4 of my GO-TO Compound Exercises

If you have ever been to one of my HIIT classes you are sure to know these exercises, because they are ‘go-to’s for me when training clients. I love them because each exercise is a dynamic working of numerous muscle groups and they get that heart rate pumping.

1) Push Up Row:

The push up is arguably the best upper body exercise that also builds core strength. In this variation, you add a dumbell row to the traditional push up. This modification increases the intensity of the exercise while it activates the core stabilizers and engages the back muscles. This compound exercise uses muscles in the chest shoulders, arms, back, abs and even the legs.

How to execute:


  • Start in a push up position with each hand on a dumbbell. Begin with light weights as you perfect your form.
  • Keep hands directly beneath your shoulders- your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging in the middle or arching your back.



  • Keeping your core tight lower yourself down into a pushup and then back up.



  • Once you return to the start position you add in a dumbell row: raising one dumbbell while stabilizing your body with the other arm. Being sure not to rotate your torso as you perform the row.
  • Return the dumbell gently to the ground and perform another pushup, followed by a row on the opposite side to complete one rep.

2) One Armed Dumbbell Swing:

Not only is this exercise great for training your glutes and hamstrings-muscles that can often be neglected- it also works your core, quadriceps and shoulders. Not to mention is can double as a cardio workout!

How to execute:



  • Standing with your feet a little bit wider than shoulder width apart, keep your lower back slightly arched, bend at your hips and knees as you lower your torso to a 45-degree angle to the floor.



  • Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees, and swing the dumbbell up to chest level as you rise to the standing position.



  • Reverse the movement and swing the dumbbell back between your legs to complete one rep.

3) Forward Lunge with Shoulder Press:

Here we have another pairing of two great exercises that allows you to simultaneously train your shoulders, hips and thighs, not to mention your abs too! Reason being, because you are holding the weight on only one side of your body, you force your core muscles to work overtime to keep you from falling over.

How To Execute:



  • Starting with your feet together and dumbbell in one hand at shoulder level. Engage your core as you step forward with your opposite leg.
  • While lowering your body into a lunge position, press the weight directly toward the ceiling, being sure to keep your bicep close to your ear as you hold your arm straight up.
  • Pushing off your front foot as you lower your weight and return to the start position to complete one rep.

4) Plank with Jumping Knee Tuck

With this exercise we crank up the cardio while working your abs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips, shoulders and back! This one packs a punch!

How to execute:



  • Start in full plank position with both feet straight behind you.
  • Drawing your abs in you hop as you sweep both feet in towards the outside of your torso while driving your knees toward the outside of one elbow.
  • Keeping your hips low you hop your feet back straight behind you and then perform the same movement on the other side.



Amy Coppens About Amy Coppens

Iā€™m passionate about fitness, health and helping others achieve their goals and as a result their best life.


  1. Chelsea Aboud says:

    love it Amy! Really enjoy seeing impactful changes to my workout that are ‘easy’ to understand! Thanks!

    • Amy Coppens says:

      Thanks Chelsea! Glad you enjoyed! Let me know how you like the exercises! Hope all is well with your training šŸ™‚

Share your thoughts