2. Compound Exercises

Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups/joints at the same time. They allow moving the heaviest weight, leading to biggest overall muscle stimulation and growth, and therefore also burn the most calories [1]. You get the most out of your training and your time invested. At least 80% of your training program should consist of compound exercises. The other 20% can be filled with isolation exercises.

For detailed guides on how to perform the exercise correctly please check YouTube.


Grab a barbell, load it with weight, and squat as deep as you comfortably can without rounding your back (buttwink). Your upper body should stay as straight as possible and the bar should travel in a vertical line. This exercise targets mostly the quads (legs), but deep squats also train the glutes (butt) and lower back. Great for your posterior chain.

barbell squat
Barbell Squat


Load a barbell in front of you and step closer so the middle of your foot is below the barbell. Take a breath, tighten your core and pull the weight up close to your shins/body without rounding your back. This exercise targets mostly your hamstrings and lower back with your glutes (butt) supporting the lift. Great for your posterior chain.

Barbell Deadlift

Bench Press

Get a flat bench, load the barbell and push it up. Keep the barbell around or below your nipple line to avoid flaring your elbows out (which can lead to shoulder strain). A slight incline bench press is also good with a bit more emphasis on the upper chest. Beginner can also do (angled) push ups instead, but at some point they will become too easy. This exercise targets mostly the chest with support from your triceps and front delts (shoulders).

barbell bench press
Barbell Bench Press

Barbell Row

Bend over and lift up the barbell while keeping your lower back straight, and pull the weight towards your belly. If your lower back is too fatigued from squats and deadlifts you can exchange this exercise with any other pull movement (pull-up, chin-up, lat pulldown, cable row etc.). This exercise targets mostly your upper back with support from your biceps and lower back.

barbell row
Barbell Row

Overhead Press

Get a barbell, and push it up above you while standing (slightly superior to sitting as it requires more core stabilization). Don't grip the bar too wide but just outside your shoulder width, this will force your shoulders in front of you and reduce potential shoulder strain. This exercise targets mostly the delts (shoulders) with a bit support from your triceps.

barbell overhead press
Barbell Overhead Press
With these 5 compound exercises you can easily cover most of your 60 minute workout training program. Do not waste your time doing a dozen of different exercises e.g. just for your chest (this ‘knowledge’ was made popular by bodybuilders in previous times, and it worked for them because they were on steroids). Men can then optionally add exercises for arms and abs, women can add one exercise for glutes (butt).

On the next site we will offer workout plans for beginner and advanced, based on a training frequency of 2x per week (which we think is fully sufficient for most trainees).