This article is going to be one that is based strictly on my experience as an intermediate gym goer. I am not a professional personal trainer. I have been very fortunate to work with some of the best trainers in the world through my career as a healthy chef, and I believe these are exercises that everyone should at least get comfortable with. Always consult a professional before trying any of these exercises. These are my personal preference, but exercises I have performed many times.
Why are these exercises so great you ask? I've read enough articles and learned from enough trainers that it's not about how long you work out, but how effectively you work out. I believe that exercises with more muscle groups moving together will burn more calories and yield better results. Here's my list of 5 compound movements you should try if you want to get the most out of your workout.
Squats - This one is probably one of the best exercises you should do. It works everything below the belt, and it sure beats doing calf raises, leg extensions, and hamstring curls to achieve the same effect. You don't even need a lot of weight, just some proper form.
Pull Ups - One of my favorite exercises. There are so many variations that can work for people at any fitness level. Even if you don't want to give these guys a try just yet, you should definitely give the rowing machine a try. These exercises work your back and arms all in one motion. It does definitely help to learn proper form from a professional so you work the muscles properly.
Push Ups - You can do these anywhere. That's the beauty of this exercise. There are also many variations depending on your fitness level. You can add weight, do them inverted, or even use a bosu ball to intensify the core aspect. The key with doing these guys properly is engaging the back, and going all the way down and coming back up. Your personal trainer can help you with this!
Dead Lifts - Such a great exercise. I feel when they are done properly every muscle is used! You will definitely feel it the next day. You can do them with dumbbells, barbells, or even try one legged dead lifts. A personal trainer should definitely show you the proper way to do this exercise as you could hurt your back if it's not done properly. I don't want anyone to get hurt here!
Lunges - Another great exercise for the legs. One of my favorite ways to do this movement is walking lunges. It works all of your lower body, and will burn a lot of extra calories. I love using dumbbells or a barbell on my back.
The final note I will say about these exercises is that they are great for working out your abs as well. You need to use a lot of these muscles to stabalize your body while performing these movements. You will kill more birds with one stone while doing these compound exercises and you should get your personal trainer to show you how to perform these moves properly. Good luck in your future workouts!