I'm looking to develop a workout plan that utilizes full gym equipment, focusing particularly on my upper body. My forearms and biceps are relatively thin, and currently, I can manage 13 reps x 3 sets with 6kg dumbbells (6kg-6kg in both hands) for both biceps curls and shoulder presses. I feel that my upper body strength is quite low.

On arm days, my routine includes biceps curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, and occasionally hammer curls. Despite this, I haven't seen significant gains in strength or muscle mass—a 10-20% improvement would be notable. Do you have any suggestions on how I could enhance my strength?

I've dedicated one day each week to focus on different muscle groups. For my chest day, I perform exercises like chest press, incline chest press, and cable chest fly. Sometimes, I also adjust the cable pulley to different heights to target the upper, middle, and lower parts of the chest.
Another day is set aside for core workouts, where I currently use sliding plates.
Back workouts occur on a separate day and include deadlifts and various cable exercises. Lastly, I have a leg day featuring squats, leg presses, and weighted leg extensions.
Some more Info:

I've been following this workout routine for a month now. A few years ago, I adhered to it consistently for over three months. Although my strength improved slightly—I was able to lift 8kg dumbbells for curls—there wasn't a significant increase.

I'm incorporating more protein into my diet and trying to eat healthily, but I only manage to do so about four days a week. I'm wondering if adding protein powder might help with strength gains. I am a 38-year-old male.

  • 1
    How long did you stick to this routine? Have your lifts improved since you started? Do you pay attention to your diet? How old are you? Pretty hard to give an advice without more info, but working each muscles more than once a week is probably a good idea
    – Max
    Commented May 7 at 13:31
  • @Max Added answers to your questions.
    – nick
    Commented May 7 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


To enhance your strength as a beginner, there are a few things that you should pay attention to:

  • Progressive overload: You should increase your training volume from one session to another, be it by adding reps, weight, doing a slower eccentric, whatever works for you. The volume should bring you close to failure most of the time.
  • Protein intake: You need to eat sufficient protein for your body to build muscles, I won't get into specifics but you could check this question or others on this site to have an idea.
  • Sleep: The body needs time to recover and build muscles, it depends on the individual but usually sleeping 7-8 hours a day is highly recommended.

You should also aim to train each muscles at least twice a week, which is more easily done with a full body workout, or a pull/push split than a one body part a day split, especially for beginner.

That being said, one month is not a long time to see significant progress, the most important thing is to be consistent over a long period of time and to be realistic. Going from 6 to 8kg curls in 3 months is quite significant.

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