Compound Exercises: What are they and why they are best for beginners

When it comes to working out, there are two main types of exercises: compound and isolation. Isolation exercises focus on a single muscle group, while compound exercises work multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Compound exercises are a great way to challenge your body and build strength. These types of exercises involve multiple muscle groups working together in order to complete a particular movement pattern. For example, compound exercises might include squats or lunges, which work the legs and core at the same time. Unlike other types of exercises that focus on a single movement or muscle group, compound movements help to engage your entire body, promoting overall fitness and well-being.

Additionally, compound exercises tend to mimic natural movements more closely than other exercise patterns. By mimicking movement patterns that are seen in everyday life, compound exercises help to improve overall flexibility, balance, and coordination.

So whether you’re an experienced athlete or just starting out on your fitness journey, compound exercises can be a great way to get moving and build strength using natural movement patterns.

Compound Exercises by Muscle Group


Compound exercises that work the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

  • Squat
  • Lunges
  • Step-Ups
  • Box Jumps
  • Broad Jumps
  • Squat Jumps


Compound exercises that work the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and forearms.

  • Bicep Curls
  • Triceps Push Down
  • Lat Pull Down
  • Lateral Raises
  • Bent-Over Row
  • Pull-Ups
  • Yoga | Reverse Prayer
  • Yoga | Side Plank


Compound exercises that work the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, erector spinae, rhomboids, teres major, and minor.

  • The Farmer’s Carry
  • I-Y-T Raise
  • Deadlifts
  • TRX Single Arm Row
  • TRX Flys
  • TRX Mid Row
  • Yoga | Cat-Cow
  • Yoga | Downward Dog

Compound exercises that work the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, internal, and external obliques.

  • Single Arm Farmer’s Walk
  • Ab Rollout
  • Medicine Ball Slam
  • Plank
  • Plank Row
  • Bear Crawl
  • Deadbug
  • Deadbug with Medicine Ball

The exercises we’ve shared today are compound exercises, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once. This makes them perfect for beginners, as they can see results faster than with isolated exercises.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of them, feel free to move on to more advanced moves – but always come back to these foundational exercises, as they form the basis for a strong and healthy body.

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