Favorite Compound Exercises for Adding Size

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Who doesn’t love a nice big compound exercise? They tax your body in a way that leaves you feeling tired, but also compound exercises for adding sizepowerful and accomplished. Plus they help build bigger muscles than doing isolation exercises.

It is a matter of science really. Your biceps are going to get a lot bigger from doing deadlifts and barbell rows than if you just did concentration curls and nothing else. With those big, compound lifts the other muscles involved in the back and shoulders are helping move a muscle that you would not be able to curl if your life depended on it. Sure, it is not the full range of motion that is worked, but the muscle is being taxed and will grow stronger to compensate; along with all the other muscles involved in the lift.

That is the beauty of the compound exercise.

Favorite Compound Exercises

  • Flat and Incline Bench Presses – These are the best exercises for chest development as well as front deltoids and triceps. Dumbbells also add in an extra level of difficulty for balance that involves more of the arms and back muscles.
  • Overhead Press – Again you can use a barbell or dumbbells. This really works all heads of the shoulders but mainly the front, as well as the traps and triceps.
  • Front Rows – This exercise is a bit underutilized but does a great job working the entire shoulder girdle including the traps. The forearms and biceps get a slight workout as well.
  • Chin-ups – The best compound back exercise for the average lifter because it works a huge range of the lats as well as upper back, rear shoulders, biceps, and forearms.
  • Dips – A great exercise for the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Barbell Rows – This basic back burner works the middle and upper back with a standard grip along with the biceps and forearms. The legs and lower back come into play in support of the body.
  • Deadlifts – Standard, Romanian, and Stiff-legged are all great options. They primarily work the lower back, hips, hamstrings, and forearms. But you also get work in the rest of the back, biceps, calves, and quads. This is the second best compound exercise on the list.
  • Squats – Along with the deadlift this is a must do exercise that literally works everything. Primarily the quads, hips, glutes, hamstrings, and even calves get work. But you support the weight with your upper body and have to stabilize it. This is the king of all compound exercises.
  • Lunges – These work the entire leg along with forearms holding the dumbbells or upper body supporting a barbell.
  • Leg Press or Hack Squats – A poor man’s squat that both heavily involve the legs but little else as the machine alleviates supporting the weight with your upper body.

Really there are some variations and different grips but other than that this is the list. Ideally when working a body part you should be doing at least one or two compound exercises. If you aren’t, you truly are doing your body a disservice. Some people even create basic, heavy-lifting programs using only compound exercises and have gained great size from focusing on just this group of core exercises.

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