Whether you’re new to the world of fitness or a seasoned veteran, adding compound exercises to your workout routine offers a lot of benefits. Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that involve two or more large muscle groups. They work multiple muscles and allow you to lift heavier weights than isolation exercises, which focus on a single muscle group.
The abs are a large muscle group and are involved in just about every compound exercise out there. That’s why they’re an important group to strengthen, as they help stabilise your spine, pelvis, and hips, which are all crucial areas for injury prevention.
Here are some of the best compound exercises to strengthen your core and improve your overall health.
5 Abdominal Compound Exercises
The squat is a compound movement that works just about every muscle in your body, including your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. But, you’ll also feel it in your abs.
The most obvious sign that your abs are being challenged is the feeling of an engagement in your abdominal muscles when you’re doing a squat. This will be especially pronounced when you’re holding a barbell across your shoulders.
Here’s how to do a squat:
Stand with your feet slightly apart, hands at your sides and back straight. Engage your abdominal muscles and slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Maintain a straight, neutral spine throughout the movement. Return to the starting position. To add more resistance and make the movement more challenging, hold dumbbells at your sides.
The deadlift is an amazing total-body exercise that also works the core. Deadlifts are great for building muscle and increasing overall strength. Deadlifts also help build endurance. The deadlift is one of the best compound exercises for building muscle. Like the plank, the deadlift is a fundamental movement that works multiple muscle groups, including the hamstrings, glutes, quads, core, back, and biceps.
Here’s how to do a deadlift:
To start, place the bar on the ground with your feet hip-width apart. Then, take a deep breath, brace your core, and keep your back flat. You can then pick up the bar by bending at your hips and knees, and then straightening your back to lift the bar. If you’re a beginner, you can use an exercise plank to learn the movement pattern and build strength before you move on to picking up the bar.
The Sit up is a great compound exercise. It works your abdominal muscles as well as your hip flexors and hamstrings.
To perform the sit up, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Then, raise your torso off the floor until your shoulder blades are off the ground, and hold this position for a few seconds. This is the starting position.
Next, contract your abdominal muscles and exhale as you lift your torso to the starting position. Then, relax your abs and end the movement back to the starting position.
The muscles that work when you’re doing a standard sit-up are the rectus abdominis (the main muscle of the abdomen) and the hip flexors.
These muscles are engaged when you:
1) contract the abdominal muscles, by drawing in the belly button and keeping the back flat, and,
2) extend the hip flexors (by lifting the knees and/or feet off the floor).
Other Muscles engaged include: The gluteus maximus, the hamstrings and the quadriceps (by extending the knee), the erector spinae (by keeping the back flat), the tensor fasciae latae (by keeping the knee pointed), the iliopsoas (by drawing in the belly button), the sartorius (by keeping the leg straight), and the tibialis anterior (by keeping the foot flat on the floor).
Planks are one of the best abs exercises. They work the entire core and also help strengthen your shoulders, arms, and back. The plank is a great way to increase your overall core strength and endurance.
Here’s how to do a plank:
To do a plank, start by lying on your stomach with your palms on the floor and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Then, raise your body up so that your body is resting on your elbows and toes.
Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels, with your body in a straight line. Hold this position for as long as you can.
As you get stronger, you can add more resistance by placing your feet on a low bench or a stack of weights. You can also perform planks with your feet elevated on a bench or box. This variation increases the level of difficulty because it requires you to keep your body perpendicular to the floor, which requires more muscle activation.
If you’re feeling unbalanced or want to increase the challenge, you can also do planks off an unstable surface, such as a medicine ball.
Pushups are a compound exercise that work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. The pushup is one of the oldest bodyweight exercises around. It’s a total-body strength builder and a great way to get stronger, while at the same time increasing your core strength–especially your transverse abdominis (the deepest abdominal muscle).
Here’s how to do a pushup:
Start in a plank position, with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Then, lower your body to the floor by bending your elbows, keeping your back straight. Without resting on the floor, push yourself back up to the starting position.
If you can’t do a push-up, modify it by kneeling, placing your hands on a bench or box, or just lowering yourself to the floor. If you’re a beginner and want to make the exercise easier, you can do push-ups from your knees, or even perform a push up on the wall.
The above 5 compound exercises are great for strengthening the core. They not only activate the abdominal muscles but also the other muscles that are involved in the movement. Compound exercises are great for building muscle and losing weight, as well as increasing overall athleticism and endurance. If you’re looking for a way to improve your core strength, try incorporating any one of the above 5 compound exercises in your routine.