Between work, kids and other daily commitments, women have less and less time available to fit full-body strength training workouts into a busy schedule. Including more compound exercises into your routine can help you strengthen your entire body and burn more calories in less time.
Compound exercises are multi-joint movements requiring many different muscle groups to perform. Because compound exercises utilize more of the larger muscle groups, they are more effective at facilitating muscle growth than single-joint isolation exercises. Compound exercises require more energy to perform. As a result you burn more calories during your weight training session and elevate your metabolism longer following your workout.
Perform two to three sets of each exercise, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets. Aim to do the exercises at least twice a week on nonconsecutive days. Select a weight for each exercise in which fatigue occurs between eight to 12 repetitions. Increase the intensity and burn more calories in your workout by completing the exercises as a circuit. To complete a circuit, perform each exercise one after the other, without resting between exercises. After completing all of the exercises, rest 60 seconds and repeat the circuit two or three more times.
Front Barbell Squats with Shoulder Press
Front barbell squats with a shoulder press primarily work your glutes, quadriceps and shoulders. Hold a barbell in front your shoulders at chest height, grasping it with your palms facing forward, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Squat down by pushing your hips back until your thighs are just below parallel to the floor. Return to the upright position and press the barbell over your head until your arms are fully extended. Lower the bar back down to your chest and repeat.
Lunges with Dumbbell Curls
Lunges are a compound exercise stressing the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Adding a dumbbell curl to the lunge increases the intensity and strengthens your biceps muscles. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and take a large stride forward with your left leg. Lower your right knee until it almost touches the floor and your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold the position and curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Extend your arms and return to the upright position. Repeat the lunge and curl on your right leg.
The pullup is an effective exercise to strengthen your back and arms. Grasp the pullup bar using an overhand grip wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull your body up until your chin reaches the bar. Lower down and repeat. Use an assisted pullup machine or a spotter if unable to complete any pullups on your own.
Conclude your workout with standard pushups to target your chest, arms and core. Perform the standard pushups on your toes with your hands spaced shoulder-width apart or slightly wider on the floor. Complete 10 repetitions. Immediately after the standard pushups, bring your hands in closer together -- less than shoulder-width apart -- and complete 10 close-grip pushups to target your triceps. Perform the pushups at an incline, such as with your hands placed on a bench or a wall to make the exercise easier. Elevate your feet to make the exercise more challenging.
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- ExRx.net: Toning with Weights
- Military.com; The Push-Up Push Workout; Stew Smith
- "Strength Training Anatomy"; Frederic Delavier; 2001
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.