There’s only a select few people who actually enjoy spending time in gyms, so we’re going to concentrate on the minimum effective dose here, in that what is the maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time or the biggest bang for your buck!
Enter compound movements, and to explain that term it means movements that move more than one joint. As an example think of a squat movement vs a leg extension. The primary joints moving in the squat are your ankle, knee and hip, this consequently means there are also more muscles acting upon those joints to produce that movement.
So now we know how to act upon more than one joint we can go about choosing specific exercises with this in mind and categorise different movements.
We’re going to categorise most movements into a simple system that’s used by coaches the World over, there’s a bit of debate about who actually came up with this categorisation but suffice to say the vast majority of exercises fit into these headings…
Upper Horizontal Push
Upper Horizontal Pull
Upper Vertical Push
Upper Vertical Pull
Choosing the exercise variations of the above is likely going to be pretty individual. If you’re a beginner it’s perfectly reasonable to do machine versions of all the above to build your confidence and strength before moving to dumbbells or barbells, providing your technique is up to scratch of course.
We’ll discuss programming those exercises in the next article but a very simple workout structure could simply be picking 3 exercises, one exercise for the legs, one push and one pull, and make them into a circuit, pick different exercises the following day.
As an example:
Legs: Squat X 10reps
Push: Pushups X 10reps
Row: TRX/Suspension trainer row X 12reps
In the above example, pretty much all body parts are covered in 3 compound movements and keeping it simple gives you a pretty effective workout. We’ll delve into more detail on this in the next part on programming.
As usual if you’ve any questions please drop us a line.