Work more in half the time with these compound exercises

In this busy world of on-the-go meetings and 140-character status updates, it can feel like everyone's in a rush. For some, the gym can be a place of respite. A space to unwind. An area that's just for you. However, it's not always the case that we have that luxury. Sometimes there really are 8am meetings to get to or family meals to get on the table. Exercise has to be squeezed into the schedule, too.

Luckily, there are ways of maximising your workouts so that you work more of your muscles, but in half of the time. We've called on experts and scoured the web to bring you a list of great compound exercises - ones which utilise multiple muscle groups rather than just one group in isolation. The bonus of doing these types of exercises, besides saving you time, is they engage more of your body and make it unlikely you'll get bored. Here are 12 great moves to get you started.

1. Box crawl

Get on all fours, and then lift your knees off the ground until your hips are just a little higher than your shoulders. On the balls of your feet, crawl forwards, stepping with your right hand and left foot, then your left hand and right foot. Crawl in a box formation, with two crawls in each direction: forwards, right, backwards and left.

2. Bird dog

On hands and knees, and engaging your abs, reach your right arm ahead of you as you extend your left leg straight back. Repeat on the other side.

3. Rotational lunge

Step your right foot back and lower into a lunge position. Reach your arms out in front of you and hold your hands together. Squeeze your glutes and abs as you rotate towards your right shoulder, staying on the balls of your feet. Then rotate left, back to the starting position.

4. Hinge and reach

Kneel with your right foot forward so you are supported by your left knee. Reach your right arm overhead, engaging your abs and glutes. With your left hand, reach on a diagonal in front of you, hinging at the hips to touch the ground while keeping your right arm up. Using obliques, slowly return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

5. Rotational squat lift

Stand with your feet wide, holding one weight in both hands. Bend your knees and lower into a squat, bringing the weight to your left hip as you do so. Stand and lift the weight diagonally towards your right shoulder. Keep your hips facing forwards and engage your core, with only your shoulders twisting. Repeat on the other side.

6. Press-up with row

In a high plank position, lower to a press-up and then bring yourself up again. Next, perform a row with your right arm, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull your elbow upwards. Do another press-up, this time rowing with your left arm. Keep your torso facing straight down to the floor.

7. Step-up with press

Holding a weight at your chest in both hands, step up onto a chair with your right foot. Focus on really engaging the right leg. As you straighten your right leg, press the weight overhead. Bring the weight back down and slowly step down with your right foot. Repeat on the other side.

8. Jack plank with tap-up

Assuming a high plank position, jump your feet hip-width apart and then back together. Still holding a high plank, tap your left shoulder with your right hand and then your right shoulder with your left hand. Engage your core and keep your hips facing downwards.

9. Glute bridge with overhead press

Lay on your back with your knees bent. Holding a weight with both hands just above your chest, squeeze your glutes as you raise your hips into a bridge. Push the weight straight up, then slowly lower it overhead and behind you with your elbows slightly bent. Slowly bring the weight back overhead and then lower back down to the ground.

10. Hip thrust ab rocker

Sit on the ground with your knees bent. Place your hands on the ground under your shoulders, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips into a table-top position. Lower your hips back to the ground and then lift your hands and feet off of the floor, engaging your core and reaching your arms forwards. Lean back and come into a 'V' shape, keeping your upper body lifted. Repeat.

11. Press-up to side plank

In a high plank position, lower to a press-up. When you've lifted your body back up, lift your left hand off the ground and rotate your hips so that you're in a side plank on your right hand, stretching your left arm up overhead. Return to a high plank. Perform another press-up and repeat the side plank on the other side.

12. Low to high spiderman plank

Start in a low plank on your forearms with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your abs engaged. Push up onto your hands in a high plank position. Keeping your abs engaged and your hips still, bring your right foot forwards, to the outside of your right hand, and tap the ground so you're in a low lunge position for a moment. Return to high plank, then tap your left foot to the outside of your left hand.


Once you've tried some of these compound moves, we'd love to hear from you! Are you saving time and are your muscles feeling more of the burn? Let us know in the comments.


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