Over the years I’ve tried dozens of workouts, and every conceivable exercise you can think of.
From split routines of arms, shoulders, chest legs and abs; to bodyweight exercises; followed a month or so later with a kettle bell routine; then a dumbbell program etc. etc.
No workout program or particular routine has ever made a significant difference to my physique.
Sure I’ve been able to improve my overall fitness and increase my muscle mass a little, but not to the degree I’ve always wanted.
Since I started focusing almost entirely on performing compound exercises, my physique, body-fat and overall strength have notably improved.
I totally believe that anyone can achieve similar results, simply by sticking to compound exercises and nothing else.
However, I understand there are plenty of other exercises you can perform, and not everyone wants, (or are able to) stick with just compound exercises.
By combining other isolation exercises, you can mix and match a routine to develop your own workout that suits your gym, or home, or both.
The primary focus though, is on compound exercises, which provide the greatest benefits – and really the only resistance exercises you ever need to perform if you want to build muscle.
If you want to go straight to the 5 best compound exercises click here.
Let’s face it, everyone has got their own times when they can workout.
You just need to decide on what those days are going to be, and stick to a routine.
For the average guy, no matter if you are a beginner or seasoned lifter, working out using compound lifts 2 or 3 times a week, is about right.
You might even only need to workout once a week.
Ideally you’ll have at least one rest day in between workouts with 2 or 3 days in a row, once a week to recover.
These exercises require a lot of exertion, and your muscles need time to recover.
Recovery time is when your muscles grow – not during a workout.
I would also suggest you concentrate on just 3 (max 4) different exercises each workout.
How many sets and reps you perform is entirely up to you.
After a month or so, you’ll find your preferred numbers that you’re comfortable with.
I like the weekly 3 X 3 workout:
Three compound exercises, 3 sets of each, 5-8 reps per set.
Example Workout Routine
Monday: Bench Press, Squats, Deadlift
Wednesday: Squats, Pull-ups, Dips
Friday: Squats, Deadlift, Dips
Add, remove or replace exercises and days as you want.
The beauty of this routine is that it’s easy to remember, you won’t spend hours in the gym, and it provides you with enough recovery time. Trust me, you’ll need it!
Common Mistakes Peforming Compound Exercises
Lifting Too Heavy
One of the biggest mistakes we make is to go too big, too heavy, too much. Ring a bell?
This is the fastest way to getting injured and burning out.
If you’re just starting out on a compound routine, start with a light weight and perfect the move.
As we get older, staying ‘injury free’ is one of the biggest challenges we face when lifting or exercising.
Listen to your body when you perform these exercises.
If you think adding another 10kg’s onto your deadlift might be a tad too much..don’t do it!
I say again..DO NOT RISK IT!
You’re better off performing the same exercise with the same weight, but much slower.
If that’s still easy enough to lift, then wait a week and
add think about adding some more weight then.
Poor Form / Posture
The fastest way you’ll injure yourself is by performing an exercise using bad form.
We’re only going to be using a handful of compound moves, so spend time learning how to perform them correctly.
It will be the best time investment you could possibly make.
Never substitute perfect form for more weight or more reps.
One of the hardest aspects of performing a compound exercise routine is to limit your time in the gym.
When you start noticing improvements, the temptation is to do more.
Unfortunately this is the worst thing you can do.
As the weight you lift increases and your exertion levels go up, the more rest you’ll need.
Over training is a big issue that you need to keep an eye on.
It can actually reverse your progress and can result in a number of serious health conditions.
Stick to working out 2 or 3 times a week.
And unless you’re only training once a week, don’t be tempted to perform 5 or more compound exercises in one workout.
The hardest part of working out, is often just getting to the gym in the first place!
If you know you’re only going to be doing 3 exercises, there’s less chance you’ll make up excuses for not going.
The sure fire way to increasing muscle mass, in the quickest way possible, is to stick to a routine.
Having a simple to follow workout routine, involving just a few exercises will help you do that.
However, don’t beat yourself up if you do miss a a couple of sessions.
Just pick up from where you left off and get back into it.
A few extra days off recovering might even help with your overall progress.
Again, listen to your body. If you’re starting to feel tired all the time, change your routine.
Perhaps just do 2 sets instead of 3.
Significant gains in strength and size can still occur with just 1 workout a week, as long as you’re eating right.
The Best 5 Compound Exercises
Here are your weapons of choice!
Master them, and they will reward you with the body you’ve always wanted.
Click on an exercise to learn more about it, how to perform it using correct form, and tips to improve your performance.
The deadlift involves almost every muscle in the body and is ideal to strengthen your lower back and core. Read More
|2. Pull Ups
Pull ups are one of the toughest compound exercises you can do.
However, it will build you a strong back, shoulders and arms. Read More
3. Barbell Bench Press
The most popular of gym exercises, and still the most effective for developing all of the muscles in your chest. Read More
4. Barbell Leg Squat
Free standing barbell squats (not using the Smiths machine) build your quads and all your leg muscles.
It is also a great exercise for your lower back and core. Read More
|5. Chest Dips
Chest dips are a good alternative to the barbell bench press and works the entire upper body muscles.
Just make sure you do chest dips and NOT tricep dips. There’s a difference! Read More