You might associate cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling and swimming with losing weight, but lifting weights can be beneficial too. With weight training, the more muscles you work, the more calories you burn and the faster your weight loss. Deadlifts work many of the major muscles in your body, from the hamstrings, glutes and adductors in your lower body, to the trapezius and rhomboids in your upper body and your erector spinae and abdominals of your core. This makes them an effective weight training exercise for weight loss.
To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. Given the fact it works so many muscles, a deadlift will burn more calories than an isolation move such as a biceps curl or leg extension. While an individual repetition or even a set of deadlifts will burn very few calories, 30 minutes of vigorous weightlifting can burn between 180 and 266 calories, notes Harvard Health Publications.
One thing that sets the deadlift apart from other weight training exercises is the metabolic effect it creates. When you lift weights, muscle tissue gets broken down, and to repair the tissue, your body has to increase its metabolism and rate of calorie burn. The more muscle broken down, the bigger the metabolic effect. As your glutes and hamstrings are such large muscle groups, increasing lean muscle mass in these areas will also boost your metabolism and lead to fat loss, strength coach David Bohmiller observes.
Conventional deadlifts, performed with your feet hip-width apart and arms outside your knees, might be your go-to style of deadlifting, but you may be better off with another variation when losing fat. Sumo deadlifts using a wide stance and trap bar deadlifts, performed using a trap or hex bar, are a better choice when training for weight loss as they allow you to handle maximal loads while reducing your risk of injury, notes trainer Jordan Syatt of Syatt Fitness. Perform one heavy deadlift session each week, working in the four to five repetitions per set range, advises Syatt.
Deadlifts alone won't make you lose weight or drop body fat. In fact, no exercise will make you lose weight if you're still overeating, notes coach J.C. Deen. To lose weight, your must combine your deadlifting with a calorie-restricted diet and aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week. Add other exercises into your routine such as squats, lunges, pushups, rows and bench presses, along with cardiovascular training to build a balanced physique and achieve optimal progress.
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