There’s no doubt that getting on a fitness program can be confusing. Everyone has different advice for a variety of approaches and philosophies to get back in shape. Assuming you are looking to reduce body fat and become more aesthetically pleasing, forget all the contraptions, trends, quick fixes and as-seen-on-tv infomercials. There are five exercises that every man should have in their program and they all have something in common – they’re compound exercises.
Compound exercises are exercises that use multiple muscles in a singular moment. Instead of doing a dumbbell bicep curl which essentially focuses on one muscle group, a compound exercise or movement uses multiple muscles for better effectiveness and efficiency in your workout. Essentially, you get more out of your workout in less time.
Here are five movements you should include in your program.
The big daddy of them all, the squat uses multiple muscle groups with each rep. Obviously, you work your quads but active muscles also include you hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back. Because of the stabilization requirements, it is also a great way to strengthen your core.
You mostly see guys using a barbell for bench press, but I’m a bigger fan of the dumbell press for a few reasons. One, I feel it’s safer if you’re working out alone. Two, it better works your stableizer muscles and is easier on your shoulders. Whichever you choose, a bench press works your pecs or chest muscles but also works your delts and triceps as well.
You can do this exercises either standing or sitting. It can also be done with dumbbells or a barbell, but I like using dumbbells for the same reason as using them for bench press. The overhead press obviously works your front, side and rear delts, but it also works your triceps, traps and even your chest.
It’s a good idea that for every front press you do in your workout, you should also do a pulling exercise to ensure muscle balance. A seated row will work the multiple muscles in your back but also require your biceps, rear delts and even your forearms.
Forget what you think about the deadlift. This isn’t just an exercise for powerlifters and Olympians. This is probably the best compound exercise you can do. Using your quads, hamstrings, back, shoulders and forearms, the deadlift is absolutely your best bang for you buck. Just be sure to tackle it slow not going too heavy and using absolutely perfect form.