Now when it comes to selecting the correct exercises to your goals whether they are for building muscle or cutting fat Compound movements I believe along with many other trainers are a vital ingredient to anyone’s successful journey in getting to the target goal.
The reason we want to include these movements purely is because of the fact that they recruit a whole compound of muscles both included in the target body part but also amongst other body parts too meaning more fibres are recruited, broken down and then recovered and over compensated by the body by building more size and strength in the repaired tissue created in what we know as muscle hypotrophy, along with more muscle hypotrophy there will also be more growth hormone and testosterone secreted through your muscles out into the body which will also enhance your muscle building potential. Where we also can include more isolation exercises that usually target one muscle at a time as long as performed correctly with good form we would have to include multiple exercises and sets to hit the same amounts as compound movements meaning more time is needed with the body under stress and more sets potentially also required in order to complete the same effect on the body to grow and progress.
As far as looking into each exercise for technique and movements needed to perform these there could be full articles written on each of them so for the purpose of this article lets look at the 3 main movements I would include in any mass building program and some of the muscles that they recruit.
Lets start with one I’m pretty sure we all know about whether you attend a gym or not and that is the bench press. Usually found on chest days the bench press can be performed with various equipment but I will be looking at the barbell bench press for the sake of this article. The muscles that are primarily used will be muscles such as the Pectoral muscles, the front of the deltoids, the triceps also are very heavily recruited as in nearly all pressing movements, however when we look deeply into the bench press and if we were to go into technique there would be talk around planting your legs and driving throughout the whole body recruiting not just the upper chest torso area but also the legs right through to holding your core tight so we could along with the other exercises say that this is actually a whole body movement.
Next the one that sorts out those that are really looking for gains to those that just go to pass the time in the gym, the barbell squat. This movement will recruit from the bottom upwards muscle groups such as your calf muscles, up through all your quad muscles, hamstring muscles and hip/glute area, along with the core being held nice and tight for safety, then there is the recruitment of the back muscles in order to keep upright and protect the spine, some will say that the chest and shoulders are used for stability also as an antagonist to the back firing up and personally I know I can feel at least a static hold in these muscle groups when performing squats.
Finally we come along to the deadlift, muscles recruited here include the overall back muscle group we then will be using the rear of the shoulders to keep good form with shoulder blades back and chest out, all those lovely core muscles are fully recruited to protect from injury and the whole legs/hip area are recruited when driving the barbell off of the floor and throughout the movement.
So overall we can see just from these three compound movements the overall importance of inclusion into your whole body mass gaining routine. More muscle recruitment, more growth more strength.