6 Best Compound Exercises To Build Muscle Mass!

compound exercises

What’s The Problem?

You can spend ages slogging away in the gym and get nowhere. Without the foundation knowledge of core exercises, we tend to lose sight of our mass building goals. The major muscle building exercises should be the starting point towards muscle building and yet they are often overlooked. These should also be structured into the majority of your workouts even when you progress to an advanced level. These simple exercise workouts are what we call compound exercises.


What Are Compound Exercises?

Compound workouts are the basic gym exercises to use. They should be used at all levels of experience and be some of the first exercises that you should be introduced to when you first join a gym.
Compound exercises involve large movements, utilizing multiple joints; they aim at stimulating a large volume of muscle fibers at one time with maximal muscle recruitment and with more of a stimulus for muscle growth. Compound exercises should be performed using free weight rather than machines, as free weights will induce a wider range of muscles to perform the exercise, stimulating a larger range of muscles to maximise muscle growth.


Why Do Them: Compound Exercises vs. Isolation Exercises

Compound exercises are the best exercise for mass building. With six basic movements, we can hit everything we need to build mass. Only once compound exercises are understood and done correctly, you can then include other isolation exercises within your workout routine.
Isolation movements are often some of the first exercises we see everyone doing in their first gym sessions. The most common of these include the classic, dumbbell curl –  a great exercise, but not on its own and without building upon it. Isolation movements involve stimulating a smaller range of specific muscles. They involve putting maximum stress on a specific muscle. They are excellent for concentrating on single muscles, developing, and “sculpting” it in a refined method. By all means, utilise isolation movements to target specific muscles and to break boundaries in strength and muscle growth, but focus on the compounds.

The compound routines involve multiple joint movements and muscle groups. The basic movements include: Horizontal push and pull, Vertical push and pull, Hip dominant, and Quad dominant.


What Are The Best Compound Exercises For Mass?

The best compound exercises are all standard multi-joint movements that you should get to grips with as soon as you begin training. You should also spend the time to perfect each and every one of these movements as they will help build overall thickness and a good ‘foundation’ for future development. They will also help you to understand how to control large body movements, while developing the neural capacity needed, so that you can execute movements in the correct form, to target a specific muscle or muscle group. They will also go along way to help build and strength your core and your overall ability to shift and manipulate weight-loads in a more dynamic manner.

Here are some of the best compound exercises for mass building:


Bench Press

The major muscle groups include: Pecs, triceps, and front of the shoulders
The minor muscle groups include: Serratus muscles at side of ribs, side of shoulders, and neck.

Best Compound Exercises

Bench Press


Shoulder Press

The major muscle groups include: Shoulders, triceps.
The minor muscle groups include: Core stabilizing muscles, neck.

Best Compound Exercises

Dumbbell Shoulder Press


Lat Pull-Downs

The major muscle groups include: Lats and upper back, biceps, grip.
The minor muscle groups include: Core, neck.

Best Compound Exercises

Lat Pull-down


Seated Rows/ Bent Over Rows

The major muscle groups include: Latissimus Dorsi, Middle Trapezius and Rhomboids, Erector Spinae.
The minor muscle groups include: Biceps Brachii.

Best Compound Exercises

Seated Rows

Best Compound Exercises

Bent Over Barbell Row



The major muscle groups include: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
The minor muscle groups include: Lower legs, upper back, core stabilizing muscles, hip complex.

Best Compound Exercises




The major muscle groups include: Grip, lower back, hamstrings, traps, back of shoulders.
The minor muscle groups include: Lower legs, core, upper legs, isometric work for biceps, and virtually everything else.

Best Compound Exercises



Remember that form is key when performing compound exercises, to maximise effectiveness and reduce the chance of injury. For extra tips check out muscle connectivity to better understand form and muscle control!



  1. They’re the core yet many people still forget them. whats up with these people?!

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