Two (or more) birds with one stone! I love implementing compound exercises in training. Our bodies are, let’s face it, complicated and complex, so why would we train them any differently?
What is a compound exercise?
Compound exercises involve more than one muscle group at the same time, such as a squat, dead-lift, lunge, one arm carry, bench press or jump rope. Exercises that mainly focus on a single muscle or muscle group are called isolation exercises, like a bicep curl. So why do I prefer compound exercises where applicable?
Real Life Applications
So many movements and tasks we demand of our body every single day require lots of different actions and many joints at once. It’s rare in daily life that we isolate a muscle for a task. Even tasks that don’t technically require movement at a joint, still involve that joint and the muscles around it!
For example, carrying groceries in one hand. The carrying arm and shoulder don't move, but this is because of the muscle activity to stabilize the shoulder. As well, our core and obliques are working to keep our body level from the hips up! Not to mention all the work our legs are doing to move us.
By training with compound exercises, we increase our physical preparedness for all the random and difficult things we need our body to do.
Increase Coordination and Balance
When we involve lots of muscles and joints into an exercise, it requires some level of coordinating movements. For example, for a smooth looking squat, we have to change the angle of our knees and our hips at a similar rate, otherwise we can find ourselves in awkward positions. These awkward positions can lead us to doing isolated type exercises, and make movement more difficult.
Doing compound exercises regularly increases coordination in muscle groups being used and creates a smoother movement pattern. It’s amazing how quickly our body adapts the way it moves with a little repetition. As an added bonus, with improving our coordination and strength, balance can be improved as well.
Why waste time?
One of the biggest reasons we have for not exercising is time. So why not save some? By involving more muscle groups in each exercise, we can make every workout more efficient and take less time to be just as valuable. In addition, we can also train muscles a little bit more during each session as they will fatigue less!
Although they may be harder to do initially, they are easy to learn and they will create a balanced, high calorie burning workout! More muscles working, means more work being done, which is a good thing for our muscular and cardiovascular health. So why wait, add compound exercises into your life now!
As a Kinesiologist, I can help ensure you’re doing compound exercises properly, safely and efficiently. We can work together to get your body feeling right for summer, and make all your daily tasks easier, giving you more energy to do the things you love!