If you’re a regular gym goer, chances are you have a similar weekly routine that you live and breathe by. Well it’s time to break the cycle.

Chest and tri Mondays, leg day Wednesdays, back and bi Fridays – Sound familiar? The thing is, workouts that isolate each muscle group and work it individually aren’t an effective use of your time. Instead, all the bench pressing and the cable flyes, and all the supersets and burnouts can be replaced with eight simple compound movements that work the whole body. Compound exercises are more effective as your body works in natural movement patterns as opposed to single, isolated muscle movements. So, in essence, instead of spending hours working each muscle group individually, you’re working them all at once. And as you’re working so many muscles at once, workouts that feature dynamic movements are much more intense, kicking your metabolism into overdrive and burning more fat than your normal workout ever could.

So here they are, the super eight:

Barbell Back Squat

Deadlift

Farmers Walk

Box Jumps

Overhead Press

Push-up

Pull-up

Barbell Rollout

Try working in rotations of five exercises per session, two sets of 12 reps for each exercise (double for the push-ups), three to four times a week. A big part of a dynamic workout is intensity so you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Do as much as you can without letting the intensity drop.

Barbell Back Squat

Barbell Back Squat Barbell Back Squat2

The back squat is the go-to exercise when it comes building tree trunk legs. It’s easy to perform and its effectiveness is tried and tested. Working all the muscles in the upper legs as well as the stabilising trunk muscles and the core, the back squat will always have a place when it comes to legs. On top of this the back squat helps with balance and explosive power. But be careful. With the back squat, technique is everything. Any exercise that hinges at the hip opens up the possibility of lower back injuries if not performed properly.

How to:

  • Load up the barbell in the squat rack and stand facing it.
  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip and position it between your traps and rear shoulder muscles.
  • With your feet a shoulder width apart lift the bar off the rack.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Keeping your chin up, squat down – bending at the hip – until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  • (As if you are trying to sit on an imaginary chair)
  • Using your legs and core, drive upwards bringing your hips forward and locking out your knees.
  • Repeat as desired.

Deadlift

Deadlift Deadlift2

The deadlift is another classic exercise for legs. Similar to the back squat, deadlifts work the upper legs, but place more emphasis on the lower back at the same time. Again technique is paramount. Poor form can easily lead to lower back or knee injuries.

How to:

  • Place the barbell on the floor and load it up.
  • Place your feet underneath the bar, about a hips width apart, so that the bar is directly over your shoelaces.
  • Keeping your chest up and back as straight as possible, bend at the hips until your shins meet the barbell.
  • With your arms hanging outside your knees, grip the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip.
  • (You may wish to use lifting straps as an aid)
  • This is your starting position.
  • Keeping your chest up and the bar close to your body, pull the bar off the ground while bringing your hips forward and your shoulders back.
  • Continue until your legs lock out.
  • With the same form, slowly lower the bar back to the ground, bending at the hip first and then the knee until the bar is back on the ground.
  • Repeat as desired.

Farmer’s Walk

Farmer’s Walk

The farmer’s walk, while relatively primitive, is great at burning fat and building muscle. It is the definition of a dynamic exercise. It puts the majority of the muscles in your body under serious tension – forearms to grip, biceps and triceps to stabilise, upper back and core to maintain posture, legs to walk under the weight, and the beating your cardiovascular system takes is pretty significant too.

How to:

  • Grab a set of heavy dumbbells and stand up.
  • (You may wish to use chalk or straps to aid your grip)
  • Let the weights hang naturally by your side ensuring you maintain good posture and keep your shoulders neutral and back – similar to how you would finish a deadlift.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Now start walking while keeping your head and chest up and your shoulders back.
  • Continue until you feel yourself starting to fail then rest – this is one set.
  • Repeat as desired.

Box Jumps

Box Jumps Box Jumps2

Box jumps are a great full-body exercise that helps to build explosive power. In what is a very dynamic movement, the legs, abs, and arms all play a part in the process. Your legs are the driving force, abs the pulling force, and the arms help with momentum. You’ll definitely feel the burn after two sets of these.

How to:

  • Stand at the foot of a box or table – measured to your liking – with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Drop quickly to a quarter squat before pushing your hips forward, swinging your arms for momentum, and driving your feet through the floor to propel yourself up onto the box.
  • Drop back down to your starting position.
  • Repeat as desired.

Overhead Press

Overhead Press Overhead Press2

The overhead press is a great exercise to build the shoulders and increase your balance. While targeting the traps, delts, and arms, the overhead press also works your midsection. Because there is no bench to help support the weight, the overhead press relies on the stabiliser muscles in the abs and lower back to do this. The press also helps expose and target any shortcomings in upper-body strength that other, more isolated, exercises wouldn’t. There’s no hiding place for any upper body muscles in with this exercise.

How to:

  • Load up the barbell in the squat rack and stand facing it.
  • Keeping your forearms vertical, grab the bar with an overhand grip and with the weight going through the heel of your palms.
  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, lift the bar off the rack so it rests comfortably just above your chest.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Keeping your midsection tight and back straight, press the bar up, while moving your head slightly forward into the hole created by your arms, until they are fully extended directly above your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position, controlling it the whole way.
  • Repeat as desired.

Top Tip: If this becomes too easy try changing to a military press. The only difference here is your feet are together – like a soldier standing to attention. Staying stable just got a whole lot harder.

Push-Up

Push-up Push-up2

The push-up is an age-old classic that often gets overlooked because of it’s simplicity. The push-up not only works the chest, shoulders and arms, but it also engages the whole body, especially the core. High reps and low recovery time will send the intensity of your workout through the roof. Not only will it kill your chest but it’ll also work your abs and get your heart rate up.

How to:

  • Lie flat on the floor, chest down, with your hands on the ground a shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your body rigid and your feet together, push off the ground until your arms are fully extended.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Making sure you keep a straight line running from your shoulders to your heels, slowly lower your chest towards the ground, pause for a second just before your chest meets the ground, then, push your body back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat as desired.

Top Tip: If this becomes too easy, amp up your push-ups by wearing a weighted vest or placing a weight plate on your back.

Pull-Up

Pull-up Pull-up2

The pull-up is one of the simplest yet most challenging exercises. Similar to the chin up in appearance, the pull-up’s overhand grip works the biceps and upper back and helps create the V-shaped torso.

How to:

  • Grab the pull-up bar with a wide grip and your palms facing forward making sure your arms are fully extended and your core is tight to stop any swinging.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Keeping your abs tight, pull through your shoulder blades until your chin is above the bar.
  • Lower yourself back down to the starting position engaging your core to control the momentum.
  • Repeat as desired.

Barbell Rollout

Barbell Rollout Barbell Rollout2

The barbell rollout targets your core like no other. At full extension you can feel the tension from your abs, through your shoulders and right up to your forearms. The barbell rollout forces your abs and lower back to work in unison – a key characteristic of good balance.

How to:

  • Place the barbell on the ground and put two circular weight plates on it.
  • Get on your knees, grip the bar with an overhand shoulder-width grip and pull the bar into your thighs.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Keeping your back straight and core tight, roll the bar out until you are at full stretch.
  • Maintaining your straight back, use your abs and lower back to pull the bar back into your thighs.
  • Repeat as desired.

Top Tip: If this becomes too easy why not try starting from a standing position. This really separates the men from the boys.

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