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Compound exercises are exercises that use more than one joint on the same side of the body at the same time.

An example would be using the leg press machine. In this exercise, you’re seated and put both feet, about shoulder-width apart, onto a metal plate carrying the weights. To begin the exercise, you lower the weight by pulling your knees in closer to your chest. You then complete the exercise by pushing the plate away from you until your legs are almost straight.

This is a compound exercise because two joints—your hips and knees—are involved in the motion. Compound exercises are efficient because you work a greater amount of muscle at one time.

Studies have shown improvement in many parameters, such as strength and hormone levels, when compound exercises are at the core of a strength-training program.

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