Deadlifts are the grandfather of all weight lifting movements. Some would even go as far as saying they are the “king” of exercises. They do so much for the entire body when it comes to building quality size, burning fat, and building strength.
Since the deadlift does so much for the body, many people believe that it can be somewhat counter productive to weight loss or slimming goals. This is due to the intensity of the movement and the building aspect it has on the body. Deadlifts target everything from the upper back, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and of course the core. Other muscles it hits indirectly are the biceps, shoulders, and even chest. All those muscles getting hit at once many folks assume that this movement would have to cause some changes structurally, especially around the midsection area.
Deadlifts are like any other movement; you will only get out of them what you put into them. If you are a person who is eating to get big and lifting heavy weights, chances are you will get bigger everywhere. If you are a person who is already on the heavy side and you want to lose some extra weight but maintain your strength or even possibly build more, deadlifts are also for you.
There is a misconception that deadlifts actually widen the hips and waist. This is assuming that by simply doing deadlifts that over time your hips will get wider and wider, therefore giving the appearance of a blockier midsection.
Remember the muscles the deadlift focuses on in strengthening and building noted before? The focus can now shift to the muscles the body utilizes to stay stable during the movement. Those muscles include rectus and transverse abdominals, external and internal oblique’s, and spinal erectors. These muscles make up that midsection area that folks are concerned about widening. Being muscles they indeed have potential for not only getting stronger but even growth. The fact of the matter is, the hypertrophy (growth) of these muscles during an extended amount a time doing deadlifts is not great enough to increase the width of your waist or hips.
Now, this is to not say that one cannot increase the size of hips and waist through certain isolated movements and routines, but training for wider hips and a wider waist goes completely against the conventional wisdom of the fitness culture.
Deadlift away, and don’t worry about wider hips and a wider waist. Deadlifts are awesome.