Weight loss and fat loss are a big goal for many people, but many people also get stuck in the trap of basic cardio and end up wondering why they aren’t making more progress. What’s the deal? Well, most experts agree that weight training is a big part of any weight loss program. Compound exercises, the ones that use multiple muscle groups at one time, burn more calories because they’re using so many muscles at once.
Start with bodyweight or low weights for these exercises so that you can practice the proper form for each exercise. Since compound exercises work so many muscles, they’re also more prone to injury if performed incorrectly, so it’s really important to make sure you figure out your form before you add on the weights. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, read more articles, or watch videos to help yourself.
Pushups are the foundation of many beginner programs for good reason. They train triceps, shoulders, chest, core, and glutes. Pushups are a compound exercise that trains many muscle groups using body weight only.
To perform pushups, get into plank position. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders, and your back should be flat with your feet together. Lower your body to the ground in a slow and controlled way until your chest is about an inch from the floor.
The farmer’s carry primarily trains your forearms, shoulders, upper back, lower back, glutes, but this compound exercise is known for training the large majority of your body. It works to improve grip strength, improve posture, and help improve cardio endurance.
To perform a farmer’s carry, pick up a weight 25-50% of your body weight in each hand. Walk straight and purposefully for time or distance by putting one foot directly in front of the other. Keep your shoulders down and your chest up.
Squats are a great way to train your lower body, lower back, and abs in a compound exercise that burns fat. They are variable with bodyweight squats, dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell.
To perform a front barbell squat, start with your hands shoulder width apart on the barbell. Rest the bar on your collarbone as your lift your elbows up as high as possible. With your feet hip-width apart, lift the bar off the rack and take one or two steps back. Shift your weight onto your heels and use your abs to lower yourself into a squat. Your knees should be about 90 degrees. Drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you stand back up.
The Turkish Getup is getting up and down to the ground with weights. It’s not easy, and it burns fat. It trains forearms, shoulders, abs, obliques, upper back, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It’s a compound movement that uses standing up and getting back up and down to burn calories.
To perform the Turkish Getup, lay flat on the ground.
- Right foot on the ground. Left foot and left arm out at 45 degrees each.
- Holding a weight, raise your right arm directly above your shoulder.
- Push your right shoulder into the ground and roll to your left side, raising your right hip and pushing your left elbow down.
- Straighten your left arm to push up and sweep the left leg underneath you until you are half-kneeling.
- Sit up and push your right foot through the floor to stand up.
- Switch Sides.
Kettlebells train your forearms, wrists, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back while also increasing your heart rate. It is a compound exercise as it trains multiple muscles at the same time, and it tests your grip strength and cardio health.
To perform a kettlebell swing, place your feet wider than hip width apart with the kettlebell about a foot in front of you. Bend forward at the waist to grasp the kettlebell, keeping your back flat. Pull the kettlebell back up between your legs, then swing it forward using your hips and hamstrings until standing straight with your arms outstretched.
A deadlift trains your whole body including your glutes, hamstrings, quads, back, and arms. In addition to being a compound exercise, it increases the heart rate which helps to burn fat. While the traditional deadlift is done with a barbell, it can be modified with dumbbells or a kettlebell.
To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet hip width apart. As you bend your knees, push your butt back, gripping the bar just outside your hips. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar so you are leaning over it. Traditionally, both palms face in towards you, but you can turn one out if it feels more comfortable. Keep your back straight but not locked. Stand up, lifting the bar while keeping the heels down and making sure to straighten but not lock the legs. Return the bar to the floor.