These exercises are all compound exercises, meaning they work more than one muscle at a time – unlike isolation exercises (think bicep curls, triceps kick backs) that only work one muscle. Because of the physical demands these compound exercises put on the body, they are the best at putting on muscle while stripping away fat.
1. Squats – you’ve probably heard it before – it is the king of all exercises. It works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and depending on the variation you are doing, it also uses a lot of upper body strength. Back squats use your back muscles, Front squats use you shoulder and upper back muscles, Zercher squats also use your bicep muscles as do Goblet Squats.
2. Deadlifts – another one that people often call the king of all exercises. This works much of the posterior chain of the body – the hamstrings, glutes as well as the lats and traps, your forearms, and even the shoulders to a smaller degree.
3. Pull-ups or Chin-ups – works the upper body better than almost any exercise including the muscles of the back, the biceps as well as your abdominals to far greater degree than you might think.
4. Bench Press – works much of the upper body muscles as well, mostly on the front side, including the chest muscles, shoulders and triceps.
5. Push press – an overhead press that uses the muscles of the shoulders, triceps, as well as using your legs to push the weight overhead.
There you have it. Make sure you include these exercises in your workout program to build the most muscle while burning the most fat.