If you’re a bodybuilder, then this article is not for you.

There has been this continuous debate around isolation workouts vs compound workouts and while both have their pros and cons, what really matters is your personal goal and what you’re trying to get out of your workouts.

If you are trying to improve strength and develop a higher level of fitness then compound workouts with heavy weights is one of the best ways to go about it. You employ multiple muscle groups and simulate real world movements that add an actual functional component to your workouts.

You’ll be able to lift heavy and not just in the gym.

So, here I have discussed the best of my favourite compound workouts that will have the maximum impact on your fitness goals.

Upper Body Workouts

1. Bent Over Row

Bent over row engages your lats, Middle Back, shoulders and Biceps with concentration on your back. Being a fairly easy exercise, it is beginner friendly and is a good way to build up your back muscles for more complex exercises.

However, it is important that you stick to the right form.

2. Bench Press

Bench Press is the holy grail of chest workouts. An all time favourite of mine. However, I personally still believe that push-ups are the best way to build a strong chest, pumping 50 pushups a set can get redundant and boring after a while.

BenchPress activates your chest, shoulders and even triceps.

Moreover, the feeling of adding weight to the barbell after every few weeks feels more accomplishing than adding a few more pushups.

Here’s how you do it in right form.

3. Pull ups / Lateral Pull-downs

One of the easiest way to build your back. Pull ups and Lateral Pull-downs is my favourite super-set workout.

Both these exercises when done in succession activates a lot of your muscles that include your biceps, middle back and shoulders.

I guess you already know how to go about Pull ups. But in case you haven’t done the latter, here’s how you do a lateral pull down in correct form.

4. Barbell Military Press

Want stronger shoulders? Nothing beats a hardcore barbell military press.

The workout is primarily concentrated towards your shoulders and while your triceps are engaged too, consider it as one of the few exercises that actually have a direct real world application.

Here’s how to complete your rep with right form.

5. Dips

I’m not really a fan of Dips but they’re highly effective. When you’re doing dips, you’re engaging your chest, shoulders and triceps.

A great compound exercise that has direct real world applications and can be a great help if you’re an athlete of any kind.

Lower Body Workouts

1. Squat

The holy grail of building powerful lower body strength, if there is only one leg workout that you can do then it’s a Squat.

A Squat engages your calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. It is the ultimate workout, however, it is imperative that you maintain a strict form or else you can end up doing more harm than good.

Bad form while squatting can seriously injure your knees. So make sure you have a trainer spot you and show you the right way to do it. Stronglifts has a definite guide on how to do squats.

2. Deadlift

If you had the limitation of doing just one exercise for the rest of your life, a barbell deadlift would be the most effective option you can choose.

It engages your Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lats, Middle Back, Quadriceps, Traps.

However, it is a complex workout and expert supervision is recommended to make sure you’re doing it right!


My name is Paul Miller - fitness freak by choice. I intensively study and write about nutrition and health related topics. After reading and researching intensively on human health, I aspire to proliferate the wisdom that I acquired in a simple way.

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