Anyone who goes to the gym doing any form of Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Crossfit, or Olympic lifting usually participates in a series of compound exercises every day. With that being said, is it healthy for you to do compound exercises every day?
Can You Do Compound Exercises Every Day?
ISSA states that, “When it comes to building muscle and strength, compound movements are the most effective way for clients to reach their goals” (“Get Bigger, Faster, Stronger with Compound Exercises, issaonline.com).
Once someone can safely execute compound movements with the proper form needed, then YES it is safe and healthy to do compound exercises every day.
With that said, you would not want to do the same compound exercises everyday. Your muscles need time to heal and recover.
Keep reading for more heavyweight knowledge that you can easily apply.
Compound Exercise Definition
A compound exercise is a multi-joint exercise that involves multiple muscle groups at one time during a movement. Some great examples include: squat, deadlift, clean, pull-up and bench press.
Building muscle increases growth hormone and testosterone which in turn continues to build muscle which also burns fat even after your workout. Compound exercises utilize and engage many muscle groups making it more time efficient and effective, or improving functional fitness.
Movements that improve functional fitness are those that every person uses on a daily basis: sitting down and getting up (squat), picking something off the floor (deadlift), and picking something off the floor and placing it overhead (clean).
Who can benefit from compound exercises?
Every individual can benefit from multi-joint exercises. Regardless of a person’s goals, compound exercises can either help you gain muscle and, or strength, tone up and lean out, or lose weight. These goals depend on how many sets and reps the individual applies within that individual’s regimen.
Gain and Build Muscle
Use a hypertrophy program to gain and build muscle which consists of 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps for each resistance exercise at 75-85% of that person’s 1-repetition max (The OPT Model, NASM); the heaviest the person can lift for 1 rep without fail.
Tone Up and Lean Out
Using a strength endurance program would be perfect to tone and lean out. This program consists of 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise, or you can superset the exercises which would be 16-24 reps per superset (NASM). If you want to get an in-depth understanding of what hypertrophy training is, check out this article.
The strength endurance program can also be used for weight loss, and the individual can use the stabilization endurance program as well. This program uses 12-20 reps per set.
As compound exercises can be used to reach a variety of goals for each person, it’s also functional, which can improve a person’s daily life and prevent complications in the future.
The Long Term Benefits
Strong Joints and Bones
Strength training in general applies stress to the joints and bones, making them stronger and more durable. This helps reduce risks of arthritis, increases flexibility and balance to reduce falls and injuries (The American Cancer Society), and helps reduce risks of osteoporosis. Crossfit strength training and workouts are a fantastic place to start.
Two to three 20-30 minute sessions a week can improve overall health benefits (The American Cancer Society). When using proper form and technique, you can safely execute compound exercises to achieve the max benefits listed previously and reach goals.
Safely Executing Compound Movements
In performing any kind of movement, there is a five-point contact principle that applies. The five-point contact principle is applied the most in compound movements.
Five Points of Contact
Your head should be in neutral position.
Your shoulders should be back, and you shoulder blades (scapula) should be slightly pinched (SportsRec), like you’re holding a pencil between your shoulder blades.
Hips should be directly under your shoulders if you’re in standing or sitting position, or flat to the bench if you’re laying down.
Core is tight, this allows for your back to be in neutral spine and for your whole body to be stable. In the laying down position, it should be flat to the bench. For standing or sitting position, your back should be in neutral spine.
Your feet should always be flat on the floor.
Inhale and Exhale during Exercise
Breathing is also key in lifting. Inhaling during the movement, and exhaling on the hardest part of the movement can really make an impact on executing the exercise with great power and force.
Proper Form and Technique
Proper form and technique when doing any kind of movement is very important in lifting to prevent injury, and in reaping the benefits that weightlifting provides, allowing an individual to lift more weight safely as well as going about a person’s daily activities while reducing injury risks.
Compound Exercises for Functional Strength
Did you ever think that a person who may have a knee, or back injury from doing something in their normal day to day regimen may have been caused from bad form? Have you ever heard of someone pulling their back from lifting something off the ground? This is where compound exercises can really have a powerful effect.
From what we talked about earlier with proper form and technique, what better way to practice than in the gym? Yes, going to the gym helps you to reach goals, can be a hobby for some, but it can also be useful for someone who just wants to improve form in their day to day activities. This is called functional fitness, which uses majority compound exercises.
When doing these exercises, you're focused on improving your form and lifting decent to heavy weight allowing your body to have that stress needed to reduce injury risk. That person that pulled their back when lifting something off the ground may have prevented that if they learned the proper form to lift something off the ground.
And while doing this in the gym helps, increasing weight while doing compound movements helps make lifting that object off the floor ten times easier! You don’t have to go to the gym to do it as a hobby or simply change your physique, but do it for YOU. To improve your overall lifestyle and take care of yourself.
Compound Exercises Can Be Done Every Day
Compound exercises provide more than enough benefits on a daily basis including: reaching your goals, preventing injury, and ensuring a healthy future. It’s very time efficient and effective making it a great add on to your daily regimen. As a certified personal trainer I can tell you that it is safe and healthy to do compound exercises every day, and you’ll be glad you did.
ISSA. “Get Bigger, Faster, Stronger with Compound Exercises”, https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2020/get-bigger-faster-and-stronger-with-compound-exercises.
NASM. “What is the OPT Model?, https://nasm.org/certified-personal-trainer/the-opt-model#phase-3.
The American Cancer Society. “5 Benefits of Strength Training”, 23 October 2019. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/five-benefits-of-strength-training.html.
Johnson, Jolie. Sports Rec. “Five-Point Contact When Lifting Weights”. 26 July 2011, https://www.sportsrec.com/496605-five-point-contact-when-lifting-weights.html.
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