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The 12 Best Compound Exercises for Beginners (How to Train Efficiently)

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It’s time to discover the best compound exercises for beginners!

Compound exercises are the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to working out, so I’m super excited you want to learn more about them!

In our 1-on-1 Online Coach Program, we prioritize compound exercises when building workout routines for our clients. We’ll explain why today.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What are compound exercises? (How to train efficiently)
The 5 best compound exercises (bodyweight)
The 7 best compound exercises (barbell)
Start training with compound exercises (Next steps)

Also, if you’re in a hurry, we’ve compiled all our strength and weight training content into one handy guide called (appropriately): Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. 

Grab it for free when you join the Rebellion (that’s us!) below:

Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!
Everything you need to know about getting strong.
Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Alright, cue the music. Let’s do this thang.

What are Compound Exercises?

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Let’s compare “compound exercises” to “isolation exercises”:

Compound exercises require more than one muscle group working together to complete the movement. This replicates the way your body naturally moves.
Isolation exercises more or less train one specific muscle group. For example, the leg extension machine focuses on your quads, so it “isolates” training that muscle.

Front squats would be an example of a compound exercise, because it engages your entire  lower body and core, and quite a bit of your upper body too, as you perform the movement:

As opposed to biceps curls, which more or less just trains your biceps:

As we explain in our Guide to Functional Fitness, whenever possible you want to focus on compound exercises.

Why?

Because in everyday life, you don’t use your muscles in isolation!

When you’re placing luggage in the overhead bin, hoisting a bag of dog food from the floor, or hauling your kid to bed, you’re using your muscle groups together. 

Just like you would with a compound exercise.

Plus, since you’re using multiple muscle groups at once, you’re taxing your body more when training. This can provide more efficient use of your time in the gym. 

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In other words, why do three different exercises when you can just do one?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to working out.

The 5 Best Compound Exercises (Bodyweight)

1) The Push-up: The best exercise you could ever do for yourself when it comes to using your bodyweight for “push muscles.”

Muscles trained with the push-up:

Pectoral 
Triceps
Deltoids
Abs

Here’s our video on how to do a proper push-up:

Easier Variation: Knee Push-up

Tougher Variation: Decline Push-up

2) The Bodyweight Squat: This exercise serves a dual purpose – it is the foundation for building strength AND helps build proper mobility. If you are going to ever do barbell squats, you need to work on hitting proper depth with a bodyweight squat first! 

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Muscles trained with the squat:

Quads
Glutes
Hamstrings
Core muscles

Easier Variation: Assisted Bodyweight Squat

Tougher Variation: Goblet Squat

3) The Inverted Bodyweight Row: Until you can get your first pull-up or chin-up, these exercises are GREAT to start building your pull-muscle strength.

Muscles trained with the inverted row:

All of your back muscles (Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius)
Biceps
Forearm muscles (dorsal, ventral)
Your grip

Easier Variation: Incline Inverted Row

Tougher Variation: Elevated Feet Inverted Row

4) The Pull-up and Chin-up: Once you can support your body’s weight above the bar, the world becomes your playground. No strength training routine should be without pull-up or chin-up work! (Can’t do a pull-up yet? We got you.)

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Muscles trained with the pull-up:

All of your back muscles (Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius)
Biceps
Latissimus dorsi (Lats)
Trapezius (Traps)
Abs
Your grip

Here’s how to perform a proper pull-up:

Easier Variation: Negative Pull-ups

Tougher Variation: Weighted Pull-ups

5) The Bodyweight Dip: As you start to get stronger with push-ups and need to find a way to increase the challenge, consider doing dips.

Warning: these are very advanced, but are incredible strength-building exercises. 

Muscles trained with the dips:

Pectoral 
Triceps
Deltoids
Rhomboid (Back muscles)
Abs

Easier Variation: Assisted Dips

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Tougher Variation: Weighted Dips

These 5 compound exercises will propel you into the world of bodyweight training. 

For more ideas on how to train without a gym, check out The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises (Work Out Anywhere).

Now, it’s barbell time![1]

The 7 Best Compound Exercises (Barbell)

After getting comfortable moving your own bodyweight around, it’s time to start training with barbells!

To up the difficulty with these compound exercises, simply add more weight. 

