The bench press is one of the most common compound lifts.
Workouts involving compound exercises are one of the most effective and efficient ways to build muscle. Compound moves are the ones you see in everyday activity when you are pushing, pulling and pressing. An exercise is classified as compound when you use more than one joint and muscle group to get a lift done. Bench presses, squats, rows, pullups and deadlifts are key compound exercises that can get you bigger faster says certified strength and conditioning specialist Rachel Cosgrove. You can build muscle in many ways, but compound lifts are one of the best.
Your body builds muscle in response to stress on the muscles. Micro-tears occur when you lift, and hormones, including growth hormone, rushes in to repair these tears so the muscles become thicker, denser and stronger. The more stress you put on the muscles, the greater this response. Cosgrove notes that the more muscles you stress during one exercise or one workout, the more hormones you release and the greater your strength and muscle-building results.
Work as a Unit
Compound exercises teach your muscles and joints to work together as a unit, the way it was designed to function, Cosgrove told "Men's Fitness." When you have multiple muscles involved in a lift, you can wield more weight. Lifting three to six sets of eight to 12 repetitions of heavy weights, equal to 80 to 88 percent of your one-repetition maximum, are the route to creating more size and strength.
To build muscle, you have to be consistent with your workouts. Because they work multiple muscles at once, compound exercises enable you to work the entire body and get in and out of the gym faster than you would if you tried to target every muscle group independently. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends your workouts last no longer than an hour because longer workouts are associated with a higher dropout rate.
Isolation exercises, such as biceps curls and chest flyes, can have a place in a workout routine designed to build muscle. These moves can correct muscle imbalances and help you develop symmetry if your goal is a bodybuilding or figure competition. If you have limited time to work out, prioritize the compound exercises first because they bring about the best results and finish with isolation moves if you have time to spare.
Strength training with compound exercises is part of a muscle-building strategy, but you also need to pay attention to eating the right foods and allow for rest and recovery. Consume protein in the form of whey or another easily-digested, complete form as soon as possible after a hard, compound lifting session. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night and leave at least 48 hours between workouts for specific muscle groups.