Women's class dead lifting bar in a gym


Written by: Danielle Gymorie Cert. PT Prescription Fitness

Yes, it is true, you can spend less time in the gym and still get a superior workout. Most people use lack of time as their excuse to not get into a regular fitness program.  Learning how to design a program full of compound exercises will help you make the most of your time in the gym, providing you with great results!

Compound exercises are recommended for the most time efficient workouts because with 8-10 exercises, you can stimulate all of the major muscles and create a significant change in body composition in the shortest amount of time.  Compound exercises are movements that use multiple joints at the same time.  For a powerful workout, try incorporating some of these tested and true multi joint exercises into your routine!

Exercise 1: Barbell Squat

An awesome exercise for the lower body, the squat is at the top of the list for one of the best multi joint exercises.  The squat works your calves, thighs, and butt.  It will also help to strengthen your stomach and back muscles because you are using them for stability.

Exercise 2: Dumbbell lunges

Along with squats, lunges are another great multi joint exercise for lower body development.  They also work all of the leg muscles along with the stomach and back, and are especially awesome for shaping the glute and hamstring muscles.

Exercise 3: Barbell Bench Press

This good old-fashioned exercise is a staple of chest development that will work not only the major muscles in your chest but also many others in your shoulders and arms.

Exercise 4: One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Work out the upper and mid-back muscles along with the rear head of the shoulders by doing this single are dumbbell row.  It is also great for the biceps and forearm development!

Exercise 5: Wide Grip Lat Pull-Downs

See the muscles of your back grow and shape with this ultimate back exercise.  Plus, it will help tone up the arms without even doing any bicep curls!

Exercise 6:  Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This overhead press is great for developing the shoulders, upper back, neck, and toning the back of the arms.

Exercise 7: Abdominal Bicycle

This abdominal exercise that is done on the floor, is excellent for targeting the entire abdomen, including the upper, lower, and side regions.


For the best results, try to complete these exercises for at least eight weeks.  Generally doing between 8-12 repetitions to muscle fatigue is enough, meaning the last few reps should be challenging without compromising form.  For safety and to reduce chance of injury, have a fitness professional show you the proper form to correctly complete the exercises.  For beginners, don’t worry if it takes a few workouts to get the right feel for the appropriate weight.  Doing the exercises properly should be your main focus.  Remember, next time you are tempted to back out of your workout, you can work smarter, not longer, so take advantage of these multi-joint exercises!

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