Build Rock Hard Muscle With Compound Sets, Part 1: Back & Biceps!

Compound setting enables you to fit in many exercises for a single body part as you can in each exercise bout. Use this workout to build a rock hard back and biceps!

One of the most effective ways to stimulate the growth of rock hard muscle in any part of the body is to totally fatigue that muscle group. It is not enough to simply fatigue a muscle group...the key to growth is the ability to utilize as many different stimuli as possible in order to achieve this goal.

If it only took one or two exercises per workout session to spark growth then training the back and biceps would be simple. In that scenario you would grow thick sweeping lats and arms with peaks reminiscent of the ski slopes in Aspen with three sets of one-arm dumbbell rows, lat pull-downs, alternating dumbbell curls and preacher curls for the biceps.

The fact of the matter is that muscle needs to be stimulated from many angles and in many ways to optimize growth. Compound setting enables you to fit in many exercises for a single body part as you can in each exercise bout.

Utilizing Supersets

Many people utilize supersets to maximize the amount of body parts that they can train during a workout session. As you may already know supersetting is the pairing up 2 exercises or more that work opposing muscle groups.

Compound setting is pairing the of two or more exercises that target the same muscle groups. Compound setting is founded on similar principals to supersetting.

The difference lies in the muscles targeted in the second exercise. The second exercise should target the same muscle group. What this does is to further recruit muscle fibers that may not get recruited from different angles.

Compounding the muscle fiber recruitment in a given area will further fatigue that area causing more damage and later on more physiological changes (growth). Compound setting also allows for you to accomplish more exercises for a certain body part in a shorter period of time.

Due to the fact that compound setting adds to the length of each particular set the muscle group will be totally decimated after only 4-6 sets.

This type of training will increase your muscular endurance as well. Each muscle in your body has a certain composition of either type 1 (muscular endurance) or type 2b (power and strength) muscle fibers.

Compound setting with a moderate to heavy weight targets both fiber types, thoroughly fatiguing the muscle. This also promotes maximal muscle growth and stokes your metabolism.

Choosing Exercises And Weights

When choosing weights to begin compound setting, choose weights that you consider to be only moderately intense until you are familiar with compound setting. Pick a weight that you know that usually can manage for 3 sets of 12 reps but not 3 sets of 15 reps.

While compound setting you may only be able to complete 8-10 reps by the 3rd set. Try to use the same poundage through the entire workout. For instance, let's take a look at the back.

First choose exercises that complement each other. For example, it would be good to use two exercises that work completely different parts of the back. I will choose lat pull-downs and rear-delt raises. Lat pull-downs will target the lats and biceps, the rear-delt raises will target the rhomboids and rear delts.

Complete one set of lat pull-downs and immediately without rest complete a set of the rear-delt raises. The completion of both exercise sets equals one full compound set.

Rest for 30-90 seconds and repeat 3 more times. Choose up to two more pair of exercises for the back taking care to choose different areas of the back with each exercise. That will amount to 24 sets in total. Because of how the workout is structured you should complete this routine in less than 40-45 minutes.

You can then do the same thing to the biceps in the next 10-15 minutes. You should only use 2 compound sets (4 exercises for 4 sets) as they are totally pre-fatigued. A great combo to hit is incline dumbbell curls and cable curls.

If you find that you cannot finish a set please stop for a couple of seconds and complete the number that you have allotted.

Beginners Compound Set: Sample Back and Biceps Day


  • Hyperextensions: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets of 10 reps (rest 30 seconds)


  • Seated Cable Rows: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Pull-overs: 4 sets of 10 reps (rest 30 seconds)


  • Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Reverse Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps (rest 30 seconds)


If you can stand the fire that will ignite in both your back and biceps and remain true to the short breaks you will feel a pump like no other workout! Build your better body with compounding one set at a time.