Squats and deadlifts are two of the best types of exercises you can perform, certainly for increasing strength and building lean, taut muscle. Most fitness routines will feature compound exercises such as deadlifts and squats. Both of these work a variety of different muscles. Not only do they both increase strength in the quads, glutes and hamstring, they also encourage a stable core which results in better balance and works the whole body. The muscles that you use during squats and deadlifts include the rectus and transverse abdominis, the external and internal obliques and the spinal erectors. These muscles will grow but they won’t affect your waist.
Deadlifts can be performed in a variety of different ways but mostly, you bend forwards from your waist while holding equal weights in each hand. Then, you rise slowly to a standing position. So, you work your legs, glutes, core and back. While performing a deadlift, you work the erector spinae muscles, the gluteus maximus, hip abductors, quadriceps and soleus muscles. The muscles around your waist help to keep you stable. They are not being used to grow and so won’t increase in size, no matter what type of deadlift you perform. However, as your abdominal muscles are still working, you should see a difference in your waistline in that it starts to tone up. In fact, rather than increasing your waistline, deadlifts should help you to reduce it. This relates to how many calories you burn and the intensity of your workout (remember, what you eat will also impact on your waistline, so even if you workout intensely and include a number of deadlines into every routine, if you eat refined sugars and starchy carbs, you probably will increase your waist!).
Squatting is aimed at improving the muscle and strength in your lower body. A standard squat targets the quads, hamstrings, abdominals, calves and glutes. To change up your squats, you can try barbell squats and jump squats. These use different muscle groups such as back muscles (barbell squats) and aerobic fitness (jump squats). Squats are excellent for strength-training and building leaner, toned muscle in the legs and glutes, they also help to stabilise the core as you need to balance your body to perform the exercise. Squats shouldn’t affect your waistline at all as they don’t work the muscles in that area.
So both exercises are excellent for leg strength and for improving core strength. Neither should increase the size of your waist. What you eat will make a difference. To improve muscle mass you need to eat more calories than you burn. However, you need to make sure those calories come from protein, controlled complex carbs and “good” fat because over-processed food and refined sugar may increase your body fat instead. Stick with lean protein, vegetables, legumes and whole-wheat products along with a good training plan that challenges you to progress inline with your fitness level.