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    Thumbs up How To Develop A Classical Body Shape

    How To Develop A Classical Body Shape
    Tom Venuto, CSCS, CPT

    http://www.bodybuildingsecrets.com/a...body_shape.php

    How does a man five feet six inches in height appear six feet tall standing alone at a distance? How does he look like he weighs 215 muscular pounds when he barely tips the scale at 176 pounds? Why does his waist look 28 inches, when its actual measurement is 32 inches? How does he step onstage at a bodybuilding competition and blow away competitors who outweigh him by 20, 30 even 50 pounds or more? Why does this man’s body look like a beautiful piece of classical sculpture, while much larger men look misshapen and blocky? The answer — in a word — is symmetry.

    The late Vince Gironda, trainer of champion bodybuilders and movie stars, was the true pioneer and master at the art of creating symmetry. He called it “cosmetic bodybuilding” or “creating an illusion.” Vince believed that adding muscle mass did not always improve the physique. “Size without shape is grotesque and the overall appearance is positively revolting.” said Vince. However, when new muscle is added in a manner that enhances your symmetry, the result can take your breath away.

    What is symmetry?
    Symmetry refers to the qualities of balance, proportion, shape and classical aesthetics. It was first described by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who explained it in terms of mathematical relationships (which were also used to construct Greek temples). Leonardo DaVinci later expanded on and explained these concepts by way of his “Canon of Proportions” (also known as the “Vitruvian Man”). This illustration depicted a man standing with his arms outstretched within a circle and a square.

    The perfectly symmetrical physique is often described as the “X” shape. The top of the X represents broad shoulders, the “V” in the top half of the X represents a wide upper back, narrowing into a small waist with small hips; and the bottom half of the X represents long legs with a flowing outer quad sweep, full calves and upper thigh muscles that seem to connect directly into the waist.

    When you think of those who have achieved such classical proportions, they are few in number and include such elite company as Steve Reeves, Vince Gironda, Frank Zane, Bob Paris, Francis Benfatto, and Lee Labrada.

    Genetics and symmetry
    Many people suggest that you must be born with a genetic gift in order to attain such a physique, and there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Three time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane was once asked, “You are particularly famous for your body symmetry. Is there a special way that you train which gives you such great proportions?” Frank replied, “Blame it all on my parents. I guess I was just fortunate to have inherited good bone structure in the first instance.”

    If you didn’t “choose” the right parents, what then? Don’t worry. There are specific qualities that create “the illusion” which are obtainable by all. Although not everyone is capable of developing the symmetry of Reeves, Zane or Labrada, every person can improve their muscle shape and symmetry above and beyond where it is today.

    Some of the left-brained scientific types throw a tantrum the minute a bodybuilder mentions “muscle shaping.” It may be true that you can’t change your bone structure, muscle insertions or other genetic factors, but you can certainly change your overall body shape and improve your symmetry if you know how. In fact, that IS the very essence of what bodybuilding should be.

    Let’s now take a look at some of the specific strategies that can literally sculpt your body into a work of art.

    Balanced development
    Almost everyone has a favorite body part or a body part that grows very easily. But favoritism in physique development can quickly destroy your shape. Frank Zane said, “The whole point is not to fall in love with one particular body part and throw everything else out.”

    Many people believe that symmetry is the perfectly balanced development of every muscle in the body, but that’s only one aspect of symmetry. Having a huge upper body with toothpick legs makes you unsymmetrical, but there’s more to it than that.

    Symmetry doesn’t always mean adding muscle evenly everywhere. Sometimes it means developing certain muscle groups to their absolute maximum, while minimizing others.

    Low Body fat
    One characteristic that will destroy anyone’s symmetry is excess body fat. It doesn’t matter how shapely your muscles are if they’re covered with a layer of squishy lard. Body fat adds width and circumference in the hips and waistline, which is one of the quickest ways to destroy your symmetry. Even if you’re not one of the “genetically blessed” with favorable bone structure and muscle insertions, reducing your waist size by losing body fat is a guaranteed way to improve your symmetry.

