Fit Tip: Breaking Out Of Your Fitness Comfort Zone - Part II

Posted On Feb 6, 2020 By Amy Kiser Schemper

A fit woman performing a weighted lunge.

Last month we talked about "Getting Out of Your Fitness Comfort Zone." For those of us that are already in a regular workout routine that didn't make the traditional fitness or weight loss resolutions in January, we can still find ways to add variety and mix up variables to push yourself to the next level. Today let’s discuss one of my favorite ways to do this: Compound Exercises.

Simply put, a compound exercise is a movement that works multiple muscle groups at once. So by definition, multi joint exercises like squats, dead lifts and pushups are compound movements. Chances are, you’re already doing many of these in your regular workouts. But beyond that, a compound exercise also refers to putting two different exercises together, such as a lunge and curl, or a plank with a row. If you've ever taken a fitness class of mine, or done one of my online workouts, you know this is my JAM. I love putting things together and getting creative with different combinations. But beyond the fun factor, compound exercises are truly one of the most time efficient and effective ways to workout. A 2017 study comparing compound versus isolation exercises found compound exercises produced greater gains in both strength and VO2 Max (cardiovascular marker).

Sure, traditional isolation exercises that work a single joint and muscle group are beneficial, too. Sometimes people want to focus solely on one area, whether it be to achieve certain strength gains or rehabilitate an injury, And for certain populations such as beginners, isolation movements are often more appropriate. But most of us are looking for "the most bang for our buck," and hope to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time, so compound movements can be a game changer for that extra push.

Why do I love them so much? Here's a few reasons below.

  1. Compound movements save time! The majority of us aren't able to spend an hour working out and splitting muscle groups between days. Compound exercises allow us to work our entire body in a short amount of time.
  2. Compound exercises burn more calories! Working more muscles requires more oxygen, which equals more energy expenditure. The heart pumps harder, burning fat and calories, and giving you cardiovascular benefit as well.
  3. Compound movements improve coordination and balance. Many compound movements mimic our daily movements---that dead lift is me picking up my toddler from the floor, that squat is getting out of your desk chair—making them extremely functional. Working your body in different planes of motions will help us move better overall!
  4. Compound exercises get strength, cardio, and flexibility all in one workout! Need I say more?

Try this compound exercise workout below. Take your time and perform exercises slowly. Be sure you feel comfortable with each exercise individually before putting two together. And have fun! Do 15 repetitions of each, then repeat the entire sequence.

Compound Exercise Workout

  • Bicep curl & Squat
  • Staggered Dead lift & Row
  • Lunge & Overhead Press
  • Bridge & Tricep Press
  • Chest Press & Bicycle
  • Plank Row & Rotation

Shop now and SAVE on BowFlex SelectTech Dumbbells!