How to get Muscle Definition in my arms

Shericbuck

Cathlete
Hello, I have been out here seeking knowledge before. Here goes....

I have been working out faithly for approx 5 years. 5-6 days week. ( I have been working out my whole life but got serious about it 5 years ago- added weight training)

I have gained muscle strength but no muscle definition in my arms. I eat clean. I have tried just about all of Cathe's weight dvd's. For the past several months I have been working 1 body part a day/cardio. My cardio ranges from 20-40 minutes depending on the intensity. I even incorporated 100 rep challenges into my routine.
I like cardio because I feel it helps keep my weight under control.

WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I completed STS (I gained weight during STS - bummer!) So I have been scared to try that again. I watch my food intake. So is it my body type, age, or my rotation. (1 body part/cardio day)

From reading the forum I know several of you out there are really into lifting. Can you please give me examples of your rotations.

My body has changed in the past 5 years from weight training and I have definition in my legs but my arms look like sticks. I want some shape.

I need advise. PLEASE!!!

Thanks
Sherry
 

deineira

Cathlete
Hello,
I will issue the standard disclaimer that everyone is different, but I personally saw definition by doing STS, but I was up to bicep curls with 20-25# dumbbells and a 35# barbell. You did not say how much you were lifting when you did STS, so I am not sure how heavy you're lifting.

I was so successful building muscle in my biceps that some of my shirts got too tight, which was not what I was aiming for! I moved into a rotation about 3 months ago that has me doing a lot of planks, and I have increased definition in arms and shoulders and my bulk started to decline. That's what I was personally aiming for.

I also find that adding pushups gives me nicer arms...

So, I would say pushups and planks work for me for definition, but STS worked for adding size.

I'm 39 by the way, so I don't know how that comports with you age-wise, which you also included in your question (but you did not mention your age).
 

Shericbuck

Cathlete
Deineira. Thanks... Like your plank/push up idea. I keep thinking that if I lift heavy I should have definition, maybe based on my body I may need a different approach.

Dah...I should have provide more info...that would be helpful.
Age 49
bicep curls - 16 reps (17 pds) 8-10 reps (22 pds) BB 35 pds
triceps - I range from 8 to 12 depending on the exercise (I have a elbow that does not like that position to much)
rows - 1 arm 25-35 depending on reps, bb- 45-55
chest - dumbbells - 22 to 25 anything above that I think I'm going to knock myself out. (bb - 50-65 depending on reps) I think I should push myself harder when I use a barbell for chest press.

Don't know if this matters but my arm measurement around the thickest part is 11" ....and that is when I'm really trying to see if I have a bicep.

I am open to all worout ideas and possibly a menu change. I only eat chicken, love yogurt and cottage cheese and dried beans for protein.

Thanks Sherry
 

fit44

Cathlete
Hello, I have been out here seeking knowledge before. Here goes....

I have been working out faithly for approx 5 years. 5-6 days week. ( I have been working out my whole life but got serious about it 5 years ago- added weight training)

I have gained muscle strength but no muscle definition in my arms. I eat clean. I have tried just about all of Cathe's weight dvd's. For the past several months I have been working 1 body part a day/cardio. My cardio ranges from 20-40 minutes depending on the intensity. I even incorporated 100 rep challenges into my routine.
I like cardio because I feel it helps keep my weight under control.

WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I completed STS (I gained weight during STS - bummer!) So I have been scared to try that again. I watch my food intake. So is it my body type, age, or my rotation. (1 body part/cardio day)

From reading the forum I know several of you out there are really into lifting. Can you please give me examples of your rotations.

My body has changed in the past 5 years from weight training and I have definition in my legs but my arms look like sticks. I want some shape.

I need advise. PLEASE!!!

Thanks
Sherry

A lot of women gain scale weight lifting heavier weights, but that doesn't mean you're not moving in the right direction. ;) First suggestion...throw out the scale.:eek:

I'm a member of Body Beast for women FB group, and there are several women over 40 who have completely changed their body comp (from skinny fat to muscular defined build), but it took a year to get there. What they will tell you made the difference... back off cardio, increasing calories, and focusing on optimal micros. You can't gain muscle if you're not eating enough. I know this is a scary concept, but most women try to restrict calories and this what will prevent you from making progress.
 

Justinef

Cathlete
Hi there! I put on weight with STS as well - although I'm OK about it (or trying to be ;)) I got the best definition in my arms and shoulders from XTrain, however - to the point where people commented. Cathe really works the small muscles in that series. I did the 90 day rotation, and added extra cardio. I lost a few pounds as well (without really trying). I know everyone is different, and different bodies have success with different things. Best of luck!
Justine
 

Swimmer

Cathlete
Sherry---Keep at it, don't be afraid to go heavy in your weights, and please don't be afraid to put on some weight. If you want to track progress, use the trusty old measuring tape instead of that insidious scale (inches, not pounds). Weirdly enough, I found that adding an endurance-type strength workout (High Reps or my favorite, Power Hour) for body parts that were weaker really helped me regain muscle definition in those areas. I'd do one of the heavy weight series for four weeks (like Pyramid or STS) but one day a week, I'd do Power Hour or High Reps after an upper-body focused cardio like kickbox, Hard Strikes, or MMA Boxing. I think Justine is correct in that working the smaller muscles, developing them, really does the trick.

Another tip is to get weighted gloves to use in kickboxing DVD. The one pound addition does wonders for your arms, shoulders, lats, and core. If you don't have a heavy bag and boxing gloves, you might want to consider investing in them because they work magic, as well.