    Tiny waist
    The smaller your waist, the more of an “illusion” of symmetry you create. This is achieved mostly by fat reduction through nutrition and cardio. However, certain exercises can broaden the waist. Anything that builds the lateral obliques like dumbbell side bends, should be avoided. Certain athletes may use side bends for sports training purposes, but if symmetry is your goal, stay away from them.

    Heavy squats can increase your hip and waist size too. This is especially true when performing the squat powerlifting style. If you are naturally thick waisted and wide in the hips with large glutes, avoid the back squat if you want to improve your symmetry.

    Broad shoulders
    Broadening your shoulders creates the optical illusion of a smaller waist, even if your waist size doesn’t change. To see just how much of a difference this makes, take a sock or a ball of tissue, and stuff it inside your shirt on each side of your shoulders. Then look in the mirror. Even a small increase in width completely transforms your appearance.

    The portion of the shoulders you want to emphasize the most for symmetry is the lateral head of the deltoid. Most people overwork their front deltoids. They emphasize too many shoulder presses, front raises, and bench presses and not enough lateral raises.

    I have never seen an exercise performed improperly more often than lateral raises. The most common error is to let the thumbs come up high and the elbows fall too low. The proper way to do lateral raises is to lead with the elbows and keep the palms facing down. To activate the side deltoid even more, you can use the “pour the water” technique, where you internally rotate your arm so your little finger is slightly higher than your thumb. Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia, used this technique to help him build some of the greatest shoulders ever, even though he wasn’t genetically gifted in the broad clavicles department.

    Another terrific width builder is the medium or wide grip upright row. Most people perform this exercise with a narrow grip, which lets your trapezius hog all the glory. If you’re naturally narrow in the shoulders and you want to maximize your symmetry and V shape, avoid direct trap work in favor of side delt work.

    Wide, tapering back
    Lat width gives you a “V-Taper,” making your waist look smaller. Lat width is NOT easy to develop for most people and takes intense training and higher volume than other body parts. It also requires the proper selection of exercises.

    All chin up and pulldown variations are great for lat width. It’s a myth that a wide grip makes your back wider. It’s not the grip width that affects fiber recruitment; it’s the angle of pull relative to your body position. Medium and close grip chin ups and pulldowns are equally if not more effective for developing the V shape as a wide grip.

    Here’s five more tips on lat width: (1) To activate the Teres Major, which lies directly below your rear deltoids and also improves width, emphasize the stretch position on your pulldowns so you are leaning forward with your head dropped between your arms. (2) Perform a lot of seated rowing work with a medium overhand (pronated grip), pulling a short straight bar to your low pec line. (3) To work the Teres, get a full stretch and do not arch your back in the contracted position; to hit the mid back and lat belly, arch and get peak contraction. (4) If you have an adjustable height low pulley machine, set the height to 16” off the floor or seat level for your cable rows. (5)To put a real whooping on your lats, perform a maximum stretch exercise such as pullovers immediately after your pulldowns or chin ups in superset fashion.

    Rows also help with width, but since they work the lat fibers that attach to the mid and upper spine, they are considered “thickness” exercises more than width exercises. A fully developed back has width and thickness, but to specialize on symmetry, do the majority of your exercises for width until you achieve the proportions you desire.

    Slab like pectorals, developed top to bottom with a sharply defined, lower pec line
    The chest is often one of the easiest muscles to bulk up. Compounded with the fixation most bodybuilders have on the bench press, this contributes to over development of the pecs relative to the rest of the body. Part of symmetry is balance, and overdeveloping an easy to grow muscle group throws your physique out of balance.

    What’s even worse is when the lower pectoral muscles become overdeveloped and body fat creeps up even slightly. This results in the appearance of “bunched up, droopy” pectorals (guys, it’s pecs you want, not boobs!)
    Last edited by xRedStaRx; 05-04-2012 at 01:29 PM.
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    The ideal pectoral development is not a hanging bulbous mass, but a muscle that is slab like in appearance and fully developed from top to bottom. The slab runs all the way up to the clavicle. The lower pecs must developed well; combined with low body fat, a sharp, flaring lower pec line clearly delineates the lower-outer pec border. Exercise physiologists always freak out and say there is no inner and outer pec, but if you look in any anatomy book, you will see that the pectorals are fan-shaped, and the “lower” and “outer” fibers are one in the same.

