Make sure these multi-joint moves are part of your regular muscle-building routine.
Eric Broser for Muscle & Fitness 1 / 11
Isolation movements certainly have their place. Hammering each muscle on its own is essential for getting the elite-level pump that bodybuilders covet.
But while isolation moves always help, they aren't nearly as valuable as compound exercises. Compound exercises, which work the body across multiple joints, generally require more balance/coordination, allow for the use of heavier weight, involve multiple muscle groups, and work the body in a more “functional” manner. They're key for building both size and strength.
The following 10 compound movements will make sure you will get the most out of every rep.
Tip: To focus more on the chest, lean your torso forward about 45 degrees throughout the set. For more triceps recruitment, keep your torso straight. Make sure you execute a full range of motion in this exercise.
Tip: Keep the knees slightly bent to help support the low back. Bend the torso at about an 80-degree angle. Pull the bar to the belly button to activate the lats to a greater degree, and closer to the chest to hit more of the mid/upper back musculature.
Tip: Guys who want to focus on building total-body strength should perform this movement while standing at least every other workout. Make sure not to lean back too far or this exercise will become more of an “incline” press than a military press.
Tip: Done with a barbell, machine, or dumbbells, this is an excellent movement for building “holding power/strength.” If you want to emphasize the forearms, do this movement without the use of lifting straps. However, if you want enormous traps, then make use of straps so that you can focus purely on shrugging big weight.
Tip: Along with dips, this is one of the best exercises for building strong and thick triceps. Close-grip bench presses can be done with a free bar or Smith Machine, both of which have their advantages. Use a grip set about 6-8 inches apart and lower the bar to about nipple level.