The Best High Intensity Cardio For Compound Exercises

Our end goal is to design a workout that leads to your ideal body with maximum power. I’ve introduced the three primary exercises are push, pull and legs in my previous blog. Today, let’s dive deeper into these muscle groups for the best high intensity cardio.

Combining Muscle Groups Into Optimal Compound Exercises

Now is the fun part, where we get to see which exercises combine those six muscle groups and give us maximum power using the most optimal compound exercises.

Push Exercises (chest, shoulders, forearms, back and triceps)

  • Barbell Bench Press (Incline and Flat) 
  • Dumbbell Bench Press (Incline and Flat)
  • Push Ups (Spiderman, Superman, regular)
  • Dips
  • Triceps Pushdown
  • Dumbbell Overhead (Military) Press
  • Barbell Overhead (Military) Press

Pull (biceps, shoulders, forearms and back)

  • Pull-Up  
  • Chin-Up
  • Seated Rows
  • Lat Pulldown (Wide- and Close-Grip)  

Legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves)

  • Barbell Squat 
  • Reverse Barbell Lunge
  • Bulgarian Split Lunge
  • Deadlift
  • Leg Press

How Many Compound Exercises Should I Do Per Workout?

To get the most out of your workout I recommend sticking to 3-6 compound exercises per workout session.  There are three primary reasons for this including:

  • Allows proper time for recovery
  • Allows you to work all major muscle groups
  • Works to create synergy between HIIT and Yoga

Do 3-6 Compound Exercises Per Workout

The Isolation Exercises

While there are literally dozens of isolation exercises, similar to compound exercises we’ll be focusing on a few of the most important ones, which function to bulletproof the most common problem areas like your back, hips and knees.

Just keep in mind, very few if any “isolation” exercises only focus on one muscle. This is term is used quite loosely since in reality most isolation exercises simply “emphasize” a targeted muscle while engaging other muscles in the surrounding area. To keep it simple, we’ll call these isolation exercises.

For example, if you have challenges with back problems, there’s a good chance that your abdominal muscles are weak and by strengthening them you may be able to reduce or eliminate those problems.

And let’s not forget the powerful synergy of yoga from the Fired Up program, which, interestingly enough, is also the primary form of exercise recommended by doctors to fix back pain.

Core Strength & Stability

The importance of strengthening your core (abdominal muscles) cannot be underestimated and will be addressed in all three of our synergistic disciplines – yoga, HIIT and strength training. And while various compound exercises do address the sought after six-pack abs, research shows they don’t involve much of the “show” muscles of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and external obliques to actually give you a six-pack.

Accordingly, you’ll need to do some targeted core work as well as shed unnecessary fat using an advance diet program like The Power Diet if you really want to get those six-pack abs.

And more importantly, since most people tend to avoid doing core work, you’ll need to create a strong belief that core work brings immense benefits to your daily life in order to actually commit to doing it and seeing long-term results.

To help you in your efforts I’ve broken down the muscles and how they enhance and make your daily life more enjoyable with less pain.  Notice how the following four muscles play into your own personal circumstances and feel free to go back and change your Circle of Results Model if you struggle with core work.

  • Your Six Pack – Your six pack is technically called the “rectus abdominis,” which is the long, flat muscle that extends vertically between your pubis and your fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs. Your six-pack helps you flex your spinal column so you can bend over and pick up that bag of groceries. It also helps with side bending motions and stabilizing your trunk when you need to use your legs and arms to put that bag in your car.
  • The V – Technically called “external oblique muscles,” this pair of muscles is located on each side of your rectus abdominis and runs diagonally downward and inward from your lower ribs to your pelvis, forming the letter V. These muscles allow for flexion of your spine so you can bend over and tie your shoes as well as rotate your torso so you can turn and see the driver that almost hit you on the freeway. 
  • The V Below The V – Your “internal oblique” muscles are a pair of deep muscles that are just below the external oblique muscles and reinforce the external obliques by helping you flex your spinal column, bend sideways and swing a golf club with just enough power to drive it 300 yards and win the day.
  • The Weight Belt – Your “transversus abdominis” muscle wraps around your torso from front to back and from your ribs to your pelvis. The muscle fibers of the transversus abdominis run horizontally, similar to a weight belt, and helps stabilize your spine so you can rearrange the chairs when guests come over or throw your woman (or man) on the bed without breaking your back.

Knee Strength & Stability

Similar to your stomach muscles, your inner thigh muscles, also known as the five adductor muscles (pectineus, gracilis, adductor longus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus) together, function to provide stability and injury prevention for your knees, hips, and lower back (to name a few).

This group of muscles creates internal rotation, which counterbalances the external rotation from your outer thighs and glutes. Essentially, this helps your knees track properly and perform compound exercises, like squats and lunges. All five adductor muscles attach to your pelvis, which means weak inner thighs could create poor balance and send you tumbling as you try to navigate a simple staircase.

While the adductors pull your leg inward, your abductor muscles in your hips pull your legs away from the midline of your body. Basically, every time you step to the side, get in the car or get out of bed, you’re using your abductors. If you have underdeveloped or neglected abductors you’ll most likely feel vulnerable in your knee joints and struggle with the basics like standing, walking and running with ease.

Shoulder Strength & Stability

Last but not least, your shoulders are also made up of a group of muscles starting with the primary muscle – the deltoid. As the largest shoulder muscle covering of your glenohumeral joint, your deltoids have different muscle fibers that are responsible for different actions, like raising your arm when you need to clutch the steering wheel and get off the freeway before you miss your exit. 

The strength of your deltoid is also responsible for preventing joint dislocation when you’re carrying that big heavy luggage bag that weighs 100 pounds and doesn’t want to squeeze into the trunk.

But perhaps the most neglected of all is the rotator cuff. As a group of muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint, the rotator cuff’s job is to keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of your shoulder. 

Injuries to the rotator cuff are quite common. I mentioned my struggles earlier but this happens to anyone who is either aging or does a lot of repetitive motion like artists, musicians, painters, carpenters, and people who play baseball or tennis. Without strength and agility in your rotator cuff you may find yourself up all night counting sheep because it’s too painful to sleep on your side (assuming you’re a side sleeper).

Fortunately, we’ll be addressing the deltoid and the four muscles in your rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) so you can bulletproof your shoulders as well as your knees.

The Biceps Brachii

The biceps brachii (AKA biceps) is a double-headed muscle involved in the movement of your elbow and shoulder. The short head of each biceps brachii originates at the top of your scapula while the long head originates just above your shoulder joint. Both heads are joined at your elbow and help control the motion of your shoulder and your elbow when lifting that bag of groceries or that six-pack of beer (depending on the day of the week).

We’ve now combined muscles and should now give you a better idea on what we can do for optimal compound exercises. If you’d like to learn more, check out the Fired Up program here.

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