    To hit the “lower and outer” pecs, lay off the flat bench presses for a while and focus on dips on the wide end (32”) of a V-bar. To hit the pecs with dips, you should keep your feet underneath or in front of you, flare your elbows out, round your back and look down with your chin on your chest. Another exercise that will help you achieve a nice pec line is the decline cable flye performed with the handles meeting above the groin (not over the chest).

    NOTE: If you’re female, all the tips in this article apply to you as well, except the previous advice about pec development. It’s the upper, clavicular portion of your pecs you’ll want to emphasize because that’s the portion of the muscle that is most visible. Incline bench work will do the trick nicely).

    Small hips and glutes
    Squats may be the best leg size builder, but performed improperly or excessively, they can throw off your symmetry. Powerlifters squat with the bar low on the upper back, with the butt sticking out and the upper body leaning forward. They do this because more weight can be lifted by recruiting your hips, butt and low back. That’s great for powerlifting and power sports, but terrible for symmetry.

    The bodybuilding squat is much more vertical: it’s called a high bar squat, where the bar is high on the traps/shoulders, the torso more vertical and the stance narrower. This hits the butt and hips less and throws more stress “lower down” on the quads. Better still, you could use more front squats and hack squats, which isolate the quads and reduce hip and glute involvement.

    Appearance of long legs
    Why are high fashion models always tall with very long legs? Simple answer: Visual aesthetics! Some people were born with long legs, while others have short, thick, “stubby legs.” Fortunately, if you were not born with long legs, you can create an “illusion” of the long legged look through training.

    First, you want to develop the entire thigh from top to bottom. Many bodybuilders suffer from what Vince Gironda called “turnip” thighs, overdeveloped in the middle and upper portion (with a big butt) and no lower quad. Vince said that a perfectly developed thigh would nearly as wide in circumference at the mid portion as the bottom portion.

    Powerlifting squats and heavy partial range leg presses overdevelop the upper thigh, hips and butt. The lower quad (vastus medialis, or teardrop near the knee) can be developed with a narrower stance and emphasis on the bottom range of motion on any squatting movement, avoiding lockout at the top. Three quarter hack squats and front squats are particularly effective, and so are one and a quarters: squat down full, come up one quarter, go back down to full, then come up just short of lockout; that’s one rep. Try a few weeks of those and see what happens to your “teardrop.”

    If your knees can take it, the sissy squat is a superb thigh “shaper” because it’s one of the few exercises that hit the rectus femoris all the way up into the hips, creating an illusion of long legs. The rectus is the muscle visible in the upper thigh, which when fully developed, makes your legs appear longer.

    Some closing words of symmetry wisdom
    If you’re a bodybuilder, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get big; that’s part of what bodybuilding is about. But never go after size at the expense of symmetry. Remember, there’s a difference between being big and looking big. Listen to what Vince said:

    “All beginning bodybuilders, I find, are too interested in the scale and the tape as yardsticks of progress. They seem to think if they weigh or measure a certain amount, that this automatically produces a perfect build. Nothing could be further from the truth. What they don’t seem to remember is that they do not weigh or measure you on the physique stage; they determine the best build by shape, size, and symmetry.”

    You might be thinking, “Well, I’m not a bodybuilder and you wouldn’t catch me dead onstage in one of those teeny “Speedo” bikinis, so why should I care about being symmetrical?” Here’s why: Bodybuilder or not, a physique with “classical” symmetry is beautiful by anyone’s standards (including the opposite sex).

    If you’re male and you only work on the “T-shirt muscles” (big arms and chest), you might look good in the gym in your T-shirt, but hit the beach in a pair of shorts and everyone will see the full, unsymmetrical picture. If you’re female and all you work on is your butt, hips and thighs, then when YOU hit the beach in a swimsuit or put on a sleeveless and or low cut dress, your lack of shoulder width and a svelte V-tapered, small-waisted torso will be right there for all eyes to see (not to mention the “grandmother arms” tricep flab that flaps in the breeze).


