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Deadlifts are typically thought of as an exercise for gaining massive muscles, but they can also be used to strengthen lower-back muscles while decreasing body fat. Although building strength will improve the appearance of your back and burn calories, you'll need to incorporate aerobic exercise to slim down your back more effectively. Get your doctor's approval before attempting this exercise, especially if you have previous back injuries or joint problems.
The deadlift isolates the erector spinae muscles of the lower back, which support your middle and upper back while also extending and flexing your spine. This exercise also engages the calf, hamstring, quadriceps, forearm, trapezius and glute muscles for additional muscle toning.
Proper form is essential for safety and success in lifting exercises. Keep your spine straight, your stomach muscles flexed and your knees over your ankles throughout the entire movement. Start with the barbell on the ground directly in front of your body. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly under the barbell. Bend at the knees to squat down and grab the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width. Lower yourself down more until your shins are against the barbell and your thighs are parallel to the ground. Press through your heels and stand up slowly with the barbell. Muscle & Strength notes that you should avoid looking down, lead with your head when standing up and drive your hips forward when you reach the top of the movement. Bend your knees and slowly reverse the movement to complete one repetition. Fix your stance if necessary and repeat.
Repetition and Frequency
The amount of weight you are lifting coupled with your strength will determine how many repetitions you can complete. Some people prefer to lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions, while others like to lift lighter weights for more repetitions. Whether you aim for six or 15 repetitions, you should be able to fatigue your muscles in less than 90 seconds. Muscle fatigue occurs when the last repetition feels almost impossible to complete without your form being compromised. If you can coast through one set without reaching muscle fatigue, increase the weight you deadlift. This exercise can be repeated up to three times a week, provided that you rest your muscles for at least 48 hours between deadlifts.
Building muscular strength will help combat back fat but it isn't the whole solution to your problem. According to ACE Fitness, you also need to do 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise each day to burn calories. As you burn calories and build muscle, your metabolism increases, you lose body fat and your body composition improves.