Compound Moves

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to eat healthy and workout?

So does everyone else… including me.

As the saying goes; If it’s important, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.

Squats 2Being short on time is not an excuse anymore. The steady state cardio myth has been debunked and HIITs are shown to be just as effective. Crossfitters’ WODs take about 20 minutes in total and build muscle like crazy. Circuits can be just as effective if not more than a regular weight session and take half the time. All of these things give you great bang for your buck, but for me… compound moves are king.

What do I mean compound moves?

A compound move is defined differently by different people, but what I am talking about are you “standard” movements that involve multiple muscle groups. Some of my favourites are (in order of my love for them):

  1. Deadlifts (Stiff leg, regular, sumo, you name it, I love it!)

    Regular deadlift (bending the knees)

    Regular deadlift (bending the knees)

  2. Back squats (with variations on stances)
  3. Lunges
  4. Pull Ups
  5. Kettlebell swings (these are not standard moves, but I love them and they work your whole posterior chain)
  6. Thrusters
  7. Push Ups

There are others, but my points is that all of these work multiple muscle groups in ONE exercise. If you only have 20 minutes to workout do you think you should do the hamstring curl machine or deadlifts?

Instead of working on individual muscle groups and having to do 14 different exercises to get a full workout in, just do a couple of these and you are done. Look how many muscles the following workout will target and I guarantee you can do 3 sets of 10 reps of these in less than 30 minutes. The bolded muscle group is the main muscle being worked.

Stiff leg deadliftsHamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back

Wide Stance SquatsQuadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Adductors

Stiff Leg deadlift


LungesQuadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves

Kettlebell Swings – HamstringsGlutes, Quadriceps, Lower Back, Upper back, Deltoids

Now that is one efficient workout! Be forwarned though, the tradeoff for less time is higher intensity. Doing squats and deadlifts is harder, more tiring and requires more effort that doing leg extensions until the cows come home. But there is nothing more rewarding (for me… maybe I’m crazy) than lifting some insanely heavy weight in a real life movement… because I guarantee you will have to pick something up off the ground, but when do you ever have a weight strapped to your ankle and you are only allowed to use you  quad in a kicking motion?





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