T Nation

DLing Working Against Your V-Taper?


Was told by a friend yesterday (who is a bodybuilder who has won comps at a national level) that he doesn't dead anymore because it thickens up your waist and can work against you in creating that ever so sought after V-taper.

Thoughts on this???


All I know is deadlifts make me grow. Shoulders, legs, back, and yes, waist. If my waist thickens some, so be it.

If you like DLs, do them. If you got your mass and thickness at an acceptable level for you, your bodyfat is down to a level where you have a decent V-taper, and are getting ready to compete at a national level, I guess it would be alright to cut them out.



Look at the picture of Dave Gulledge. The biggest erectors I've ever seen, but since he is big all over it fits.

I think that whole "It will ruin your v-taper" is crap.


Here's my take on the matter: Powerlifters on average (although not at the top levels of the respective sports) are bigger and thicker than bodybuilders. It's obviously because of the heavy dose of squats and deadlifts. What does this mean to you as a bodybuilder? Build yourself up like a powerlifter, focus on bringing up your big three along with your bodyweight, and once you're a big, thick mass-monster, focus on:

(1) Biceps: these may be underdeveloped.
(2) Capping off your delts: more direct delt work may be needed for some.
(3) Quads: same as delts; maybe more direct work.
(4) Calves: this should be obvious.

Those four things are usually the only areas that will need to be 'brought up' to win as a bodybuilder if you have build a base with powerlifting. People try to make it complicated by arguing that powerlifting and bodybuilding build fundamentally different kinds of physiques, when the reality is, if you take a powerlifter and give him peaking biceps, cap off his delts, and build his quads and calves some, you have one hell of a bodybuilder.


I know I didn't answer your question directly, so:

Your core will probably thicken up some if you do deadlifts. For guys that grow very easily (e.g., someone without the myostatin gene,) he may be better off from a purely cosmetic perspective without them. Of course, cosmetics are entirely a matter of personal preference.

For most everyone else, at least until you reach the elite level, I'm quite certain that the overall anabolic benefits of deadlifting far outweigh any cosmetic drawbacks in terms of making your physique more blocky.


I think any decent Powerlifter is going to have big quads, regardless of the whole stance crap, any type of squat will include the quads. I agree with everything else. I've yet to see any PLer with any boulders on their shoulders.


Fred Hatfield squatted a grand in the days of marathon suits. Have you seen his quads?


Johnnie Jackson seems well off with his nice v-taper and 800+lb deadlift.


Kevin Levrone, one of the greatest bodybuilders ever, I don't think did any free weight squats or any type of deadlifts. He'd wear a belt on every lift and I've only seen him do hack squats, leg press, and machine rows. None of these would really give you any waist growth.


Hmm its a pretty interesting topic, I'll continue to to deads EOW for now, I heard that doing them off the rack other than off the floor can also reduce strain on the waist, might give that a shot for a while.


I would not really include Levrone in your "how to train to be a bodybuilder" rules. He is an awesome bodybuilder and a personal favorite of mine, but the guy is a complete freak of nature. Remember, he regularly gained forty to fifty lbs of mass during his contest prep, a time when most guys are trying to drop some weight.

That being said, I believe that there is plenty of growing that can be had from the exercises that you listed, granted that the progression, rest, and food are also in the picture.


You heard that from the Jay Cutler video? When he means off the rack he means Romanian Deadlifts. Rack Pulls are going to put more stress on your waist.


To me the amount of freaky back mass someone can gain off dead lifts and their variants far outweight the thickening of the abdominals/spinal erectors.

Ramo if more people took that advice(and arguabl wouldn't even need to focus on those bodyparts) we'd have a lot more big people here.


What's the advantage of waiting to fix obvious weaknesses?


Oh I realize that. I hear he would take upwards to 7 months off training after the Olympia ended.

Arnold did deadlifts and had a 32-34 inch waist I think.
There isn't much of a case for ruining your V-Taper with Deadlifts and Squats. The muscles in a person's trunk just don't have enough potential for hypertrophy to fuck up your V-Taper. What Deadlifts and Squats can do is increase the size of your pelvis. I think this happens pretty early in someone's training carrier.

If you start training with nothing but skins, bones, a 28 inch waist and a 135 pound squat your waist might grow to 33 inches once your squat and deadlift get around 400. After that, you probably won't experience any more pelvic size gains and you can defiantly offset a 33 or 34 inch waist with a huge set of lats.


I'm no where near big.. but a year and a half ago when I started 'serious' lifting, my deadlift was 10x3 at 135lbs. At the time, I wore 31" jeans, and had room for a belt.

I've been doing deadlifts every week since. Reps, triples, doubles, singles. I just maxed out Monday and pulled 385. I now wear 32" jeans with room for a belt.. and I would contribute the bigger pants to my legs growing from a combination of squats and deads.

Maybe not the example you were looking for, but to me it stands to tell some truth.


Yes gaining weight while working lower back heavy and putting 150+lbs on your 3x10 deadlifts can put a inch on your waist in a year.

But that is so minor and there are so many different things that could have put that inch there other than V-taper ruining muscle that it means nothing.

That inch could be fat, bigger lower back muscles, bigger legs, different brand of pants, bigger ass from squats, it could be 1000 other things than a growing waist line because of deadlifts.

Case and point, its not a big deal, the small ammount of size you might put on your waist would be from superior abb and back muscles and the gain you get from deadlifts to begin with is worth the 1-2" you might gain if you put a couple hundred lbs on your deadlift working setts.


Why do you want to keep a little waist anyway? Women don't look at your body and go 'Oh look how tiny that guys waist is, he's so hot!', for fuck sake.


Go look at Kevin Levrone's waist and go look at Marcus Rhul's waist.

I don't think women these days really care what a guys body looks like.


Well personally I think someone's weaknesses they show after the first few years of training(assuming they are training all muscles properly) are going to be their weaknesses that follow them their whole career. To me too many people focus on weak points when in fact their whole body is weak.

I wouldn't ever advocate not training a muscle group if the long term goal is size, so I assumed that when Johnny the new weight trainer says "I'm going to powerlift for 3 years and gain size" he's also doing some curls, he's training his shoulders, he throws in calf work etc.

Johnnie Jackson didn't look like he was missing capped off delts or biceps when he crossed over from powerlifting to bodybuilding. He's really just a bigger version of what he was then. There are a handful of power lifters who diet down and destroy bodybuilders on a stage because they weren't afraid to get "the jack" and didn't worry about their rear delts or quad sweep from day 1, they just put on as much size as possible to get the leverages necessary to move heavy weights. Did that explain what I meant well enough?