Increasing upper body size

Associate
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Per the title I am looking for some advice on how to build my upper body up. From reading around I know the consensus is to do the full body, but my legs are pretty strong naturally. Main focus is to fit my suits better. At the moment I am quite stick like...

I'm currently carrying around a bit of weight around the middle so I am dieting to lose this. Then I am looking to (in order of priority)

1) build up forearms and upper arms,
2) widen shoulders
3) develop chest.

With the goal of size rather than strength. Is there a specific routine on what would be good to follow?

Is it possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? Or is this expecting too much?
 
Man of Honour
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You will inflate up top with a few exercises, sure, as the muscles start to localise glycogen storage because of the workouts, but it won't last particularly long after you stop. You can lose flab during this period by being careful with your diet, too.

In truth, unless you are a club/region-standard rower or rugby player, you don't have strong legs. It is that simple. You will understand once you get under a bar for squats, or over a bar for deadlifts.

To answer your question, you can probably do a few things at home, like weighted pushups and inverted rows... Get a chinup bar and you'll have most things available to you without even having to leave the house.

Good luck. :)
 
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Thank you for your reply Mr X. Are you implying the gains will only be temporarily there? I'm not looking for huge improvements but would expect them to stay.

For example my arms are very small at 28cm fore 30 upper. I was hoping to get them to 33cm and 38cm. I understand it will be quite hard to do but I understand that newbies can gain upwards of 25lbs of muscle in a year? My hand strength is reasonable, I bought recently and was able to close a 88.5kg gripper without too much hassle. My arms are quite long so think it would take up a large proportion of the gains available..

I think this would be better on my upper body than my legs which whilst not that long (inside leg 86cm) I guess would soak up the "gains" without visibility.

And yes I acknowledge that I am certainly not county level at anything! It was more in terms of proportionally.

I would like a more balanced view in the future but for now would like to kickstart the improvements in the upper body.

P.s am I silly for trying to lose weight and gain muscle? I would just be afraid of putting on muscle, my midriff staying heavy, having to lose weight and lose the muscle..

Thanks
 
Man of Honour
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Do something like strong lifts 5x5. The upper body only thing is a red herring. A good solid programme like that is a great place to start. You can lose fat and gain muscle in early days with a programme like that.
 
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Do something like strong lifts 5x5. The upper body only thing is a red herring. A good solid programme like that is a great place to start. You can lose fat and gain muscle in early days with a programme like that.

I looked into this but there is a large amount of squatting in this. I have no interest in larger legs at the start. I would much rather focus on the volume training for upper body.

Once I have maxed out my gains as is reasonable, I will then migrate to this as it looks good for core strength. But for now it is exclusively the volume I am looking for.
 
Soldato
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(Snip)

P.s am I silly for trying to lose weight and gain muscle? I would just be afraid of putting on muscle, my midriff staying heavy, having to lose weight and lose the muscle..

Thanks

In theory it's possible but in practice... As I assume you're a beginner you'll gain muscle reasonably quickly up to a point but you'll be somewhat hampered if you're dieting at the same time. I found everything evened out but the scales will fool you as muscle is heavier then fat. Just go by eye and adjust accordingly.

I agree with @Skidder with regards legs. Unless your incredibly genetically gifted the body seeks balance across the board. You will absolutely reach a point where by your upper gains are hampered by the lack of muscle below.
 
Man of Honour
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Thank you for your reply Mr X. Are you implying the gains will only be temporarily there? I'm not looking for huge improvements but would expect them to stay.

For example my arms are very small at 28cm fore 30 upper. I was hoping to get them to 33cm and 38cm. I understand it will be quite hard to do but I understand that newbies can gain upwards of 25lbs of muscle in a year? My hand strength is reasonable, I bought recently and was able to close a 88.5kg gripper without too much hassle. My arms are quite long so think it would take up a large proportion of the gains available..

I think this would be better on my upper body than my legs which whilst not that long (inside leg 86cm) I guess would soak up the "gains" without visibility.

And yes I acknowledge that I am certainly not county level at anything! It was more in terms of proportionally.

I would like a more balanced view in the future but for now would like to kickstart the improvements in the upper body.

