10 Compound Exercises to Maximize Weight Loss

Exercise to incinerate fat

Losing weight can be a challenge. A combination of healthy eating, cardiovascular exercise and strength training is a must. But not all strength training is the same.

The two main types of weight training are isolation exercises and compound exercises. So what’s the difference? Isolation exercises work a single muscle and involve moving one joint. Think bicep curls.

Compound exercises work more than one muscle group at the same time. When it comes to weight loss, compound exercises are the way to go. Using more than one muscle group, results in more calories burned.

Also, compound exercises often involve squatting, pushing and pulling, which mimics how you use your muscles in real life. Combining an upper and lower body exercise will add some ‘’oomph’’ to your workout and maximize weight loss. Consider some of following compound moves:


Squat to Overhead Press

A squat is one of the best overall lower body exercises and with good reason. It works your quads, glutes and even a little core. Adding an overhead press, ups the cardiovascular benefit and also works your shoulders. When you’re performing a squat, make sure your toes don’t stick out further than your knees.

Rear Lunge to Bicep Curl

Similar to a squat, a rear lunge is a good compound exercise to work several lower body muscles including your quads, buttocks, hips and calves. Take a large step back with one leg. Allow your knee to almost touch the ground. If you want to take up the intensity, add a bicep curl on the way down. Repeat on the opposite side.

Deadlift to Row

A deadlift or upright row done separately are great compound moves. When you combine them, it is super effective to enhance metabolic rate and increase fat loss. You’ll work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, shoulders and trapezes muscles.


A pushup is a simple exercise that uses your body weight. It targets your chest, arms and core. Pushups are tough enough without adding more to the move. If you aren’t quite strong enough to do pushups on your toes, do them on your knees.

Medicine Ball Heave-ho

Trim your waistline and work your obliques, legs and shoulders with a medicine ball heave-ho. If you don’t have a medicine ball, a dumbbell will also work. With legs shoulder width apart, twist to your right side, bringing the ball down to your hip. Raise the ball back up over the opposing shoulder, in a twisting motion.


A pull-up is an oldie but a goodie, and helps tone your back and get rid of those little rolls under your bra. A pull-up works your biceps, trapezius and biceps. The width of your grip allows you to focus on a specific region of your back.

Sumo Squat with a Front Raise

The inner thighs can be tough to slim down. One compound exercise that targets this hard to tone area is a sumo squat. A sumo squat not only tones your inner thighs, but you also get a little quad and glute work in too. Adding a front raise increases your heart rate and tones your shoulders. To work your inner things, make sure your toes are at a 45- degree angle.

Curtsey Lunge with Lateral Raise

If you’re looking for an exercise that works several muscles at one time, consider adding a courtesy lunge with a lateral raise to your routine. A curtsey lunge alone is a great compound move since it targets your glutes, quads and calf muscles. A lateral raise works your shoulders and helps your waistline look smaller.

Spiderman Plank

If you’re trying to get a flat stomach, planks are a great core exercise. But a plank does not only sculpt your tummy, it also works your back and arms. Instead of a traditional plank, add in a few Spiderman planks to increase your lower back workout. To perform a Spiderman plank, raise your right knee towards the elbow and return to plank position. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Glute Bridge with a Triceps Extension

If you’re like a lot of women, your butt and triceps can be problem areas. A glute bridge with a triceps extension is a perfect compound exercise to target both areas at the same time. After contracting your glutes and raising your hips, extend your arms, so the weights are over your chest. Dumbbells work best for this combo move.


Author: MaryAnn DePietro
Author Bio: A health and fitness writer with 13 years’ experience, MaryAnn has been extensively published in magazines, newspapers and websites. Her work has appeared on websites, such as Healthline, Symptom Find, Livestrong and Modern Moms. MaryAnn earned degrees in both respiratory therapy at American River College in Sacramento and rehabilitation education at Penn State University. MaryAnn lives in northern California where she trains for 10K marathons, plays golf and hangs out with her husband and son.