by Ali Hitch

June 6, 2021

What are compound exercises?

When it comes go getting the biggest bang-for-your-buck, compound exercises are where its at. Most exercises can typically be put into two categories: compound exercises and isolation exercises.

  • Compound exercises use multiple muscle groups working together to complete a movement.
  • Isolation exercises generally train a single muscle group, in order to isolate and focus on that particular muscle.

Why are compound exercises so great?

  • If you are low on time, combining supersets with compound exercises are an incredibly efficient way of getting a lot of work in, without having to spend ages in the gym.
  • They burn more calories, as multiple muscle groups are having to work to move more weight.
  • They help train your heart. Although heart-health is largely associated with cardiovascular training, strength training using big compound lifts with a higher rep range and shorter rest period can have similar beneficial effects. 

Back Squats

Back squats (with a barbell) are sometimes called 'king of leg movements'. Back squats work every major muscle in the lower body, and when substantial weight is put on the bar, it becomes a full-body exercise as you have to brace your trunk to create a stiff core.

Muscles used: quads, glutes, adductor magnus (inner thigh), hamstrings, erectors, abdominals and obliques, upper back and lats, calves.


Deadlifts are all about picking up really heavy stuff and then putting it back down again - simple as that. It's one of the best strength-building and health-improving exercises around. Nothing will challenging your posterior chain quite like a deadlift.

Muscles used: quads, glutes, adductor magnus (inner thigh), hamstrings, erectors, lats, traps, rhomboids, abdominals & obliques.

Hang Clean

Hang cleans are technically challenging but fantastic for promoting explosiveness, power-production and teaching full-body coordination. Because they use so many muscles they flood the body with growth hormone, useful for gaining strength and stripping fat.

Muscles used: legs, back, biceps, trunk.

Bench Press

This is THE exercise to help improve upper body strength. The bench press can be a particularly useful exercise to assist sport-specific movements, like sprinting, hockey and football. There are a number of variations to target slightly different muscle groups, such as decline and close-grip.

Muscles used: pectorals, front shoulders, triceps.


These are one of the toughest bodyweight exercises around. Pull-ups are the ultimate test of upper-body strength and one of the few bodyweight exercises that can also work your back and biceps. This requires minimal equipment, just a bar! Use bands to help you progress if you are struggling.

Muscles used: biceps, lats, forearms.

Join HIT35 Bootcamp.

Short, 35-minute sessions designed for busy people, looking for big results. Our workouts combine cardio and strength training in a high-intensity fashion. Each day we run a different workout, so you’ll never repeat the same workout twice. We aim to get you stronger, faster and fitter in less time than any regular class - in just 35-minutes!

  • Beginner-friendly - suitable for all fitness levels
  • Affordable - Far cheaper than your Barrys or F45.
  • Stay motivated by training in a group  environment
  • 35-minute workouts - designed for busy people, low on time!

About the author 

Ali Hitch

In a previous life, Ali was an England Premiership Hockey Player for Surbiton HC. Now he spends all of his time at the new HIT35 Bootcamp facility, putting all of his clients through their paces and working on the business - how times change!

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