P.s am I silly for trying to lose weight and gain muscle? I would just be afraid of putting on muscle, my midriff staying heavy, having to lose weight and lose the muscle..

Thanks

I think we need to qualify a few of your assumptions, here.

1) Real, long-lasting gains take a LOT of hard work simply because protein synthesis takes time. "Bulking" a muscle is relatively easy because the new stimulus on the muscle causes glycogen and water to be held in the cells themselves... So you get a fuller look, but it is relatively transient (I. E. The body won't keep it there if there is no stimulus).

2) 25lbs of mass is possible in a year, but it probably won't all be muscle. The body puts on fat when calories are in excess (I. E. What is requires for actual mass). And most of that mass will be in your legs... If you train them. :)

3) The biggest growing muscles are, unsurprisingly, similar to the biggest muscles: glutes and thighs. Pecs, arms and delts are - by comparison - tiny, with most "big" people you see having enormous backs as well, (lats and traps play here).

4) Big mass can be accumulated with small weights, but it is epically boring and onerous.

5) Getting "big" isn't really a tangible goal, because how big is "big?" Do you want to gain X inches on A and Y inches on B? Or "bench 350?"

Some other stuff, too, but I'd suggest getting your head down and starting with those pushups. :)
 
Soldato
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I think we need to qualify a few of your assumptions, here.

1) Real, long-lasting gains take a LOT of hard work simply because protein synthesis takes time. "Bulking" a muscle is relatively easy because the new stimulus on the muscle causes glycogen and water to be held in the cells themselves... So you get a fuller look, but it is relatively transient (I. E. The body won't keep it there if there is no stimulus).

2) 25lbs of mass is possible in a year, but it probably won't all be muscle. The body puts on fat when calories are in excess (I. E. What is requires for actual mass). And most of that mass will be in your legs... If you train them. :)

3) The biggest growing muscles are, unsurprisingly, similar to the biggest muscles: glutes and thighs. Pecs, arms and delts are - by comparison - tiny, with most "big" people you see having enormous backs as well, (lats and traps play here).

4) Big mass can be accumulated with small weights, but it is epically boring and onerous.

5) Getting "big" isn't really a tangible goal, because how big is "big?" Do you want to gain X inches on A and Y inches on B? Or "bench 350?"

Some other stuff, too, but I'd suggest getting your head down and starting with those pushups. :)

Excellent post! Especially number 5. Set a goal, do your research, eat well but most importantly DO THE WORK. If it was easy everyone would do it.
 
Man of Honour
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I looked into this but there is a large amount of squatting in this. I have no interest in larger legs at the start. I would much rather focus on the volume training for upper body.

Once I have maxed out my gains as is reasonable, I will then migrate to this as it looks good for core strength. But for now it is exclusively the volume I am looking for.

Doing something like strong lifts is 100% not going to make your legs big 'at the start'

The compound lifts stronglifts teaches you are really effictive for full body.
 
Man of Honour
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@Desperado_under_the_eaves I'd listen to the guys here, they know what they're on about.

You're not going to magically end up "too big" lawd I wish it was that easy.

You're going to be robbing your disco muscle gains if you don't also train legs and back, along with that you can set yourself up for some pretty irritating niggles due to imbalances.
 
Associate
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I think we need to qualify a few of your assumptions, here.

1) Real, long-lasting gains take a LOT of hard work simply because protein synthesis takes time. "Bulking" a muscle is relatively easy because the new stimulus on the muscle causes glycogen and water to be held in the cells themselves... So you get a fuller look, but it is relatively transient (I. E. The body won't keep it there if there is no stimulus).

2) 25lbs of mass is possible in a year, but it probably won't all be muscle. The body puts on fat when calories are in excess (I. E. What is requires for actual mass). And most of that mass will be in your legs... If you train them. :)

3) The biggest growing muscles are, unsurprisingly, similar to the biggest muscles: glutes and thighs. Pecs, arms and delts are - by comparison - tiny, with most "big" people you see having enormous backs as well, (lats and traps play here).

4) Big mass can be accumulated with small weights, but it is epically boring and onerous.

5) Getting "big" isn't really a tangible goal, because how big is "big?" Do you want to gain X inches on A and Y inches on B? Or "bench 350?"

