Ah, dreaded burpees — the exercise best-known for working your entire body, but not for actually being enjoyable. However, compound exercises like burpees have a lot of benefits that isolated exercises simply can’t match. A compound exercise forces your body to work multiple muscle groups at once, increasing your muscular coordination and overall strength while helping you to burn more calories, build more muscle, and increase your levels of health-promoting hormones.
Here are four awesome combination exercises that you can add into your workouts to help you get leaner, stronger and healthier — and none involve burpees!
1. Back Squat, Good Morning, Push Press
When you think of squats, you may mostly think of a leg exercise. This may be true for bodyweight squats. However, when you add load to squats, they become incredibly powerful compound exercises that can help to work a lot of your body. Add in a good morning and a push press, and you practically have a compound exercise workout all on its own.
- Get a barbell and hold it across your shoulders on the back.
- Keep your feet about shoulder distance apart.
- Lower down into a squat, keeping your core tight and your back straight.
- As you lower, make sure your knees stay in line with your feet—don’t let them either splay outward or collapse inward.
- Also, make sure your knees don’t go forward past your toes.
- When your thighs get to about parallel with the floor, push back up to a standing position.
- Next, still standing, hinge forward at the hips, being careful not to keep you back straight.
- If your back begins to arch or to bow outward, you’re going too far and risking injury.
- Return to standing driving your hips forward and using your glutes.
- Once you’ve returned to a fully upright position, bend your knees slightly and then press upward, using this motion to begin pressing the barbell over your head.
- Lower the bar to the starting position to complete one repetition.
2. Deadlift Into Biceps Curl
Much like the squat, the deadlift is a great part of a compound exercise workout. By itself, it already works a lot of different muscles, and it’s not hard to add in other exercises to it. As with the squat, make sure you do this movement properly, and protect your back.
- To do the deadlift part of this exercise, get a barbell and place it on the floor.
- Stand with your feet midway under the bar. Your feet should be about hip distance apart and angled just slightly outward.
- Hinge at your hips to grab the bar (in a normal deadlift, you’d usually grab it with and overhand grip, but for this compound exercise workout, you’ll grab it with your palms facing outward).
- Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar.
- Straighten your back.
- Make sure you keep your back neutral and your core strong throughout the movement.
- Don’t allow your back to round.
- Now, take a deep breath and stand, keeping the bar against your legs as you rise.
- When you reach the top, draw the barbell up to your shoulders in a biceps curl.
- Extend your arms again, then perform the second half of the deadlift motion by pushing your hips back as you lower the bar.
- After you’ve passed your knees, bend your knees to allow the bar to pass by.
3. Pull-Up And Hanging Knee Raise
Pull-ups are already pretty good compound exercises with their ability to work your grip, arms, back and abs. Add in a hanging knee raise, and you’ve got a killer workout.
First perform as many pull-ups as you can with good form.
Next, without dropping from the pull-up bar, follow up with knee raises and perform as many as you can with good form.
On the knee raises, to really get the focus on your abs instead of your hip flexors, bring your knees to 90 degrees, then pull your thighs upward closer to your chest.
Hold for a count of one, then lower to 90 degrees again.
4. Jump Squat + Pull-Up
Jump squats are a great way to work your legs explosively. If you do your jump squats under or near a pull-up bar or even a convenient tree limb, you can also get in a good arm workout by adding in a pull-up. Given that you’ll likely get some extra help with your pull-up from the jump, focus on the resistance phase to really build your arm strength.