The One Simple Trick to Working Out Smarter

Women doing yoga workout at gym


Leg day, arm day, cardio day, strength day, pizza day…so many specifically-focused days can lead to wasted time in the gym. Let’s talk efficiency here people: compound exercises.

A compound exercise occurs when more than one muscle group is working at a time. Many standard functional moves like squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups are considered compound. Each exercise requires the use of a major muscle group while also activating a smaller group to ensure stability within the movement. Stringing together several compound exercises correctly creates a true total body workout and overall, a smarter way to work out.

Why are compound exercises considered smarter? Two main reasons:

  1. You get more bang for your buck in the time department. Rather than whiling away the hours on your bicep curls, you could easily add in a lunge each time you lift your arms. You’ll still be sculpting those guns, and your lower body and abs will feel the burn two. When moves are combined efficiently, you can literally cut your workout time in half.
  1. Compound exercises mimic real life motions. It’s rare that you’re presented with a heavy box at hip height to curl towards your chest. You need to squat down, squeeze those glutes, tighten those abs, and press up through your feet in order to grab and move that box. Not complicated, just compound!

Need more motivation to compound your routine? Check out the list of benefits from doing a compound exercise-loaded, total body workout:

  • Burn more calories: More muscles moving = increased heart rate = calories burned during and after your workout
  • Reduce injuries: Simulating real-life movements in your routine helps to increase your joint strength and flexibility; this is huge in preventing future injuries.
  • Increase coordination and balance: If your body is conditioned to work multiple muscle groups together, playing that pickup basketball game this weekend or trying a new fitness class will be a piece of cake!

What are your go-to total body moves in the gym?



Shandi Rooney, the creator of the Mixx Method, is a group fitness instructor and private trainer in Scottsdale, Arizona. She currently teaches at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, and she offers small group interval training classes by appointment. For more information, call 480-652-6499.

Find StudioMixx classes at:

Follow Shandi on Instagram: @studiomixxaz

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