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Squats - Do they make your waist bigger/expand?


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One thing I was curious about was the myth that squats make your waist expand and get bigger. I have actually read this in quite a few places. Is there any truth to this? For someone who wants to decrease their waist size, the myth about squats affecting your waist size makes me a little nervous. Especially when full body weight-lifting routines like Starting Strength and Stronglifts have you squatting three times a week.

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For real?  I have never heard/read that - any links you can share?

Intuitively, it doesn't make sense to me.  I suppose if you were 0% body fat and using your core muscles for stabilization during exercises like squats (i.e. to balance the weight bar), you could build some muscle and expand your waist, but I just don't see that happening in real life. 

First off, genetics....need I say more....next up...

Any exercise that puts a lot of strain of the abdomen can lead to an increase in waist size. Squats, deads, cleans, weighted ab exercises can all lead to a"bigger" waist, but it should be remembered that the abs are still a muscle. Progressive resistance can lead to growth, but it is not really a bad thing. So many people have postural problems and I would rather have zero bad/posture problems even if I have to add 1" on my waist. I love squats...and have a 24.5" waist. 

 

Original Post by awestendorf:

For real?  I have never heard/read that - any links you can share?

Intuitively, it doesn't make sense to me.  I suppose if you were 0% body fat and using your core muscles for stabilization during exercises like squats (i.e. to balance the weight bar), you could build some muscle and expand your waist, but I just don't see that happening in real life. 

I don't have any specific links right now, but I have read it on a lot of forums. That is why I said I think it is more of a myth. A lot of people have said that doing exercises like squats and deadlifts can make your waist expand because it gets thicker.

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Original Post by fitnessgirll:

First off, genetics....need I say more....next up...

Any exercise that puts a lot of strain of the abdomen can lead to an increase in waist size. Squats, deads, cleans, weighted ab exercises can all lead to a"bigger" waist, but it should be remembered that the abs are still a muscle. Progressive resistance can lead to growth, but it is not really a bad thing. So many people have postural problems and I would rather have zero bad/posture problems even if I have to add 1" on my waist. I love squats...and have a 24.5" waist. 

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24.5 inch waist.. Nice! I know I would definitely be one of the people to say dayum like you mentioned in your other post in reference to your legs..LOL Although I would expect nothing less from you. :)

With me, my waist has always been a bit wide from genetics. The smallest I ever had it at was a 34 inches back when I was 17 and I weighed 170 pounds. Then I started lifting and eating more. So for the last 11 years, it has been between 36-38 inches. Before I cleaned up my diet, and started doing HIIT, my waist was 38 inches and I weighed 200 pounds. In the last three months, my weight has gone up to 215, but my waist is down to a 36. This is basically from how hard I have been lifting, all the HIIT I have done, and how clean my diet is now. I would like to lose two more inches off my waist. It is frustrating because my stomach is flat and I can really see my abs starting to come in. However, my waist is still @ 36 inches. Now that I am doing a fullbody routine that has me squatting three times a week, I was nervous that it might make my waist bigger which is in opposition of my goals. I love squats and deadlifting though. So if I had to choose between my waist and stopping those exercises, I would keep doing squats and deadlifts because they have too many other benefits.

Yeah, you read a lot of things on forums, - people looking at power lifters and thinking "Oh, take up squats and deadlifts and there goes my waistline and thighs".

 It's the same logic that leads to people taking up basketball to grow taller or sprint training to grow leaner, or marathoning to turn into a Rift Valley Kenyan. That a certain somatype predisposes you to perform at a high level in a sport doesn't mean that you'll gain that somatype by taking up the sport in question.

 Waist (RA, obliques, TVA) doesn't have a lot of potential for growth; even boxers who train for years and who're actually trying to gain muscle there will on average add about 1" total to their waist circumference even with deliberate hypertrophy training. That's over the course of their careers; so it might take a decade or two of dedicated training to even gain that much.

 'course, pro bodybuiolders all look like they swallowed a turtle (weirdly distended stomachs with 6-pack abs), but that's from the growth hormone abuse, not from what they're lifting.

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