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Compound It

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I am a huge fan of compound movements that work many muscle groups all in one exercise. Since humans move in all planes of motion, it is wise to train your body in multiple planes through multi-joint exercises so that you can maximize your strength and stamina for everyday life.

Below are 10 exercises, all compound, and should be performed for one minute each. Be cautious of proper form, and attempt to execute as many quality repetitions you can in that one-minute time frame. Go through all 10 exercises before repeating the circuit over for a second time. Take 10 seconds in between exercises to recover. Below are the exercises and descriptions.

Switch lunge to step up and kick:

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Starting in plank position, bring your right foot forward while keeping the left leg back and push through the right foot to stand on a single leg drawing your left leg up towards your chest, knee flexed. Kick with your left foot and step back with the left foot back into a low lunge. Step or hop the right foot back while bringing the left leg forward into a low lunge. Push through the left foot and stand drawing the right knee to your chest, knee flexed. Kick with the right foot and step with the right foot back into a low lunge. Repeat.

Push-press on foam:

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Using a foam pad or mat, start in a forearm plank with your feet hip distance apart. Using the strength of your core muscles, keep your hips straight while transitioning from your forearms to your hands. Hold in a high plank before returning back to a forearm plank. Consciously keep your hips squared to the ground and avoid rocking your hips side to side during the transitions.

Deep squats:

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Standing with your feet wider than hip distance apart, turn your toes slightly out. Descend your hips towards the ground and be sure to sit your hips back while tracking your knees in line with your ankles. Maintain a neutral spine.

Star jumps:

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Start with your feet together and like a jumping jack, jump in the air while clapping your hands overhead and land with your feet together. For a modified version, simply do a jumping jack and perhaps throw in an occasional star jump.

Side lunge to overhead press with dumbbell:

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Standing with your feet together and both hands gripping either side of the dumbbell, step out to the right sitting your hip back and tracking your right knee over your right ankle. Straighten your left leg and reach towards your right foot. Push off with the right foot to come back to standing and press the dumbbell overhead. Switch sides and alternate side to side.

Squat jumps with side reach:

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Starting with your feet together, jump into the air and reach your hands to the outside of the right foot as you squat deeply with your legs together. Jump up from this closed legged squat and land back into the closed legged squat touching the outside of the left foot as you squat deeply. Make sure your hips remain neutral and facing forward even though you are reaching to the side. Repeat and alternate sides.

Full-body crunch to extension with ball or dumbbell:

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On your mat, begin in a seated position, lifting your feet off your mat with the ball into your chest. As you inhale, extend your arms overhead and your legs out forward, and exhale your elbows to your thighs as you crunch inward. Repeat.

Child pose into push-up:

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Child's pose in yoga is when your big toes are touching, your knees are wide on the mat and your arms are reaching forward. From this position, push into your hands and propel yourself gently off your knees to either your toes or remaining on your knees and perform a push-up. From the push-up, push yourself back into child's pose. Repeat.

Super-band squat press:

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With a light super-band or with tubing, step your feet onto the band with your feet hip distance apart. Make sure your toes are facing forward. Secure the band firmly with your hands. Start with your hands at chest height and elbows in at your sides. Squat down and keep your hands in alignment with your chest, and as you stand, push the band overhead. Repeat.

Plank with alternating dumbbell row:

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Start in plank pose with your hands on each dumbbell and your feet a bit wider than hip distance apart. Row your right arm up brushing your arm against your right side body. Squeeze your core tight to avoid hip shifting side to side. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Emphasize the squeeze of each shoulder blade inward to train your middle back. Alternate between sides.

Photo credits: Nancy Sharpe

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