    One last word of caution: Anabolic drugs are more likely to ruin your symmetry than improve it. Many pro bodybuilders today are massive but look terrible. For those who don’t consciously focus on improving symmetry, the drug use simply blows them further and further out of proportion. No matter how big they get, they don’t look any better. As Lee Labrada likes to say, strive for “mass with class” not just mass.

    Apply the tips you’ve learned in this article, and you’ll be surprised and extremely pleased with how radically you change your body shape. And just think of how much fun it will be when people start comparing your body to a Greek sculpture!


    Cliffs:

    - Work on symmetry and balanced develoment of all body parts, whether you’re male, female, young, old, bodybuilder, non-bodybuilder or anything in between.


    ____________________________________


    Workout:

    Originally Posted by Zerafian View Post
    skimmed and seems pretty informative read...now you just need to find an actual workout routine that can help achieve it not just an article about what features you need.
    Originally Posted by Salsaaa View Post
    Could someone take this information and create a liftin routine for aethetics?
    It's not that hard really, knowing what muscles to hit is the difficult part, which is provided in this article, making a workout out of it is really easy.

    I'll give you mine which is dedicated solely to aesthetics and is good for providing balance and symmetry given the most common lagging/strong points that the bodybuilding population have, including mine.

    It takes some emphasis off arms (volume), front delts, upper traps, hips, obliques and glutes. And puts more on upper chest, medial/rear delts, lats, outer biceps/triceps and quad sweep.

    Feel free to alter it around depending on your personal goals and physique

    Personally, I use a 3 day split that goes like this.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Day 1 - Chest/Triceps

    0) Warm up with BB bench press
    1) Incline Hammer-grip DB bench press at angles 30/35/40 3 x 8-12 reps respectively *
    2a) Incline BB bench press 3 x 8-12
    2b) Incline Smith machine bench press at 45 angle 3 x 10-15
    3a) Incline DB flies at 40 angle 3 x 8-12
    3b) Guillotine BB/Sm bench press 3 x 8-12
    4) Cable cross-overs 3 x 10-15
    5a) Wide grip dips superset with pushups 3 x failure on both **
    5b) Decline DB flies superset with pushups 3 x 8-12/failure
    6a) CGBP 3 x 8-10
    6b) CG Tricep pushdown w/alternating grips each set Drop set 4 x 10/5/3 reps on each set
    7a) Decline DB skull-crushers Drop set 3 x 8-10/failure/failure
    7b) 2-hand Dumbbell Triceps Extension 3 x 8-10

    * Muscle-mind connection in chest workouts is extremely important, for pressing exercises pin your shoulder blades back, go slow on positives and negatives, try to avoid lockout to maintain muscle tension, imagine pushing yourself away from the weight rather pushing the weight up, and focus on bringing the weights above and across your chest.
    ** Use the correct form described in the article, and elbows slightly flared not tucked in.

    Day 2 - Back/Biceps/Rear Delts

    0) Warm up with wide grip lat pulldown
    1) Wide-Grip pullups 3 x failure *
    2a) Behind the neck lat pulldowns 3 x 10-15
    2b) Close grip lat pulldowns 3 x 10-15
    3) One-hand DB rows 3 x 8-12 **
    4) Seated cable rows 4 x 8-12
    5a) Wide grip T-Bar row 4 x 8-10
    5b) Wide grip BB rows 4 x 8-10
    6) Dead-Lift 4 x 4-8 ***
    7a) BB Bicep curl 3 x 10-12
    7b) EZ-bar Preacher curls 3 x 10-12
    8a) Incline DB hammer-grip Bicep curl 3 x 10-12
    8b) Pronated close-grip BB curl 3 x 10-12
    9) Seated SM behind the neck press 3 x 10-12
    10) Rear delt flies 3 x 10-12

    * Your arms should make a U-shape as you are pulling, elbows should be on the same level as your torso, not in front. Focus on pulling your elbows to your sides rather than pulling with your arms and bending your elbows
    ** Your torso should be at 45 degree angle from the floor, back straight, looking up, elbows tucked in and never bend starting from the second half of the motion. This will be primarily a lat exercise.
    *** Do not deadlift depending on your frame