The fun thing about barbells: you can almost always add more weight (disclaimer: provided you do it safely). 

Here are The Best Barbell Compound Exercises: 

6) The Barbell Squat: Probably the best compound exercise when it comes to building strength and muscle throughout your whole body. 

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Show me somebody who squats heavy and I’ll show you a great physique. This is a MUST.

Here’s how to perform the barbell back squat:

Muscles trained with the barbell squat:

Quads
Glutes
Hamstrings
Core muscles

7) The Barbell Deadlift: Maybe the best exercise of all time. 

It’s certainly the most primal: “pick the weight up off the ground. Done.” 

Here’s how to perform the deadlift:

Muscles trained with the barbell deadlift:

Glutes
Erectors (Spinal muscle)
Hamstrings
Pretty much every muscle in your body

8) The Barbell Romanian Deadlift: Think of this as the top half of a conventional deadlift (imagine you’re a “drinking bird” bending over at the waist):

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Here are step-by-step instructions on how to perform the Romanian deadlift:

Muscles trained with the Romanian deadlift:

Hamstrings
Glutes
Erectors (Spinal muscle)
Rhomboid (Back muscles)

9) The Barbell Overhead Press: Press a barbell above your head. 

Muscles trained with the overhead press:

Pectoral 
Triceps
Deltoids
Rhomboid (Back muscles)
Abs

All the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and arms are engaged in order for you to lift the weight over your head. As a bonus, you need to really flex and brace your core, which gets those muscles working too.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to perform the overhead press:

10) The Barbell Bench Press: Lie on a bench, and lower a barbell until it almost touches your chest. Pause, and then press it back up towards the sky. 

Repeat! And get strong. 

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Here are step-by-step instructions on how to perform the bench press:

Muscles trained with the benchpress:

Pectoral 
Triceps
Deltoids
Rhomboid (Back muscles)
Abs
Pretty much every muscle in your upper-body

11) The Barbell Bent-Over Row: Bend your torso over and hoist a barbell up.

Muscles trained with the bent-over row:

All of your back muscles (Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius)
Biceps
Forearm muscles (dorsal, ventral)
Your grip

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to perform the bent-over row:

12) The Barbell Lunge: Have the bar across your upper back and step out with your right leg. Lower your hips until your back leg’s knee almost touches the ground. Explode up and back by pushing off with your front leg. Repeat on your other side.

Muscles trained with the barbell lunge:

Quads
Glutes
Hamstrings
Your core (as you stabilize yourself and the weight)

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Note: The above might be tough if gyms are closed around you. If that’s so, here’s how to build a gym at home (using household equipment).

Start Performing the Best Compound Exercises (Next Steps)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: commit to trying ONE of these compound movements in the next week. Use 20 seconds of courage, recruit a friend who has lifted or trained before, and try your best. 

We all start somewhere! 

Speaking of starting out…

Have you yet to do ANY of these compound exercises?

Always start out with bodyweight moves and make sure your form is correct!

If it’s a barbell movement, use a broomstick (or PVC Pipe). 

When it comes to movements like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, bench press, etc. – your form is crucial.  Develop good habits with lighter weight and you will save yourself months of frustration later and will protect you from injury.

If you’re struggling with certain elements of a movement, don’t get frustrated! Just understand that you’ll have areas in which you can improve.

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When I started, I really liked practicing all of the movements at home because I could watch a video online at the same time as I was watching myself do it in a mirror.

Film yourself and compare it to our videos, or post it to the form check section of the Nerd Fitness Forums.

Still uncomfortable with the movements after that? Look around at some local strength and conditioning gyms and see if you could hire a coach (here’s how to find a good trainer) for one or two sessions just to go over the basic movements (or consider working with an online coach).

No matter what path you take, the most important thing you can do: START NOW!

Don’t overthink it. Just pick a compound exercise and learn how to do it. We can add more exercises to your routine down the road.

Want a little help getting going? The perfect next step to start your strength training journey!

You got it. 

Option #1) If you want a coach in your pocket, who can do video form checks, provide feedback, and adjust your workouts based on your progress, check out our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program! 

