A bit of historic and personal info: I'm 24yo, have 5'9 (1,75m) and 213lbs (97kg), more or less 22%BF. I've begin to weight training in my 15, but never got it serious. Trained for one year, stooped for 1 more, and so on. Last year I successful lost about 8kg of fat, and then for almost 2 months, I'm on the following routine

I consider what I'm doing a Strength training, but see for yourself, here is how it is:

A - Monday

  • Squats* 12/10/8 reps
  • Leg Press 10/8/6 reps
  • Bench Warm-up + 3x5 reps
  • Pulley 3x8 reps
  • Crunch in pulley machine 3x12 reps
  • Stand Calves in smith machine 3x12 reps

B - Tuesday

  • Dead-lift Warm-up + 3x5 reps
  • Press Warm-up + 3x5 reps
  • Biceps curl (w-bar) 3x8 reps
  • Lying triceps extensions (h-bar) 3x8 reps

C - Thursday

  • Squats* 12/10/8 reps
  • Stiff leg dead-lift Warm-up + 3x5 reps
  • Dumbbell Bench Warm-up + 3x5 reps
  • Attempts to Chin-up (pulley machhine) 3x8 reps
  • Leg elevation Abs 3x12

I want to change it to a more bodybuilding routine, focusing on two main goals:

  • Postural correction - reading another question, I ended up in Neanderthal no more, and I have a mild kyphosys and lordosys which I would like to minimize
  • Proportion arms/torso - I have a strong chest, and a large torso, but thin arms. Seeing me from behind I'm square, from back, I a v-shape, even with my belly. But my arms seems to NOT grow, in the past I was monitoring it, and I could reduce belly while increase chest circumference. Increase chest and back weighs, but my arms lags behind. While I know a big part is genetic, I never really tried anything to improve the relation arms/torso

My doubts during developing a new routine is: There's to much exercises I should do to improve the posture, and I don't know how many of them I should include. Also, I don't know if I should continue with my bench weight, which I consider far ahead of other move, but could potentially come in the way of postural improvement. I have read too, that for arms development, you should training arms 2 times/week. I have to keep my training to Monday, Tuesday and Thursday only**.

*I would like to do heavier squats, but last year had a problem in the knee during squats. So currently I do it just as warm-up, to improve my form, and get used to the move. And have included Leg Press as a replacement.

**I would like to hit the gym 4 times/week, but I'm working in another city and I only have time to go to the gym in aforementioned days.

  • The question title is very ambiguous: do you want to change to a bodybuilding routine or from one?
    – user2861
    Oct 7, 2013 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


The short version:

Broadly, I think your program is fine in terms of composition. To get the result you want:

  • Up your cardio to lose fat and improve your arm/body ratio that way (do it whenever you can, or as a warm up in the gym)
  • Up your core work for posture (do it right after your cardio along with some stretching)
  • Up your overall volume (go for longer sets - 10 to 12 reps)
  • Up your overall volume (reduce your rest between sets - no more than 60 secs)

The long version:

Your program is light on arm work so it's not very surprising they lag behind. Also, as you said yourself, you are doing low-rep strength training type sets which won't help you with bulking up. Try introducing longer rep (10 to 12) sets involving your arms in each of your workouts. Do some push-ups during your warmup, then fit some curls or pulls in each of your workout.

With regards to posture, the program you describe contains very little core. I would recommend incorporating 10 to 15 minutes core work and stretches as part of your pre-lifting warmup.

Looking at the overall work, I tried to estimate how long your workouts are ... and assuming 30 secs per set (you do low reps) plus 90 secs rest between sets, giving roughly 2 minutes per set:

  • Monday 18 sets: 36 minutes
  • Tuesday 12 sets: 24 minutes
  • Thursday 15 sets: 30 minutes

That is only 1:30 hour per week which might yield slow progress.

Also, considering your BMI of 30+, you should increase your cardio. The great stuff about cardio is you don't have to be in the gym to get it done. Start walking, running or cycling around whenever you can. My guess is that you don't store much fat around your arms, hence they look skinny compare to the rest of your body. If you up your cardio, you'll lose fat elsewhere and the proportion you seek will come that way.

  • He has 22% BF So BMI of 30+ shouldn't be a problem here, he is rather muscular
    – Mateusz
    Sep 9, 2013 at 21:09
  • 1
    Although within the average, 22% is closer to obese than fitness (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_fat_percentage). I know BMI is not great tool (it tells me i'm overweight despite 10% BF) but it is an indicator. At 97Kg, I think he can impact his proportion faster by loosing fat, than trying to selectively bulk up his arms alone.
    – zeFrenchy
    Sep 10, 2013 at 10:53
  • He has to have massive bones or massive muscles, I am 180cm tall, I weigh 79 kg, and I have around 20% BF, how he did 97 kg? Or maybe I have lot less BF than I think.
    – Mateusz
    Sep 10, 2013 at 12:03
  • Stretching pre-workout is probably not a good idea, especially if they're static stretches... see fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/455/…
    – Tristan
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:58
  • If you have posture issues, stretching is a good idea. I know about the recent backlash against stretching and their adverse effect on performance. However, I don't think how much weight is lifted is that important in that case.
    – zeFrenchy
    Oct 11, 2013 at 20:20

Answer to your two different questions,

  1. Very simple answer for your first question. The more you train the more you have developed muscles. The more developed muscles the more the support you receive to keep your posture right on the spot.

I had this problem with my knees when I used to cycle professionally. visiting very high ranked specialist received this advice that I need to give up cycling (on the actual bike) to manage the uncontrolled pressure. BUT keep exercising the knees on the fixed bike to increase the muscular support on the knee to decrease the pressure on the joint as a result.

2) I used to suffer from the same problem on the arm muscles. Very developed shoulder and chest but fairly under developed arms with long bicep muscle( which is very hard to bulk ). I was reading about this issue for years and the points which helped briefly were:

  • You need to dedicate a day for arms if you have a long bicep muscle gene.

  • Focus on isolation movements.

  • Go with high reps and giant sets until you get the extreme pump. (the way you can't reach your nose anymore :P, thats what I do)

  • and have it in mind. These type of bicep and triceps muscles are very hard to train BUT extremely extraordinary shape and amazing look if you succeed doing it.

To know more about the details of what I mentioned very briefly have a look at this article which helped me alot. Packing up arms mass by Steve Holman

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