    Day 3 - Legs/Medial Delts

    0) Warmup with empty bar squats ATG
    1) Sled 45° Leg Press 4 x 8-12 *
    2) Hack Squats/SM squats/Seated leg press 4 x 8-12 *
    3) Leg extensions 4 x 10-15 Super-set with
    Hamstring curls 4 x 10-15
    4) Calf raises 4 x 12-20
    5) Seated DB overhead press 4 x 8-12 **
    6) Lateral DB raise 3 x 10-15
    7) Lateral cable raise 3 x 10-15


    * Change your stance from narrow/wide and front/back depending on the muscles you want to target, I personally use a back and narrow stance for maximum Front/Outer Quads stimulation. Use complete range of motion by going down as deep as you can while maintaining that stance and go up just short of lockout. This will emphasize the lower 'teardrop' part of quads.
    ** Sit completely straight, your arms must be brought back till your shoulder blades squeeze together to emphasize medial delts, do not use heavy weights, DB would slightly scratch your shoulders on the way down while going for a slow squeeze throughout 8-12 reps.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by xRedStaRx; 05-05-2012 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Added a suggested workout plan
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    holy wall of text of peace
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    tl;dr

    cliffs?
    RIP Zyzz - "Son of Zues, Brother to Hercules, and Father of Aesthetics"

    Solid.Thick.Tight
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    came on my computer screen
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    Aesthetics in progress ShNiGG's Avatar
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    Cliffs:

    -Lift Heavy
    -Take a multi
    One life
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    how to train aesthetics 101.
    I just want to share the knowledge I have obtained throughout my life and hopefully change someone's life.
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    On a cold Friday afternoon, I had come home from school. I had been thinking of the gym all day. I was hungry, didn't have any lunch. In fact, I didn't eat because I spent the money. For the past month I was saving up for something. Something special which I bought at GNC. I was surprised they didn't ask for ID; I was pretty sure the cashier noticed how nervous I was. Anyways, my mom asked my how my day was when I got home, but I ignored her. I have more important things to do. I run to the bathroom and unpack my bag. In my school bag is a white plastic bag from GNC. I open the bag, first removing the receipt and flushing it down the toilet to get rid of the evidence. My heart was racing now. I unpack the creatine monster from the bag.

    I wonder what people will be asking me when they see that I will be 50lbs heavier. Should I say I was just eating a lot? I remove the label from the tub and tear it into a thousand small pieces. I flush that down the toilet, too. It is time now. I run up to my room when my mom ask me what I am holding. I panic, sweat drips down my forehead and my teeth chatter. "Mom, it's just for a school project". "What project?" "I don't know mom I just started it!". A tear runs down my cheek. I run upstairs and open the creatine, scooping upservings into a clear water bottle. What have I gotten myself into? I fill it with water and drink it. There is no turning back now. The creatine monster is inside me now, it will control me. What should I do if I die? I cant let my family know about this.

    I open the creatine tub and throw it all out the window; a white cloud of mysterious dust sparkles into the wind so graciously. I feel the substance taking control of me; I am now the monster. I walk downstairs, its time to work out; time to get big. Now I worry, I don't want to get too big; people will think I use steroids. I do use steroids. No I don't. Creatine. All I see is the weights now, I am almost downstairs when I hear "Do you want a cookie I just baked". I know I do not have time for this **** now. "No mom I do not want a cookie" I walk in the basement and drop to my knees before the weights, tears running down my cheeks. I turn to the right and look at myself in the mirror. Oh god, what have I done?
    "Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships."
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    Cliffs:
    -Symmetry
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    Cliffs added
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    decent read, thanks op
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    will read later
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    Originally Posted by ShNiGG View Post
    Cliffs:

    -Lift Heavy
    -Take a multi
    dis
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    after i cut 20 lbs, people thought i looked bigger.

    winning.jpg
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    good read
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    bookmarked thanks op. wish i could save this in a text version
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    still better than yours EnglishBadTeeth's Avatar
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    "Almost everyone has a favorite body part or a body part that grows very easily. But favoritism in physique development can quickly destroy your shape."

