On the one hand “I don’t have enough time” is the number one excuse people make for not working out and on the other hand, it could well be a real problem. We’re going to ignore the scammers here, obviously, but we’ll all agree that sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day to get everything done and try as you might, you wish you had quick workouts. Rather than miss your workout because of your schedule, it might be useful to get your instructor to design a workout that has more compound exercises in them. And while, you’re at it, you might want to talk to him about the benefits of compound exercises to ensure that you realize that you can have an efficient workouts that’s also a quick workout.

What Are Compound Exercises?

In a sentence: Compound exercises are weight training exercises that work on a group or set of muscles rather than one muscle in isolation. For example: The squat is a compound exercise as it targets the quadriceps, the glutes and the hamstring but the bicep curl is not a compound exercise (it’s an isolation exercise) as it targets only the bicep.

Benefits of Compound Exercises

  • Time: Because you are training a set of muscles, you will be using your limited time more efficiently. In simple terms, if you can train 3 muscles in the time it takes to train one, isn’t that more efficient?
  • Muscle Strength: Instructors also believe that since you are using multiple muscles, you can lift heavier weights and lifting heavier weights makes your muscles stronger. So the cyclical relationship works out to your advantage.
  • Functional fitness: This relates to real world fitness. It talks about the question: “How often will you really use the bicep curl in real life?” On the other hand, the squat strengthens your real-world fitness because it improves your ability to lift a heavy box, for example. Some instructors believe that there is a difference between body building exercises and functional fitness or real world fitness exercises and therefore should train people differently. Do you know what your trainer/instructor believes?

As with everything to do with workouts and exercising, don’t follow your routine like a sheep. Understand why the instructor has selected a particular exercise for you. If your workouts last forever, find out whether the culprit is too many isolation and not enough compound exercises. Remember, you’re working out to improve yourself – not because the trainer told you to. Unless you talk to him and ask him questions, you’re not going to get the best workout possible. So next trip to the gym, talk about the benefits of compound exercises.

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