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The All-compound-move Workout to Maximize Size and Strength Gains

Get a total-body blast with a barrage of exercises that hit several muscle groups at once.

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 Bodybuilder Preparing to Deadlift
MRBIG_PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty
 Bodybuilder Preparing to Deadlift
MRBIG_PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty

Before we present you with the actual workout, let’s quickly discuss why an all-compound lifting session is nothing less than totally awesome (at least some of the time). First of all, basic, multi-joint movements work not only a primary body part, but also assisting and stabilizing muscles as well. This alone makes them worth the price of admission.

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Second, compound exercises allow for the use of the heaviest weights, which is not only a ton of fun, but also puts you in full beast-mode status for the entire 1-2 hours you get to spend at the gym. And, let’s face it—there’s nothing more productive than taking out all of your stress and aggression on some bar-bending iron. 

Finally, an all-compound-pounding workout requires only a handful of exercises (and basic equipment), which when combined into a comprehensive program, will literally fry every muscle in your body, from head to toe. This is a very efficient way to train, especially when you can only get to the gym 2-3 days per week.

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The exercises

Barbell Deadlift
 *Tip: Do not bounce the barbell off the floor on each rep. Rather, make sure the bar is at a complete stop before you pull so that only muscle power is utilized (and not momentum).

Legs Press
 *Tip: Use a wide and high stance to powerfully engage (along with quads) the adductors, hamstrings, and glutes. Make sure your thighs are buried into your chest at the bottom of each rep.

Incline Barbell Press
*Tip: For maximum pectoral stimulation make sure to keep your rib cage high, lower back slightly arched, and shoulders shrugged down and back into the bench.

Close-Grip Bench Press
 *Tip: To make sure this exercise torch the triceps, go to full lockout at the top of the rep and squeeze.

Wide-Grip Upright Row
 *Tip: To effectively hit both the delts and traps, take a shoulder-width grip on the bar and raise it to about chin-level.

Chinup
*Tip: Make this movement as productive as possible by allowing for a full stretch of the lats at the bottom to build back width. At the top, squeeze the biceps hard so you’re top billing at any gun show.

Routine

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The Compound Workout

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 6

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
14, 10, 8, 6
Rest
3 min
Exercise 2 of 6

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
14, 10, 8, 6
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
4
Reps
14, 10, 8, 6
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
10, 8, 6
Rest
2 min
Exercise 5 of 6

Barbell Upright Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
12, 10, 8
Rest
90 sec
Use wide grip.
Exercise 6 of 6

Chinup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
3
Reps
AMRAP
Rest
90 sec
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