    ..Triceps. I know that feel.
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    Can I have the full novel please?
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    "Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships."
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    absolutely riveting...










































    all about dat dere symmetry.
    "A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts."

    "As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts, can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking."
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  22. #22
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    Originally Posted by 84renzo View Post
    decent read, thanks op
    Originally Posted by fatesuxaz View Post
    bookmarked thanks op. wish i could save this in a text version
    Glad to share.
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  23. #23
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    Originally Posted by EnglishBadTeeth View Post
    "Almost everyone has a favorite body part or a body part that grows very easily. But favoritism in physique development can quickly destroy your shape."

    ..Triceps. I know that feel.
    Used to know that feel with shrugs, then I took an arrow to the knee..
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  24. #24
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    Originally Posted by ShNiGG View Post
    Cliffs:

    -Lift Heavy
    -Take a multi
    How about no

    Originally Posted by xRedStaRx View Post
    Tiny waist
    The smaller your waist, the more of an “illusion” of symmetry you create. This is achieved mostly by fat reduction through nutrition and cardio. However, certain exercises can broaden the waist. Anything that builds the lateral obliques like dumbbell side bends, should be avoided. Certain athletes may use side bends for sports training purposes, but if symmetry is your goal, stay away from them.

    Heavy squats can increase your hip and waist size too. This is especially true when performing the squat powerlifting style. If you are naturally thick waisted and wide in the hips with large glutes, avoid the back squat if you want to improve your symmetry.
    And same could be said for deadlifting. This stupid trend of lifting like a powerlifter when you want aesthetics is ridiculous. You don't need to lift heavy specially for leg exercises. Those compounds will do nothing but **** your spine and make you a blocky phaggot.
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    Originally Posted by cutekwnt View Post
    And same could be said for deadlifting. This stupid trend of lifting like a powerlifter when you want aesthetics is ridiculous. You don't need to lift heavy specially for leg exercises. Those compounds will do nothing but **** your spine and make you a blocky phaggot.
    This is actually very debatable, I've done lots of research on this and there are 2 completely opposite opinions on this. We see some powerlifters with 29-30 inch waists and we see normal folks who don't deadlift/squat with huge waists.

    I've personally come to the conclusion that yes, DL and squatting has the ability to make your core bigger, obliques included. But how wide your obliques get depends highly on how big your hips are, since your obliques are connected to your hip bone.

    Needless to say, the wider your hips are, the more prone you are in getting big obliques from these heavy compounds.

    I've cut down severely on the volume of dead-lifts I do, although it's my favorite exercise in the gym, and substituted squats for front squats, smith machine squats and hack squats instead. Just to be safe.
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  26. #26
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    so if you want a tiny waist, stop deadlifting, and squatting conventionally? Perhaps use a hack squat, and if your gym doesn't have one don't squat altogether?
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  27. #27
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    Skimmed through it. Looks like a pretty good read.


    Subbed and Repped. Will read later
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  28. #28
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    Originally Posted by Nigroleone View Post
    so if you want a tiny waist, stop deadlifting, and squatting conventionally? Perhaps use a hack squat, and if your gym doesn't have one don't squat altogether?
    Not really, if you have want a tiny waist and have a big waist, then it's a good idea to lay off them if you are looking for symmetry. If you are born with a small midsection, then you should have no problem in doing them since obliques don't really have much potential to hypertrophy from stabilizing in compounds. Unless you go really heavy (500+ lbs).

    You can still build huge legs without squatting power-lifting style tbh. I've seen this first-hand with people having lower back problems that never squat. The Sled 45° Leg Press, lunges, and leg extensions are all just as good.
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by GettinBig15 View Post
    Skimmed through it. Looks like a pretty good read.


    Subbed and Repped. Will read later
    Thanks brah.
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  30. #30
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    good read OP, thanks for sharing.

    I think we need to start negging people that moan about "wall of text/cliffs" when the thread is actually serious and is there to help people.
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