Body Power ProTeam member and CrossFit star Zack George lists his top three compound movements and why you should add them to your training routine.


After over 10 years in competing, I have completed countless hours of training and performed several different exercises, some I’ve grown to like and others not so much.

Before going into my top three exercises and why, we first need to understand what a compound exercise actually is.

A compound exercise is a movement that works several muscle groups at once. The deadlift, for example, is a compound movement as it recruits your quads, hamstrings lower back and core. In comparison, a leg extension would be an isolation exercise, not a compound movement, as it only works the quadriceps and no other muscle group.



My number one go-to compound movement is the pull-up, working your back, biceps and core. This is a staple in my routine each week and I perform many different variations of the movement including strict pull-ups, strict weighted pull-ups and strict weighted chest to bar pull-ups. I then perform CrossFit specific pull-ups such as butterfly pull-ups and butterfly c2b.

Having the strength to perform pull-ups well has so many benefits that transfer into more complex exercises such as ring or bar muscle ups.

Front Squats

My number two compound movement is the front squat, working your quads, hamstrings, lower back and core.

The reason I have listed the front squat over the back squat is, for CrossFit, front squats have more of a transfer over into lifts such as the squat clean. Performing front squats increases your range of mobility as you really have to work to maintain good upright stability while holding the bar in the front rack position. Keeping the weight in this position also challenges your core a lot more than a back squat does. Having a good squat really is the foundation of having a strong overall body, so I perform these twice a week, with reps ranging from four to eight for five sets.

Ring Dips

My third favourite compound movement would be ring dips (again, I’ve chosen a non-conventional variant of the exercise). Dips work your chest, front shoulders, triceps and core, and performing them on rings forces you to work harder and recruit a lot of small stabilising muscles due to the rings’ instability. You really have to work hard on maintaining a tight midline and staying strong and stable in your upper body to prevent the rings from moving outwards. I perform ring dips weighted, and with just my own body weight for high reps. Being efficient in ring dips has allowed me to build a good starting position for more advanced moves like ring muscle ups, and helps build pressing power out of the top of the movement.

So these are my top three compound movements—give them a go to build a good solid foundation!

Guest post by Zack George, professional CrossFit athlete and Body Power ProTeam member. Follow Zack on Instagram here!