T Nation

Too Many Compound Movements?


I heard that compound exercises are best for increasing mass. I know squat and bench are at the top. Other exercises like chin-ups, pull ups deadlifts. I never hear anyone mention power cleans. Why is that?

Also, when you're working out each muscle group isolated, how the heck do you incorporate all these compound movements without messing up another training day?

Finally, I'm thinking that dropping certain muscle group sets to 2 for every different isolated exercise to incorporate a little compound. Is that smart?


1) Many people leave out the olympic exercises due to lack of equipment or training.

2) If you're doing mostly compound movements, you shouldn't need much in the way of isolation work.

3) Isolation work is mostly for bringing up your weak areas, or to address a sticking point. You'll get the most bang for your buck by sticking to compound exercises for the most part.


It's sort of hard to tell you how compound lifts fit into a schedule if we don't know yours. A classic way of splitting the body is push pull legs. So pressing movements primarily the first day, dead lifts rows and pulldowns/chins the second, squats stiff leg deads leg press leg curl or whatever you choose the third.


well wat i do is follow a bit of the oldschool HIT idea.i work out the whole body in one workout, abt once every five days.of coz im natural!
mostly compounds give me max bang for my buck ie time spent in gym.
for eg i do heavy pushpresses,weighted chins,heavy shrugs,heavy front squats/back squats.

these mostly take the wind outa me.later as i catch my breath i use some time on my girlfriends fav part on me,biceps.yeah i hate to say this but i feel the need to indulge a lil bit in arms training.like really pumping them up by rather lighter loads an reps up to 16.
see the compounds get the req GH an testosterone spurt goin.an the arms pumping keeps me girl feelin funny and nice,if u kno wat i mean


Why is it indulging to train your arms? It's like people carry a badge of honor for not training a bodypart, it doesn't make sense.


Completely agreed. It's like people have to put some disclaimer whenever they mention that they do exercises for a specific body part (especially arms for some reason).

Personally I think compounds are great, but that doesn't mean that isolation exercises are useless.


I think certain versions of the Olympic lifts are great for many lifters (athletes and bodybuilders). I also believe that most people don't need to perform the full versions of these lifts unless they are competing in Olympic Weightlifting. Most will do just fine with one-arm versions and the "power" or "hang" versions of these lifts.

At the same time, I don't believe the Olympic lifts and their hybrids should take the place of other compound lifts such as squats and deadlifts.

Think about it: Can you hang/power clean or snatch more than you can squat and deadlift? I seriously doubt it.

So why would you replace squats and deadlifts with Olympic lifts? The squats and deadlifts will be better for overall size and strength.

I would use the Olympic lifts for "speed days" or as a part of your routine but not exclude the squats or deadlifts. If you do include them, be sure to begin the workout with the Olympic lifts (or any other speed or dynamic movement - jump variations, sprints, plyos, etc.) and then follow with your squats or deadlifts (or other compound lifts).

As for structuring your workouts to include Olympic lifts, compound lifts and some isolation exercises, it's not too difficult if you plan it accordingly throughout the week. Just don't try to do everything in one day.


Well, damn I guess iv been doing it wrong. Train once a week unless you take steroids. Sounds like good advice.



Definitely train your arms- I dont care what anybody tells you, the guys with the biggest arms definitely do train arms directly. Yeah you'll hear some oddball idiot say he has super huge high peaked monster arms and never curled a thing, but that guy is 1 in a million and the other 999,999 guys had to do arms directly to get theirs.




Does it really take you five days to recover from one workout? Are you using 1 workset for each bodypart(because you mentioned HIT) or multiple sets and or exercises?


buddy...i need to give you some advice. and im not trying to be a smart ass, or discourage you in any way. at the top of the page, between "customize" and "testosterone" there is the search function.

for certain things youll want to search the entire site and just see what comes up. for things that you remember seeing in an actual artile, change it so that it only searches articles.

anyway, you need to stop treating this all like some huge chemical equation that you cant figure out how to balance, and read some things. BUT you also need to understand that once you find something that is geared towards your goals, you need to STOP and give it a chance to work.

for example, youre not going to be able to do Chad Waterbury's Total Body Training (TBT) and Christian Thibaudeau's (sorry if thats misspelled, going from memory) HSS-100 at the same time. While they are both very good programs, they work off of basically opposite training parameters.

for the time being, stop asking questions. it almost sounds like youve read too many muscle magazines.

either post a question asking "what's the best routine on T-Nation to _________ (fill in goal here. ex: gain mass, increase strength, increase endurance, increase sprinting speed, etc.)" and then use the search function to find the routines that people tell you about (remember, search within articles, not the whole site), or go to the section that has all of the authors listed, pick an author, and start reading. You'll soon find an author that you seem to connect with, and then just start reading their stuff.

