It doesn’t matter whether you’re a weightlifting novice or a Mr. Olympia pro, the fact remains the same – compound exercises are a must. Here’s some expert advice from London personal trainer Jordan Lue.

When used correctly, compound movements can help you pack on more mass in less time, and they’ll help shift some fat in the process. Most of us do them, but do you know what compound exercises really are and why they are so important?

What is a compound exercise?

It’s simple really. A compound exercise is one that involves a movement that engages two or more different joints simultaneously, working multiple muscles and muscle groups as a result.

What makes them so special?

Jordan Lue – a personal trainer at London’s celebrity gym Lomax – believes compound movements are ‘essential’ for long term, sustainable results in the gym.

“They provide a steep learning curve to gain competency with coordination, balance, core stability and strength, which are all primary factors in reaching your goals,” he says.

“Learning to sequence multiple joints at one time via compound exercises yields better muscle development, increased mobility and metabolic cost – inducing fat loss. That’s why they’re imperative to any sound workout plan.”

What effect do compound exercises have on your muscles?

Because the movement involves numerous joints and muscles, the strain of the weight is spread over a far greater area than with isolation exercises, and as such, the body is put under considerably more stress.

“Your body is forced to adapt to the demand placed upon it,” explains Jordan. “When performing a barbell squat, for example, holding the bar in position requires a good amount of shoulder mobility, whilst simultaneously challenging your core strength and stability. When you consider the number of positive variables that one compound movement provides, it shows why compound exercises are so important and why they can provide better results in a shorter time span.”

Are they more beneficial than isolation exercises?

The added stress that compound movements place on the muscles greatly increases the intensity of a workout, forcing the body to work harder and harder; targeting the cardiovascular system and burning some stubborn fat the process.

“The increased heart rate due to the high intensity that performing compound exercises brings coupled with the increased demand for oxygen, will begin to tick the right boxes needed for fat loss,” said Jordan.

But he does warn that you can’t out-train a bad diet.

“You can train as hard as you want, but if you have a poor diet you won’t reach your goals. Matching your hard work and diet is key to sustainable fat loss long term.”

What are the best compound exercises?

According to Jordan there are five main compound movements that should be in everyone’s weekly routine.

“For me, the big five are: Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Military Press and Pull-Ups,” Jordan concluded. “These exercises cover all bases and will bring great results to anybody working out, whether you’re experienced or just starting out.”

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