Propel your fitness

Compound exercises are incredibly effective at boosting your fitness in a short space of time.

Professional athletes have known this for a long time and now the trend is gaining attention within the general exercising community.

Compound what? A compound exercise is any movement pattern that targets a number of muscle groups and energy levels at once. eg a burpee or mountain climbers. This is opposed to targeted exercises which focus on one muscle group eg bicep curls and shoulder press. Burpees are one of my personal favourites – this neat exercise needs no equipment, little space and can be adapted for beginners or ramped up for the super fit. This power-house move targets your core muscles, shoulders, back, legs and your cardiovascular system if you do it for more than 45 seconds.

How to do it:
• start standing • drop your hands to the floor whilst bending your knees • kick your feet out behind you so you are in a push up position • jump your feet back to your hands (deep squat position) • jump up into the air • repeat

Too difficult?
• Make your burpees easier by coming up into standing rather than jumping into the air at the end • Step your feet out into push up position • Start with 5 burpees and slowly build up the pace and repetitions

Need more of a challenge?
• Work up to 3 sets of 1 minute non-stop burpees • Add a push up before bringing your feet back to your hands • Hold light dumb bells

Another great compound exercise is the mountain climber. Here you start in a push up position with hands shoulder width apart and then bring alternate knees up to your chest. Keeping your core tight and back straight (don’t sag at the hips) start slowly and then build up to a faster run on the spot movement. The higher you bring your knees, the harder it becomes. This one also targets your core and back whilst working your shoulders and cardiovascular system.

Adding compound exercises to your existing regime will boost your fitness and give you a good all-over workout making you fitter and stronger for everyday living.

Anja Lineen Master Trainer

  • Burpees – one of the quickest ways to get a warmed up. Love it and hate it at the same time!