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Build big gorilla Muscles and strength-compound movements

Updated on November 24, 2013

Go big or go home

In our muscle quest to build muscle we sometimes fall short of what we want to achieve and in other cases muscle size degenerates.People often throw in the towel because they aren’t seeing a change in themselves,Others lift on and keep trying even though not much is happening.You might be saying what the heck?

- I go to gym 6 days a week.

- I train for hours each session.

- I do like a million curls.


Question: What’s going on?"Suddenly you start thinking i have been trying this for a while now and it isn’t working".

Answer : Exactly.The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.You practically answered your own question.You train too often and for long periods.You blast your muscles with isolation sets but it doesn’t pay off.Natural body building requires all elements to be in place to build muscle that is strength,nutrition,type of exercise and recovery.

Firstly lets look at 2 individuals,the one is a 100m sprinter and the second is a marathon athlete:

100m sprinter

Large muscular body made for power and speed.Their bodies are made up of largely fast twitch muscles as well as slow twitch muscles. The point of a 100m is to explode out the blocks with power and velocity and pick up and maintain speed for that short period.The goal is to be powerful and fast.They train with heavy weights for a minimum number of reps.The race is also a maximum power effort for a minimum period.


Marathon athlete

They are skinny and don’t have much muscle mass.The force of the run is more of endurance and less power.Marathon athletes run a lot and far,the equivalent of you blasting 20 sets of 20 reps for arms.They have more slow twitch muscles


Compound lifts

A Compound exercise is are multi-joint movements that work several muscle groups at once and keeps your heart rate up and provides cardiovascular health.Compound moves engage the largest and strongest muscles in the body.The point that i am trying to make is less is more when it comes to building muscle except for the amount of weight you lift.



Compound movements develop your entire body as a whole from tendons,joints,ligaments and muscle.Compound movements strengthens the weaker muscles too which can help you to lift more and reduce injuries.



Why lift heavier weights with compound movements?


To become stronger and gain more muscle,we must lift heavy weights.Heavy weights place a lot of force on our muscles and in return our muscles will try to grow to accomplish these weight lifting tasks.Lifting larger weights will burn more calories as your basal metabolic rate will increase due to muscle mass.Our body will only enhance and change itself to adapt or to improve the way we do tasks.

a study by the University of Michigan was done by taking beginners (both men and women) through a series of moves,they were allowed to choose their own weights.After assessing their 1 rep max lift,they determined that most chose a weight well below what was needed to stimulate muscle growth.

Benefits of compound movements

- your coordination and balance improve.

- Less time at gym which could be beneficial to your personal,business life as well as start the recovery process quicker.

- Improves your core,lower back and posture

-Improves your cardiovascular system and increases your heart rate.

- It kick starts your metabolism and burns fat and calories faster.

- Your intensity and focus increases when doing these workouts often.

- Increased basal metabolic rate.

I am going to place the compound movements in five categories namely the squat,lunge,push,pull and deadlift.I am going to explain them in their simplest forms and not the variations.

The Squat

One of the most demanding exercises in the gym.The most common version is the barbell behind the neck.It uses almost all the muscles in your body but place a great force on your quadriceps(front thigh muscle),buttocks,hamstrings,lower back and hip joints.

The lower you go on the squat,the more you work these muscles.After doing a few heavy intense sets you will feel your heart rate increasing and the fat melt off of your body.



The lunge

A lunge is basically a step forward motion where you place a barbell behind your neck or use dumbells on your sides and step forward until your back knee almost touches the ground,then step back to the start position.

It works the same muscles as the squat but in a different way.It works your hip flexors on the front of your torso,the opposite of your buttocks and hamstrings.Your hip flexors influence easily you can jump and step to the side.Lunge increases your suppleness and flexibility.



The deadlift

The movement of bending over to the front with a barbell and then standing up and straightening your body.It works all the muscles in the body but puts emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings that straighten the body.The deadlift is the mother of all compound exercises due to the sheer weight you can lift up.

The pull

Pull ups

This movement is performed by using a narrow grip with your palms facing each other.The pull up is a body weight exercise that develops your entire upper body and gives you wide lads,big bicep.s and bulging rear deltoids.Pull ups are extremely demanding and intense workout.

Bent-over barbell row

It is done with a by bending over forward and arching your back with your knees slightly bent and pulling the weight of the floor towards your chest.This exercise will ensure a thick muscular back and will do wonders for your biceps and forearms.

Pull ups


Flat bench


The push

The flat bench press

Our favorite move in the gym and which we are often rated with by others.It consists of laying down flat and lifting a barbell above your chest and lowering it until you feel it stretching,then return to the top and repeat.This movements help to build your chest and triceps.Decline will build your lower pectorals and incline will work your upper pectorals.



Place yourself between two benches.Place your hands on either side of your body with your feet on the bench in front of you.Slowly lower your body down towards the floor and ensure you keep your elbows tucked in.This movement builds your triceps and shoulders.


Rep range

Reps are individual lifts of a weight.It is important to choose the right rep range to build muscle.8 to 12 reps have become the perfect gold standard for reps to build muscle.It has become the perfect bodybuilder configuration.It was developed by Thomas De-Lorme in 1945,to help soldiers recover from injuries.This is proven to most effectively stimulate growth hormone and testosterone.



What is your favorite compound movement ?

See results

Compound movements increase muscle mass and explosive strength


Its up to you whether you want to keep on doing the same thing over and over and achieve the same results or up your game with these compound movements.These lifts in conjunction with a diet,good recovery and rest will produce large gains in muscle and strength.Stay committed and lift big.


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    • musclequest profile image

      musclequest 6 years ago from Johannesburg,South Africa

      Thank you and no doubt about it,weight lifting machines limit and impair your natural motion and can cause your more dominant and stronger muscle to do all the work resulting in unequal strenght example your right vs left.Compound lifts strenghtens equaly as well as tendons,ligaments ect its great

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 6 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Very inspiring hub - I haven't been to the weight room in a while. Compound movements are far superior to weight machines.

    • musclequest profile image

      musclequest 6 years ago from Johannesburg,South Africa

      I have used the cross fit system preparing in my off season for rugby...I am also a big fan of cross fit games,..- will surely explore in a bit deeper in the future,..and you?any advice?

    • seattleamilehigh1 profile image

      seattleamilehigh1 6 years ago from Seattle, Washington

      kettle bells are probably my favorite work-out ever, other than good ol' squats of course :) Have you had much experience with the cross fit system?

    • catrus profile image

      catrus 6 years ago from Philippines

      Nice hub with good explanation about the importance of compound movements. This is a great help for beginners and experienced lifters alike.