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The Effects of Deadlifts

author image Heather Hitchcock
Heather Hitchcock has been writing professionally since 2010. She has contributed material through various online publications. Hitchcock has worked as a personal trainer and a health screening specialist. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science.
The Effects of Deadlifts
A deadlift is a compound exercise that requires at lot of energy. Photo Credit: matthiasdrobeck/iStock/Getty Images

Weightlifters love or hate deadlifting. They love it because of its numerous benefits, hate it because it is a challenging, energy-demanding exercise. The movement simulates real-life activity such as bending over and picking up and stresses multiple muscle groups in both the upper and lower body. The deadlift affects the body in numerous ways because it is a functional exercise that will encourage muscle growth and strength and decrease your risk for injury and back pain.

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Stimulates Multiple Muscle Groups

The deadlift is a compound, multiple-joint movement that works nearly all of the major muscle groups. Aside from Olympic power exercises such as the snatch or clean-and-press -- which involve the deadlift movement -- the deadlift is the only exercise that can stimulate muscle growth in both the upper and lower body. The deadlift primarily targets the glutes, but also stimulate the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, spinal erectors, latissimus dorsi, trapezius and abdominals.

Increases Strength and Muscle Growth

The deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for increasing overall strength and muscle growth. Compound exercises such as the deadlift may stimulate a greater release of growth hormone and testosterone than isolation exercises, resulting in greater improvements in muscle growth, certified strength and conditioning specialist Jacob Wilson explains. Deadlifting using a heavy resistance, with which muscle fatigue occurs in fewer than eight repetitions, can also result in increases in muscle strength and power.

Fat Loss

The deadlift is high-energy exercise that can help lower your body-fat percentage and increase your lean muscle tissue, giving men and women a lean, shapely physique. Weight-training exercises that use large muscle groups -- such as those you work performing the deadlift -- with an increasing resistance can help improve your lean body weight and raise your metabolism for hours after exercise, notes Not only will you burn extra calories performing the deadlift, but, over time, the increase in lean muscle tissue will rev your overall metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day, which further contributes to your caloric deficit.

Daily Life and Injury Prevention

The deadlift is a functional exercise helping to improve motor development and strength used often in both sports and daily activity. Deadlifting can help improve performance in many sports, because muscles you work during the exercise are necessary for running faster, jumping higher and generating overall power. Deadlifting also helps to prevent injuries in the knee and lower back. Building strong glutes and hamstrings may prevent overuse injuries in the knee such as patello-femoral pain, patellar tendinosis and tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, performance coach Mike Robertson explains. Regular deadlifting may also reduce low-back pain by strengthening the spinal erectors and teaching you how to lift correctly in everyday life, thus preventing back injuries resulting from poor lifting techniques. Always perform the deadlift with proper form; if you are unclear on any aspect of the deadlift, consult a certified fitness professional for instruction. You should also check with your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your fitness regimen.

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