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one of those is gaining strength and muscle. For those aiming to get that dream body with toned arms, a big chest and hard abs, or just wanting to lift a crap load of weights, then weight training is the way to go.

But is it that simple? The answer is no; it’s going to take time and dedication to reach your fitness goals. A lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears – but in the end it will all be worth it when you look back at what you have achieved.

So the aim of the game is to lift weights perform different exercise to target each muscle groups. This is a good place to start, but a lot of us get too obsessed with one muscle group; training it non-stop day after day to the point that the muscle plateaus and stops growing. So instead of this, we should be performing compound exercises that work a range of muscles in one movement. Here are the top five exercises that will build strength and help you bust through your plateaus, allowing your muscles to keep growing bigger and stronger.


The bench press is a great compound Exercise that will build upper body strength and improve mid-line stabilization.

The bench press will help build a stronger chest while at the same time strengthening your forearms, wrists, shoulders and triceps. All these muscles are used to control the weight throughout the movement. Benching also helps your stabilizer muscles by working to control the barbell so it does not fall on your head.

Example session:

Perform a 5×5 (5 sets of 5 working reps). Use a light weight to warm up with then increase the weight each set as follows: 1st @ 65% 1 Rep Max, 2nd @ 70% 1 RM, 3rd @ 75% 1 RM and 4th and 5th @ 80% 1 RM. If your 1RM (the maximum weight you can perform for one rep) is 100kg, then 70% of 1RM = 70kg.




The back squat is the complete leg workout targeting quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes – but did you know it also improves core strength as well as upper back and trap development?

Squatting is beneficial for improving overall strength, and builds muscle due to the leg being a large muscle group. After a workout when you go to sleep for the night, your body starts repairing those torn muscles and your brain releases your natural GH (growth hormone) which is responsible for building muscle. Due to the size of the muscles in the legs in your body, the brain triggers your body to release more GH, and this will actually benefit other muscles in growing such as your chest and biceps.

Example session:

Complete a standard 5×5, which includes 5 reps x 5 sets. Warm up and use 75% of your 1RM as the working weight; for example if your 1RM (the maximum weight you can perform one rep) is 100kg, 75% 1RM = 75kg.



This exercise is very popular for targeting a variety of shoulder muscles including your deltoids, traps, and triceps as well. When performed seated it also targets the core helping you stabilize while pressing overhead , Once standing the exercise targets the core and leg muscles, keeping your body upright and stabilizing the barbell while performing the exercise. This great compound exercise targets many muscles in one movement, making it a functional exercise to perform and a great muscle and strength builder.




The bent over row is a great compound exercise used to target the back muscles. When performed with correct form the bent over row targets the lats, deltoid muscles and traps, and also strengthens your lower back and legs. In a standing position the bent over row works on your core and legs muscles, while your hamstrings are working to ensure you don’t fall forward while performing the movement.



This simple movement is a great compound exercise that will build strength and muscle. This exercise has long been used by military and police training to test the cadet’s strength and help build functional power. With a simple change of grip you can target many different muscles, with a wide grip you will activate your lats, and while changing to close grip works your middle and upper back.

This exercise is a great functional strength builder. For those who struggle with pull ups, I suggest using a power band or a partner to assist you in getting your chin over the bar, and over time you will build enough strength to perform many pull ups unassisted and build a great strong back at the same time.



These compound exercise offer a multi-joint movement that when performed correctly will activate many muscles at once. This increased load using many muscles at once builds overall strength and reduces your workout time. Many of these exercises don’t require much equipment making them a great exercise to perform at home.