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What should the Foundation of Your Workout be?

Anyone can walk into a gym and see who has done their homework when it comes to training, and those who are still going by what the magazines say they should do. If you pay attention to the articles you read, many magazines will “recycle” the same movements. If you are a true student of the sport, you will take more time learning as you do lifting. Many wonder how they can get more muscle quick and get stronger faster. The answer to that is compound movements.


What is a compound movement? A compound movement is any movement that involves multiple joints and muscles. Some common compound movements include:


  • Pullups
  • Dips
  • Military Press
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press


These are just a few of course. As you read this list, how many of them are a part of your workout arsenal? For maximum muscle building and strength, unless you are physically unable and restricted, these all should be performed throughout the week in your workouts.


Let me explain why.


As stated, compound movements work multiple joints and muscles. This in return allows more muscles to be trained in a shorter amount of time. Pressed for time? This is one of many reasons why compound movements are great. Also, compound movement work muscles that contribute to the body’s overall strength and structure, even its functional ability. Let us look at deadlifts. Deadlifts are the ultimate compound movement because it works every joint and muscle pretty much in the body. It’s main emphasis however is on the “posterior chain” of muscles. These muscles are the glutes, hamstrings, and back. All are huge muscle groups. By making those muscles stronger, can you see how this will promote overall strength to the rest of the body?


When we train those bigger muscle groups that compound movements focus on, we also promote growth in the rest of your body. How? When we engage and “recruit” more muscle mass along with a challenging “motor pattern” as it is called, we promote a huge metabolic stress on the body which is what leads to the releasing of more testosterone, which is the king of muscle-building hormones (because it promotes protein synthesis). Remember this as well, the more muscle your body has a higher potential for burning fat. So, compound movements help you build more muscle which in return will make you lose more body fat.


One must take caution though. Compound movements do require precaution and “ego checking”. One can easily get hurt if they try to do too much too soon. Work in slowly and get comfortable with the movement. Remember, you are working multiple muscles and joints so it will not take much for you to feel the exercise working. Get your form down first, then as you get more and more comfortable, slowly work up as the body allows.


There is a running joke in many gyms that the squat racks are used now more so for bicep curls. Nothing builds a body like putting a bar on your back, picking a bar up from the ground, lowering a bar to your chest, or pulling yourself to say “hi” to the bar. Set yourself a part and do what many are not doing these days. Work hard at getting what many do not have. That is a well-balanced, strong, lean muscular build. Make compound movements the foundation of your workouts. 


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