I’ve had an online coach since 2015 and it’s changed my life. You can learn more by clicking on the box below: 

Option #2) If you want a daily prompt for doing compound exercises at home, check out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

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Plus, you get to build an awesome superhero in the process!

Try your free trial right here:

Option #3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign-up below and receive our free guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It includes step-by-step instructions for the Best Compound Exercises covered in today’s guide. 

Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!
Everything you need to know about getting strong.
Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Alright, enough from me. Your turn:

Do you agree with my list of best compound exercises?

Am I missing any?

Any tips or tricks for a newbie just getting started?

Let me know in the comments!

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-Steve

PS: Make sure you check out the rest of our Strength Training 101 series:

5 Best Strength Training Workout Routines For Beginners
How Much Weight Should I Be Lifting?
Finding the Right Gym

###

GIF Source: Weighted Dips, Biceps Curl, Will Ferrell,

Photo Source: lightfieldstudios © 123RF.com, Workout, LEGO bench press,  Lance Cpl. Tayler P. Schwamb, 101, 102, 103

Footnotes    ( returns to text)

My favorite time.

The post Blog first appeared on Nerd Fitness.

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Exercise Programs

Gym Equipments For Home – Basic Workout Equipment For Home Use

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The multifunctional home gym set is the ultimate solution to your fitness needs. It comes with all the necessary equipment you need to exercise at home, including weight plates (PVC rigid shells filled with concrete), a 4 ft. long plain rod, and two fourteen inch dumbbells. It will help you strengthen your entire body while giving you a total-body workout. There are many benefits of owning a home gym set.

The most attractive feature of this home gym is its ease of use and portability. It can be used by multiple people at the same time. Because of its multi-user capacity, this home gym is worth the price. The gym equipments are easily assembled and can be installed by oneself. The prices are reasonable as well. Some gym equipments come with free accessories, such as a sweat belt, a skipping rope, and a bag.

For those who don't have a lot of space, a multi-functional home gym may be your best option. It can fit in about 16 square feet of space, and supports over twenty-five different exercises. Some of the most popular exercises are leg extension, bicep curl, and arm curl. You can even use it to train your entire family. Whether you're trying to lose weight or tone your body, you'll find the right home gym equipment for you.

The exercise machines you choose should also be comfortable for you to use. If you're not comfortable with an exercise machine, you might lose interest and quit your workouts early. Be sure to test out several different positions before you make a decision. You may want to consider a gym equipments for home set that has ergonomic designs for a variety of different body types. You can then compare the prices from different places to find the best deal.

The TRX All-in-One System is a versatile piece of exercise equipment that allows you to perform a variety of upper and lower-body exercises. Installed on a door, it can help you exercise even if you don't have much space. You can also make your own workout machines using simple equipments. All you need are some resistance loop bands, a bar, and a step platform.

A home gym set is a great choice for busy people who want to do their exercises from the comfort of their own home. Choosing a home gym set will give you the flexibility and the freedom to work out whenever you want. This option is both affordable and convenient. You can choose a machine that meets your needs and fits in your home. There are many different options available, so don't get overwhelmed. Make sure to seek professional help when buying a home gym set.

The size and design of a home gym set are crucial factors when choosing one. Consider the space available and the size and weight of the machine before purchasing. Some gyms are simple, single station machines that are suitable for beginners and professionals alike. Single station machines are also affordable and widely available, so don't be afraid to buy one. However, it's best to avoid the single-station gyms and opt for multi-station home gyms that will allow you to exercise more muscles at once.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://onlineexerciseprograms.com/exercise-programs/celebrity-workout-secrets/

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Exercise Programs

Celebrity Workout Secrets

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If you're looking for the latest celeb workout routine, you've come to the right place. From Madonna to Cameron Diaz, there are plenty of celebrity workouts that can help you get in shape. But which one should you try? In this article, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite celebrity workouts. Try out these exercises and see how they can help you get in shape, too! Whether you're an amateur fitness freak or a fitness nut, there's an exercise routine for you.

A celebrity workout routine can be deeply entertaining or creepy, depending on the type of celebrity and the specific role they play. While celebrities have several benefits over regular people, such as flexible schedules, access to personal trainers, and genetics, they still have to put in time and effort to stay fit. Despite their seemingly perfect bodies, even the most popular celebrities have to work out regularly to keep them in shape and stay healthy. In addition to sticking to their workout regimen, celebrities must also make sure they eat well and stretch regularly to prevent injury.

