a Compound Exercise?
A compound exercise engages several different muscle groups to perform a lift or movement. For example, a squat engages the muscles in your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. Compound exercises are a form of functional strength training, building strength for the motions you perform every day, such as pressing, pushing, lifting and twisting.
What Are Some Great Compound Exercises?
The best compound lifts are variations of squats, deadlifts, chest presses (or bench presses), shoulder presses (overhead presses), back rows and pull ups. These exercises can be done in a conventional gym with equipment such as benches and barbells, or at home using dumbbells.
For at home options you could do dumbbell thrusters, push ups, high plank rows (shown in video above), pullovers with leg drops, or a lateral lunge to a back row (shown in video above) for example.
Are Compound Exercises or Isolation Exercises Better?
Both compound exercises and more targeted isolation exercises have benefits and should be included in a well-rounded training program. Compound exercises are more efficient however, meaning you can often lift heavier weights and burn more calories. Whereas isolation exercises (or exercises that focus on a specific muscle group, such as tricep exercises, back exercises or chest exercises) can improve muscle definition and address muscle imbalances or weaknesses and they have their place too.
I recommend doing at least 2 strength training workouts weekly if you’re a woman approaching or in perimenopause (more if you can) to help combat muscle and bone losses each decade.
Blessings to you in health,
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