Some other stuff, too, but I'd suggest getting your head down and starting with those pushups. :)

Thank you for taking the time to post this, very interesting reading. So with regeards to point 2 and 3, that "potential" that newbies can put on isn't a pick and choose scenario, it will either go on the glutes and thighs or you will end up putting on just a few lbs a muscle a year?

p.s point 4 soundss interesting, please tell me more!!

p.p.s point 5 as per my original comment I think (using imperial as it is a UK site) that aiming for 13" forearms and 15" biceps would not be unreasonable for someone who is 192cm. At the moment I look thin rather than athletic at 85kg.


Excellent post! Especially number 5. Set a goal, do your research, eat well but most importantly DO THE WORK. If it was easy everyone would do it.

Yes I am trying to do my research, specifically around calories. Using https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutcal.htm

It is saying for muscle gain (moderate setting, intensive exercise and sedentary job that I need 2957 calories?? This seems particularly high. The weight around my waist seems to be deep fat which reading around is bad, hence why I'd like it to go as well...

Doing something like strong lifts is 100% not going to make your legs big 'at the start'

The compound lifts stronglifts teaches you are really effictive for full body.

@Desperado_under_the_eaves I'd listen to the guys here, they know what they're on about.

You're not going to magically end up "too big" lawd I wish it was that easy.

You're going to be robbing your disco muscle gains if you don't also train legs and back, along with that you can set yourself up for some pretty irritating niggles due to imbalances.

I'm sure I will not end up too big easily or everyone would do it!


Can I combine stronglifts with other routines as well? So hit the core compounds but add arm and shoulder specific exercises as well?
 
Man of Honour
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Can I combine stronglifts with other routines as well? So hit the core compounds but add arm and shoulder specific exercises as well?

Yea for sure. In SL you would do overhead press as part of the routine anyway which is great for shoulder strength. Add any assistance you want on top. You could add curls and skull crushers or similar for your arms.
 
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Squats and deadlifts = strong back, strong posterior chain, big lats and big traps = big upper body.

If you don't do lower body work you won't get anywhere.
 
Soldato
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Can I combine stronglifts with other routines as well? So hit the core compounds but add arm and shoulder specific exercises as well?
From experience, you won't want to.

By the time the weight has ramped up and you're failing on the main exercises then some pull ups, dips or a couple of isolation exercises to hit areas you feel are lagging behind will be all you can muster the energy for.

When it gets tough you really need those rest days and I'd suggest waiting until you're dropping down to 3 sets before adding in too much extra.
 
Associate
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Squats and deadlifts = strong back, strong posterior chain, big lats and big traps = big upper body.

If you don't do lower body work you won't get anywhere.

Thanks. I went to the gym today but felt quite lost at how to start. I did some squats with the bar and then wandered away and did some cardio.

Going to book an instructor to show me the moves as I am quite inflexible at the moment. My main concern above staying slim is getting an injury.

Does stronglifts seem the best way forward with this concern? I think squats are safe enough as driving weight down through body, but the deadlift seems quite easy to get wrong...

Thanks
 
Don
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Squats are also easy to get wrong and can jaff your knees and back just as badly as deads. Google is your friend. It's unlikely that you need a trainer but what you do need is an honest and at least half educated point of view with which to view your performance. Doing your own research and taking it slow is enough for most.

If in doubt, don't be shy; record some footage and post it in here.
 
Man of Honour
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but it won't last particularly long after you stop.

Kind of frustrating - I keep doing the 100 push-ups thing on and off before I lose motivation and quite quickly put on muscle mass but lose 75% of it quickly if I stop :s
 
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I have decided that the weights can wait til after Christmas. Bit complex for now.

I will focus on cardio for now as it is quite poor. Doing 40 mins on exercise bike and 30 mins jogging on treadmill. Hopefully this will reduce the abdominal fat so that when I start the weights I can keep the weight clean as possible.

(From reading around on the internet, I can see why people go for testosterone shots etc. Looks like an easy way up the rock face. Don't like the side effects though, so not for me!)
 
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(From reading around on the internet, I can see why people go for testosterone shots etc. Looks like an easy way up the rock face. Don't like the side effects though, so not for me!)

It's not, they aren't magic. You need to put even more effort in if you actually want to make use of them and not trash your body.
 
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