A big muscular waist makes you look strong and powerful. Abdominal, oblique and lower back muscles add girth to all sides of the waist to enhance this effect. What you don't want to do is add fat. To get a bigger waist, do targeted strength training exercises and eat a diet that promotes muscle gain and prohibits fat gain.
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Do These Exercises
To build size in the muscles around your waist, you need to add weight and do sets in the moderate rep range (eight to 12 reps). You should already have a solid foundation of core strength before you add a lot of weight to these exercises. It's important to gradually add weight to protect the spine from injury.
As with any weight training routine, progression and variety matters. Add weight and/or volume, and change up your exercises every few weeks to keep your core muscles adapting to new stressors.
Be sure to allow the muscles to recover in between workouts. About 48 hours is optimal. It's during this recovery time that the muscles repair and grow larger.
Incline Weighted Crunches
This midsection move helps build a strong core and ripped abs. Start out with lighter weight and a less of an incline; as you progress you can add more weight and a steeper incline.
- Grab a weight plate and sit on a decline weight bench. Hook your ankles under the pads and lie back. Clasp the plate behind your neck or place it across your chest with arms crossed.
- Contract your abs and lift your upper and middle back off the bench using your abdominal strength. Come up as high as you can, keeping your low back on the bench.
- Slowly lower back down and repeat.
Weighted Side Bends
This is exercise is designed particularly for building mass on the sides of the waist. You'll often see people doing this exercise with a dumbbell in both hands. This actually defeats the purpose.
- Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or weight plate in your right hand.
- Contract your core muscles. Slowly bend over to the left side until you feel a slight stretch. Stay in the frontal plane; don't allow your torso to bend forward or back.
- Come back through center and bend over to the other side. Come back to center. Repeat, then switch sides.
Read more: These 12 Moves Will Get You Washboard Abs
Good mornings build strength and definition in the lower back muscles. It's also a great exercise for building the glutes and hamstrings.
- Load a barbell with an adequate weight and position it across the backs of your shoulders just below your neck.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Keeping your legs straight (don't lock out the knees), bend at your waist with a flat back.
- Come down until your back is parallel with the floor. Raise your torso back up until hips are extended. Repeat.
Hyperextentions work the lower back, as well as the upper and middle back. Start with no weight, and gradually add weight as you get stronger.
- Lie face down on a hyperextension bench. Position your upper thighs flat against the pad, leaving enough room to bend forward at the waist.
- Cross your arms over your chest. Hold a weight plate to your chest if desired. Keeping your back flat, slowly bend at the waist lowering your torso down.
- When you can't go any farther without rounding your back, slowly raise your torso back up to the starting position.
You probably remember this one from TV infomercials. But it's no gimmick. According to certified strength and conditioning specialist Andy Haley it's one of the best core exercises you can do.
- Use an ab wheel or a barbell with plates on it. Kneel on the floor and grab the bar or the handles.
- Contract your core. Roll out as far as you can, extending your arms out and bringing your torso parallel with the ground.
- Using your core strength, roll back into the starting position. Repeat.
Watch Your Diet
Fail to eat correctly and you'll get a bigger waist, but it won't be of the hard, ripped variety. Lose fat as you gain muscle by eating a lean diet low in processed foods and sugar and high in protein. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; chicken, fish, beans and tofu; and limited amounts of whole grains and dairy. Get healthy fats from avocado, olive oil nuts and seeds.
How many calories you should eat depends on a lot of factors, and it's best determined by consulting a coach or nutritionist. You just want to make sure you're balancing your calories optimally for muscle growth -- getting enough to power you through tough workouts, not not so many that you're gaining excess fat.
Read more: 10 Most Effective Ab Workouts
- T Nation: Big, Thick, Chunky Ab Training
- ExRx.com: Weighted Incline Crunch
- ExRx.com: Dumbbell Side Bend
- Muscle & Fitness: 3 Exercises for a Strong Lower Back
- ExRx.net: Barbell Good-morning
- Muscle & Fitness: Lose Your Love Handles With the Dumbbell Side Bend
- ACE: Explaining the Planes of Motion
- Muscle & Strength: Rep Out: The Truth About Rep Ranges And Muscle Growth
- Stack: The Ab Rollout: Best Core Exercise Ever?