What Is One Single Exercise That Works the Whole Body?

The deadlift helps you create efficient workouts.
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Some people might not mind working out for hours at a time, but others prefer to get in and out as quickly as possible -- after all, you've got other things to do. If efficiency is a priority of yours when it comes to working out, consider moving from isolation exercises, which work only one muscle at a time, to compound exercises, which work multiple muscles. One particularly effective multimuscle movement is the deadlift, which enables you to work your entire body at once. Consult your doctor before adding new exercises to your routine.

Performing the Deadlift

    If you want to work all of the muscles the deadlift should be working, you need to use proper form. To perform the deadlift, begin with a loaded barbell on the ground in front of you. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and squat down to grip the bar with both hands, using an overhand grip. Keep your hips low and drive your feet into the ground to provide the force to straighten your legs and lift the barbell off the ground. Keep the bar close to your body as you lift it to minimize extraneous movement that will waste your effort. Bring the weight up to your waist, then reverse the motion to lower the weight back to the ground.

Targeted Muscles

    There is no exercise that works every single muscle in your body -- there are simply too many muscles in your body that are totally unrelated. But the deadlift does come as close as you can hope to achieve, as it works muscles in your upper body, lower body and core. The deadlift works your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back, upper back, abdominals and obliques. Your shoulders and arms also help you support the barbell as you lift it off the ground.


    The deadlift provides many benefits. This complex exercise can help encourage the release of growth hormone, which aids in muscle building and fat burning. The deadlift also forces your muscles to work together for a common goal, which makes it a functional exercise that can translate well to sports and everyday lifting movements. Finally, the strenuous nature of the deadlift makes it an effective exercise for calorie burning.


    While the deadlift provides many advantages as an exercise that works your entire body, there are some potential drawbacks. Because of the heavy weight involved, the deadlift may aggravate your lower back or knees if you have existing problems with those areas of your body. Additionally, because the deadlift is physically demanding, it may not be appropriate if you're a beginner. And if you're not used to performing this exercise, you may find that you'll be quite sore after performing the deadlift. If you have an athletic event or another workout scheduled the day after using deadlifts in your workout, the soreness or weakness may hinder your performance.

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