Deadlifts aren't just for competitive lifters.
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Deadlifts aren't just for powerlifters - they're a great exercise to both work the major muscle groups in your body and increase your overall strength. Because they recruit so many muscles, deadlifts are also a great calorie burner, and including them in your weightlifting routine can help enhance the calorie burn of your workout. Here's how to include 'em in a weight loss fitness routine.
Increase Your Power
In the realm of strength-training exercises, deadlifts come in at the top of the list. The exercise comes with some clout for its usefulness in developing strength and power. The deadlift targets several muscles throughout your body including your traps, shoulder muscles, erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. While strength training is not known for its calorie-burning properties - Harvard Health Publications notes that a 185-pound person will burn only about 133 calories in 30 minutes - the fact that deadlifting recruits so many muscles, makes it one of the more effective calorie-burning strength exercises.
Go Heavy to Burn More Calories
Performing heavy deadlifts a couple times of week can help you along your journey to lose weight. Challenging yourself with heavy weights will help increase your lean muscle mass, which, over time, will help increase your metabolic rate, making your body more efficient at burning calories. Muscle is metabolically active and works harder, even at rest, than fat does. Muscle not only requires calories to maintain itself but also for repairs and recovery after each exercise bout. While increased muscle is not going to help you burn hundreds of extra calories per day, it is thought that one pound of muscle burns about six calories per day at rest, compared to fat's two calories, so muscle can help you get on the right track. Two to three sets of six to 12 heavy deadlifts can be performed two to three days per week.
Keep It Light
If losing weight is your only concern and you'd rather not fuss with the hubbub of building muscle, using lighter weights for deadlifts may be more up your alley. Lighter weights still challenge your muscles but allow you to perform higher repetitions. Higher repetitions require more time to perform each set, which will force your body to tap into its aerobic energy system. This increases the calorie burn of your workout, improving your odds of weight-loss success using only deadlifts. Aim for two to four sets of 15 to 20 repetitions of light deadlifts on two to four nonconsecutive days per week.
While deadlifts can be an effective tool to keep in your weight-loss arsenal, they can't do the job alone. Altering your diet is just as important, if not more, than the physical activity you perform. Overeating can sabotage every effort you make in the gym to lose weight. Keep track of what you eat to ensure that you're consuming fewer calories than you're burning, thereby creating a calorie deficit so you can actually burn fat. Make smart choices in the kitchen, leaning towards fresh, nutritious foods.