Some celebrities also prefer to do their workouts with a partner. Victoria Beckham and husband David Beckham love to work out together. Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have filmed a workout together during the upcoming coronavirus pandemic to motivate others. Lea Michele is another celeb workout enthusiast, taking part in a popular cycling class with fellow celeb Becca Tobin. These celebrities are just a few of the many celebrities who swear by their own workout routines.

If you want to try a celebrity workout without paying the expensive price tag, you can check out Barry's Bootcamp. This popular fitness studio first opened its doors in California in 1998 and has since expanded to multiple locations in the US, Norway, and England. Its calorie-burning routines combine cardio, strength training, and resistance bands. These celebrities are all famous for working out hard, and their workouts have been featured on countless TV shows, websites, and apps.

Hollywood actors also need to look the part. As much as memorizing lines and delivering them with gusto, they need to look the part. Celebrity workouts can be a great way to get in shape and feel good about yourself! Try out one of these celebrity workouts today! Your body will thank you! So don't be afraid to try out the workout regime that is right for you! They all have great bodies, so why not follow them?

Hip-shaking Bollywood dance classes are another great way to get into shape. Many celebs enjoy this fun workout! Beyonce and Rihanna are fans of the pop-inspired dance routine, and both are known to work their abs in this way. Beyonce even takes belly dancing classes. You can get in shape like them in a short amount of time. And remember, they don't stop working out even when they're not on stage.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://onlineexerciseprograms.com/exercise-programs/what-is-pvolve-reviews-choosing-the-best-exercise-balls/

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What Is Pvolve Reviews? – Choosing the Best Exercise Balls

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Exercise balls are a versatile piece of gym equipment. They can be used for light workouts or as desk chairs. Choose the size according to your height. People below five feet should choose the smaller version, while people over six feet should choose the larger ones. The height of your desk can also be a factor in selecting the appropriate size. Ideally, the ball should be between five and seven inches high, depending on your height. Listed below are some tips for choosing the best exercise ball for you.

A durable and affordable exercise ball is the Wacces Fitness and Exercise Ball. It is made of heavy-duty PVC and ships with an instruction manual. The Relin ball is rated for 2,000 pounds. It can be used for most bodyweight exercises. It comes with a two-year warranty, making it an excellent choice. It also comes with anti-slip stripes. Choosing the best exercise ball depends on your budget, goals, and personal preferences.

For a more challenging workout, check out the REP Fitness V2 Slam Ball. This ball allows you to work your arms and core while ensuring comfort and stability. It also has waterproof service for added safety. You can find a variety of different sizes and weights to suit your needs. When comparing exercise balls, make sure you look for a ball that will accommodate your workout needs. And remember that there are a number of different types available on the market, so make sure you read the reviews before making a purchase.

Another important factor is the weight capacity of the exercise ball. While the static weight capacity of an exercise ball is around 2,000 pounds, its actual weight capacity is usually 250 to 300 pounds. However, you should make sure that the exercise ball you buy is heavy enough to offer resistance without compromising your balance. If you want to buy a yoga ball, make sure you choose one with a higher weight capacity. You can also buy a smaller ball if you want to do yoga exercises on it.

Pregnant women should look for a pregnancy-specific exercise ball. These pregnancy-friendly exercise balls are made for women of all shapes and sizes. The pregnancy ball also comes with a DVD that features trainer-led exercises. And since they're shaped to accommodate the growing baby inside, it's a safe option for working out while pregnant. With the correct weight capacity, the baby will be safe, and you will enjoy a lifetime of fun workouts.

An exercise ball that's heavy enough to support 2000 pounds can also be durable and versatile. These balls allow for cross-training and can strengthen muscles and joints. For beginners, physio balls can be dangerous, and they're best used with an instructor. But they're not for everyone. You need to find the right exercise ball for you. The above tips will help you decide which one to buy. There are plenty of exercise balls on the market, so take your time in your search.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://onlineexerciseprograms.com/exercise-programs/at-home-workout-plans-for-men-the-best-gym-routine-for-beginners/

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