People often believe they don’t have time to add strength or resistance training to their exercise routine, but this doesn’t have to be the case. By incorporating a few simple movements into your exercise routine, you can target all of your major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, back, abdomen, hips, and legs) in only a few minutes.

The secret is compound movements. This type of exercise allows you to stress multiple muscle groups at the same time. Think about a push-up. While it seems like you may only be using your arms to propel yourself up and down, you’re actually using your shoulders, chest, back, and abs throughout the movement. Try comparing this to a bicep curl. The compound movement of a pushup engages three different muscle groups, while the isolated bicep curl only stresses one muscle on one side of your body.

By prioritizing compound movements in your workout, you will be able to work more muscles in less time. Here are a few examples to get started! Each exercise can be modified to meet your personal needs. So, no matter what your fitness history may be, you can include different compound movements into your personal exercise routine.

Now, let’s get moving

01 Exercise: Squats

Works your: Hips, legs, abs

Stand with legs just wider than hip-distance apart. Lower your body as if sitting back into a chair. To stand back up, push through your heels to straighten your legs. If this movement is too challenging, try sitting down in a chair then returning to standing without using your arms for support.

02 Exercise: Push-ups

Works your: Chest, shoulders, abs, back

Begin in a plank position with only your hand and toes on the ground. Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the ground then push through the base of your palms to return to the starting position. To modify, try putting your knees on the ground or doing standing push-ups against a wall or bench.

03 Exercise: Bicycle crunches

Works your: Abs, arms, legs, back

Lay on the ground with your back touching the floor and your hands behind your head. Allow your knees to bend so that your feet rest on the ground. Pull your right knee toward your left elbow as you try to make them touch above your abdomen. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

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