The two most common reasons people give me for not exercising is lack of time and not knowing what type of exercise they should be doing. This is one of the main reasons many people to hire a personal trainer—they want an expert to tell them how to achieve their goals.
Typically, they also want to know how to do it in the most time-efficient manner possible.
Now While single-joint, isolation exercises are ideal for people who have the inclination or time to sculpt the perfect body, they simply aren’t that effective for maximising the calorie burning effects of exercise. If a client’s goal is improving his or her overall fitness level, compound exercises that feature multi point movements involving more than a single muscle group can be extremely effective for realising benefits from all three categories of fitness: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Knowing how to use compound exercises can give you specific strategies and techniques for helping your time-strapped clients.
Here are my top four benefits of compound exercises.
Compound exercises improve intermuscular coordination.
This is the function and timing of multiple muscles around a joint or joints. Consider, for example, the gluteal complex (gluteus maximus, Medius and minimus), which is responsible for controlling motion of the hip. Compound exercises such as squats, lunges or steps that move the hips in all three planes can improve how all the muscles work together to produce and control force.
Compound exercises burn more calories.
The body expends 5 calories of energy to consumer 1 litre of oxygen. Exercises that involve more muscle tissue require more oxygen, which helps the body increase its net energy expenditure.
Compound exercises elevate the heart rate and provide a cardiovascular training benefit.
The purpose of cardiovascular exercise is to improve the ability of the heart to function as a pump. This can be accomplished through activities such as running and cycling, or by doing exercises that involve a significant amount of muscle tissue. Sitting in a leg-extension machine doing knee extensions or performing biceps curls with dumbbells uses only a limited amount of muscle tissue; these exercises are more appropriate for focusing on isolated strength. Squats to shoulder presses, medicine ball chops or burpees are all examples of compound exercises that involve large amounts of muscle tissue, which challenges the heart to pump blood to keep the muscles fuelled and active.
Compound exercises improve movement efficiency.
Have you ever noticed that body builders move robotically? This is because training only one muscle group at a time does not teach multiple muscle groups to coordinate their contractions and firing rates, which is how muscles contract. Compound exercises that involve large groups of muscles teach the muscles how to coordinate the firing of the motor units responsible for timing muscle contractions. Compound exercises can help your clients improve their movement skills and dynamic balance, which can help improve overall quality of life.
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.