But REMEMBER: pick ONE routine and give it a month or so and try it out, DO NOT try and incorporate different parts of different routines, at this stage you will definitely fuck that up.

and btw, if you give a routine a try for a week, and you hated it since the first day, theres no need to give it the month, that routine probably isnt the one for you. the routine for you is going to be the one that has you trying new things, busting your ass in the gym to where you feel very accomplished after your workout, but you dont hate it such that it makes you want to stay out of the gym.

if you find a routine that makes you hate going to the gym, sticking with it is probably doing more harm than good, because its fucking with your motivation. while it may be an awesome routine for those that can stick with it, its just not for you.

lastly, i personally did that muscle and fiction "king kamali's delt routine" and "chris cormier's arms routine" and everything else they advertised, 20 sets for arms and all of this crap. it didnt work for me. not that it doesnt work, it just wasnt the time for me. i was trying to isolate and anhilate everything. dones cant grow muscle.

point being, this is the point where i make my own personal suggestion to you: Chad Waterbury's Total Body Training. go to the search, click "search site" then on the right top drop box, change it to "articles" and type in "total body training". should be the first thing that comes up.

heck, i think i have the link somewhere around here...


and just a little "btw" to everyone...

good to see some familiar names in this thread. i dont know if ive just been clicking into the wrong threads or what, but it seems like the whole site lately has been full of 14yr olds just getting into training, posting EVERYWHERE! not that they shouldnt be allowed to or anything...

but, it was getting scary, glad to see theres still a bunch of familiars around


Back when I was a teen(2 months ago) kids had some respect for those that came before them and sat and listened while the experienced folks talked. I think my register date is 2005 or so but I was here at least a year before that just reading through the archives, finding people like Professor X or other good posters and searching through what they've said before.

Not trying to be a jerk sed26 but you've made probably 10 threads already and every single one of your answers are in the articles or been discussed over and over again. The search button muscle should be isolated and hit with very high frequency and volume .The start a new post muscle is best trained with very low frequency and volume.

You seem to be looking for something magic but really the key to this is cosistency+time=success


The search function ain't all that great. For one when you type in a subject there's just too much stuff to look through. Secondly, I like to plan ahead in my routine phases so I won't have to do any last minute thinking. Most of my questions probably couldn't be found in the search function anyway unless you had a lot of spare time to kill. But yea, I'll try not to post useless shit anymore.


Most of the threads you have started have contained questions that are answered in the first one or two search results. If you dont have the time to skim two articles, you shouldnt have the time to post questions and check for responses.


I made a long post about the search but I changed my mind, if you don't think it's valuable that's up to you but don't expect people to give you reasonable answers to posts like "are steroids bad" or "why 5-6 meals a day".

How many phases of training do you need to go through? What has worked and what hasn't? It's pretty hard to tell if you haven't given a program a few months to see how it fits your personality goals etc.. Find something that will work long term like a basic powerlifting template and stay with it.

Change up exercises when they grow stale but keep everything the same that's still working for you. You are hoping to supercompensate with dual factor training here, but you are asking how to even incorporate compound movements into a program, don't you see a problem there?

I don't want this post sounding aggressive or mean or anything, I want people who are young and eager to get set up on the right path and not bounce around from program to program because it's the hot thing at the moment and not be getting the results you should be.

It's a really hard sell to people that basics are best and less is usually more. If I give someone a Milos Sarcev giant set routine for legs with 4 exercises per bodypart and flashy techniques most beginners would think it's great. If I give someone a 20 rep squat routine where they are driving up their squats from a hypothetical 135x20-225x20 along with some stiff leg deads done progressively as well they will think nah not enough for me. Which one is really what you need at this point though?

Pay your dues with the basics early in the game and you'll be reaping the benefits of it later and then hopefully passing it on to another person or ten.


If you expect others to put more effort into your success than you do, you are destined to fail.


I "wasted" a year of training time doing the usual exercises, before I met a powerlifting type trainer who slowly convinced me the compound lifts were the only way to go...every workout for me is based around a compound lift.

Personally, I would love to start all of the Oly lifts, the sole reason I haven't is I can't find a trainer who is comfortable to teach them and I'm hesitant to jump in with no knowledge of the lifts. So, I'm doing all the research I can for the time being.


I took the advise and considered it useful until all of you blatantly just started attacking me just because I am not a so-called pro and started making comments about teens and how ignorant we are, as if I'm not giving you the respect that you deserve.

I'm pretty sure I heard the first guy give advise about the search function but it was really mature to make those smart remarks...Looks like I'm not the only want who has some growing up to do. I think preety much everything that needed to be said was in the really long post but the extras came off to me as attacks. Surely they weren't necessary.


Try not to be too sensitive. You'll need thicker skin to survive around here, or just about anywhere else that matters in the real world.

It's better to focus on the advice given, rather than the way it was given.