Top 5 Compound Exercises for Muscle Gain

Compound exercises are efficient because they engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, maximizing muscle gain in minimal time.

5 Best Compound Exercises For Gaining Muscle
5 Best Compound Exercises For Gaining Muscle

Building muscle might seem straightforward—eat more calories and lift weights, right? However, what seems simple can often be more complex, with numerous exercises targeting each body part. Thankfully, compound movements simplify the process by aiding in strength gain. Let’s delve into understanding what compound exercises are and explore five of them that can maximize your gains.

What constitutes a compound exercise

A compound exercise involves engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously. For instance, the leg press targets the quadriceps, glutes, and abductors all at once.

To build muscle mass effectively, incorporating compound exercises into your workout routine is crucial. They enable you to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, optimizing gains in a shorter period. Compound exercises are beneficial for individuals at all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.

Below are the top five compound exercises to begin with

Bench Press

To develop a larger and more robust upper body, incorporating the bench press into your workout routine is essential. The bench press is a timeless strength-building exercise that primarily engages the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It falls under the category of powerlifting exercises, allowing you to lift heavy weights to optimize muscle growth. Additionally, one notable advantage of bench pressing is its effectiveness as a substitute for push-ups.

Bench Press


The deadlift stands as one of the premier full-body exercises renowned for enhancing strength and muscle mass. It effectively targets the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and lower back muscles as primary movers. Additionally, secondary muscles such as the core, abs, shoulders, and upper back contribute significantly during the exercise. Traditionally executed with a barbell and plates or a fixed barbell, the deadlift can also be performed using dumbbells. Given its status as a powerlifting staple, the deadlift is a vital component for anyone striving to build muscle.


If there’s a single exercise you should prioritize in your daily routine, it’s undoubtedly squats. Widely hailed as the “king of exercises,” squats target the muscles in your lower body, notably engaging your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Additionally, secondary muscles such as the lats, core, and lower back are also activated during the movement. Squats are unparalleled for building strength and are highly effective for muscle gain as well. For individuals aspiring to compete in strongman competitions, incorporating squats into their training regimen is indispensable.



Similar to squats and deadlifts, lunges target the legs, but with an emphasis on one leg at a time. During lunges, approximately 60-70% of your body weight is shifted onto one leg, aiding in addressing muscle imbalances. Incorporating lunges into your workout routine can enhance your speed and vertical leap in various sports. Moreover, lunges contribute to improved mobility and hip strength, making them a valuable addition to any fitness regimen.

Shoulder Press while standing

The shoulder press exercise targets the deltoids and triceps, assessing your upper body pressing strength. Engaging in shoulder presses contributes to the enhancement of broader shoulders, thus enhancing your overall physique. While typically performed with an Olympic bar, this exercise can also be executed using dumbbells.

Bottom Line

In the gym, incorporating compound exercises into your routine is a swift and effective method to amplify your gains. Rotate your workout regimen every few weeks by integrating new compound exercises.

Compound exercises offer significant advantages in terms of muscle growth and strength enhancement without unnecessary complexity. It’s crucial to execute these exercises with proper form to prevent potential injuries.