Rather than isolation exercises, which just work one muscle group, compound exercises are multi-joint movements which help you get a full-body workout with only a few exercises.
The great thing about compound exercises is that you can get more work done in a reasonably short amount of time.
Sure, there’s a time and place for isolation exercises – if you’ve injured yourself, for example, or you want to tone just one muscle group, but for an all-round workout, compound exercises are the way forward.
Here are three great compound exercises which will guarantee you great abdominals:
The Swiss Ball Tuck works the abs, as well as your arms and legs at the same time. It brings together good balance with strength. You’ll need a Swiss ball (obvs!) and trying hard not to wobble you need to get into a press up position with your shins on the ball. Tuck your knees in towards your chin as the ball rolls back towards your toes – see here
The hanging knee raise is an advanced core exercise which is done while hanging from a pullup bar. It targets the abs, and in particular the rectus abdominis – the six pack to you and I. The hanging knee raise only thoroughly works the abdominal muscles if you perform the movement correctly and through its complete range of motion. It’s done by lifting the knees right up towards your chest as you suspend from the bar, and it’s best if you begin to round your back so you can get your knees as far to your chest as possible.
The Decline Leg Raise is great for working the lower abs. The idea is to lie on a decline bench backwards with your head at the top end. Maintaining a plank position and keeping your toes pointed throughout, raise your straight legs up as far as possible. Don’t rest at the top, take them back down and repeat straight away.
These are great to see. Can we have more compound moves please - ideal for busy people like me!
Hanging knee raise is imo one of the toughest, but most effective exercises you can do. I did a lot last year when training for the adrenaline rush obstacle run - made it up to 100 a day in the end!!
I find anything done with an exercise ball ends up being a compound move as I struggle to keep my balance. I will try these other ones next time the gym though.
Anything which means I get more done in less time is great! Can you do some which we can do at home too?
I've tried the Swiss Ball one before and I can say it really does work the abs, but it's so hard to do if you're not particularly good at balancing!! Needs a bit of practice!
I have to say I have just tried the fitness ball one - ha ha - trying to keep yourself balanced definitely works plenty of muscles. I can't say I managed it very well but it made me smile.
I have to be honest and say the hanging exercises are beyond me - but great to see where it could all lead. Journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step...
The decline leg raise is a good one but you need to keep your stomach tight and back straight. Let it round out and you're straining your back, not working your abs.
Thanks for this - it's always handy to have videos to work from and some of these moves I haven't tried before.