A compound exercise is a movement that uses more than one joint. An example in dance would be a plié – using your hips, knees, and ankles to achieve the movement.
Compound exercises use more than one muscle, so you can do more in less movement. Most functional movements in dance, such as travelling, jumping, and partnering are compound movements. So, in my mind, it would be a good idea to workout in this way too.
A lot of people in the gym focus on isolation exercises, such as bicep curls or leg extensions; these are fine, but you could do more with your time.
Now, I am not going to lie, compound exercise are generally harder than isolation exercises because you are using more muscles and you will usually be lifting heavier weights because of this, but you are going to be exercising/training a lot better, with more transferable muscle developments and strength gains.
Here are the 'super 6' fundamental compound exercises that you should do at the gym or when working out.
These exercises will hit all major muscle groups.
You don not even need to do the exercises as stated, for example many of you will not be keen on the idea of doing Pull ups (I have yet to learn to love this exercise too!) but the movement is the same as a pull down machine- where you can control the weight and work up to a full pull up. A bench press is just a push up - different exercise but the same muscles are used.
If you are using more than one joint, the exercise will relate more to normal and dance movements plus you get more “bang for your buck”.
Lets take two leg exercises. One compound, one isolation.
Compound – squat
Main muscles targeted – Glutes, Quads,
Supporting muscles – lower back, hamstrings, calves, and core.
Isolation – leg extension
Main muscles targeted – quads
Supporting muscles – minimal, as you are usually sitting in a seat.