Maximize your Sweat Equity

Incorporating compound exercises to your fitness routine has multiple benefits.  If you want to maximize results and minimize gym time, read on to learn why compound exercises are the answer!

  1. Compound Exercise burn more calories! Since they involve more oxygen dependent muscle tissue, the body has to expend more energy which means you burn more calories in less time.  Talk about efficiency!
  2. Compound Exercises Improve Synergy & Activation allowing for greater production of force and control. Consider three-way lunges (forward, back & lateral) which active the hip in all three planes improving overall function and motion of the hip.
  3. Compound Exercises Produce a Greater Cardiovascular Benefit because they incorporate multiple muscles, further elevating your heart rate. Burpies are a perfect example.
  4. Compound Exercises Improve Flexibility because they dynamically move a joint through a range of motion lengthening surrounding tissue. Compared to static stretching (holding a muscle in a lengthened position) which reduces neurologic activity, compound exercises require opposing muscles to contract and relax.
  5. Compound Exercises Improve Coordination as they teach multiple muscle groups to contract and work together improving motor skills and balance.

Compound Exercises


Reverse Walking Lunges with Bicep Curls

Holding dumbbells in each hand, step backward with the left foot and perform a lunge. Push back with the right foot and return to standing.  At the top, balance on just the left leg (if possible), and perform a biceps curl with both arms. Continue alternating the left and right leg.

  • Perform 3 sets with 10 reps per leg.  To make this movement more difficult, perform the bicep curls with one arm at a time.  To lessen the intensity, bring both feet together after performing the lunge.


Squats to Bicep Curl & Shoulder Press

With feet shoulder width apart, dumbbells in each hand and arms at your side, perform a squat sinking into your hips with body-weight pressed into your heels. Press out of the squat and as you come to standing, curl dumbbells toward shoulder performing a biceps curl, then press dumbbells above your head with palms facing outward performing a shoulder press.  Return arms to your side and repeat the movement with another squat.

  • Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps.  To make this movement more difficult perform a squat jump, exploding out of the squat as you raise over head.  To lessen the intensity, begin seated on a bench or chair to support your squat.


Plank to Row

Begin in a plank or push up position with dumbbells in each hand on the floor. Perform a push up and at the top of the movement, pull the right dumbbell up to the chest in a rowing motion.  Return the right hand and dumbbell to the ground and perform a row with the left hand.  Repeat the movement beginning with the push up.

  • Perform 2-3 sets of 10-16 total reps. To make this movement more difficult place feet close together or lift the leg opposite of the arm rowing.  To make the movement easier, keep feet farther apart or perform this movement with your hands on a bench without weights.


Sarah Mattison Berndt, MS, RD, CD

Owner Fit Fresh Cuisine & Hybrid Athletic Club

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