Doing the metabolic workouts like AfterBurn, SuperCuts, Flex Train, etc. also have an extra strength bonus.

I have put on weight since I went back to doing Cathe's workouts earlier this year, but I look/feel 100% better. Curvier in a good, healthy way. I have significantly more total body muscle and am stronger. My core, particularly, is extremely strong. Best of all, most of my muscle imbalances have been resolved. This last is incredible because the difference in strength/muscle development was noticeable before and impacted my athletic performance.

I love being and looking strong, and I will be 51 in February. And I have excellent aerobic capacity, thanks to her HiiT, metabolic, and other cardio workouts.
 
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Hi Everyone,

To all ladies,

I am popping in here to say, please do not be so hard on yourself!:D:D:D A so called weight/loss gain of around 2 pound is IMO not really significant while lifting heavy ( hormonal change should also be taken into account :)). It is temporary "gain".I would not worry about this. After switching to other type of workout the weight does decrease therefore balances the scale number out.

As it has been mentioned, muscle gain resulting in inch loss is best approach.

To sherry: what type of cardio are doing? Hiit or long steady? How many time per week are you doing it, what is your body type? (ectomorph, mesomorph or andomorph).Are you having good complex carbohydrate? I made a mistake of cutting out complex carbohydrate and ended slowing my metabolism. if I was in shoes I would adjust carbs and cardio workouts and embrace hypertrophy program (Burnset, meso 2 or if you want total body program Muscle max/sts total body 2weeks and 2 weeks high reps rotation). This require a trial and error process.

All the best sherry,
 

CDPotier

Cathlete
I think it depends upon being a mesomorph

There are three different body types, and there are also combinations of these body types.

Mesomorphs build muscle very easily, but, if they don't watch out, they can run to fat. I am a curvy mesomorph, so I build and retain muscle very easily.

Ectomorphs are the very slim type, and it is harder for them to build muscle, but it is possible.

Endomorphs are the very, very curvy type, and they gain weight very easily, and it is very difficult for them to build muscle. I doubt that we have very many endomorphs here.

I read the entire thread, and the advice given to you is excellent. Good luck!
 

AYLE09

Cathlete
I always struggled with gaining significant mass and/or definition in my arms. I would get definition in my abs, legs would increase in size and strength, but I always felt like my arms were just skinny. I would lift steady and heavy and still... saw nothing. It was only after I took a good hard look at my diet that I started to see changes. Make sure that you are eating enough (of the right stuff of course ;) ) to pay your muscles back for all of the hard work. I'm not sure what your stats are - height/weight, etc., so this may not be what your issue is, but worth considering. I'm about 10 pounds heavier now and my muscle looks "fed" and happy. I have also been more careful not to overdo the cardio. Too much long cardio always eats away at my muscle and my arms always seem to go first :mad: lol...

trial and error, trial and error! Good Luck!
 

Mariposa1973

Cathlete
I always struggled with gaining significant mass and/or definition in my arms. I would get definition in my abs, legs would increase in size and strength, but I always felt like my arms were just skinny. I would lift steady and heavy and still... saw nothing. It was only after I took a good hard look at my diet that I started to see changes. Make sure that you are eating enough (of the right stuff of course ;) ) to pay your muscles back for all of the hard work. I'm not sure what your stats are - height/weight, etc., so this may not be what your issue is, but worth considering. I'm about 10 pounds heavier now and my muscle looks "fed" and happy. I have also been more careful not to overdo the cardio. Too much long cardio always eats away at my muscle and my arms always seem to go first :mad: lol...

trial and error, trial and error! Good Luck!

Hi, give me advice please you said overdo cardio, Im doing STS and cardio 30 min before each day.
 

AYLE09

Cathlete
Hi, give me advice please you said overdo cardio, Im doing STS and cardio 30 min before each day.

Hi Mariposa,

I suppose that the actual amount of cardio that the body can handle before it starts to break down muscle mass is a little bit different for everyone, but for me personally, I find short bursts of intense training are better when my focus is lifting to build and tone. I do 20-30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week and allow myself one longer cardio session once each week (and this is simply because I need my Cathe spin, step, kickbox, etc. in the mix somewhere as well or I get cranky! :p ) My short cardio sessions are very often Hiit Training. I also enjoy the cardio sections of Hard Strikes and Rockout Knockout because I get some added core and shoulder work in there-bonus! I also run treadmill intervals. If i'm lifting steady and my diet is clean then I don't stress over missed cardio sessions anymore. I'm a cardio junky at heart so cutting back was not an easy task for me at all!

I think the most important thing is to watch your body and your results. If you feel like you're running in a circle and seeing no changes than adjust until you find the right mix ;)
 

Mariposa1973

Cathlete
Hi Mariposa,

I suppose that the actual amount of cardio that the body can handle before it starts to break down muscle mass is a little bit different for everyone, but for me personally, I find short bursts of intense training are better when my focus is lifting to build and tone. I do 20-30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week and allow myself one longer cardio session once each week (and this is simply because I need my Cathe spin, step, kickbox, etc. in the mix somewhere as well or I get cranky! :p ) My short cardio sessions are very often Hiit Training. I also enjoy the cardio sections of Hard Strikes and Rockout Knockout because I get some added core and shoulder work in there-bonus! I also run treadmill intervals. If i'm lifting steady and my diet is clean then I don't stress over missed cardio sessions anymore. I'm a cardio junky at heart so cutting back was not an easy task for me at all!

I think the most important thing is to watch your body and your results. If you feel like you're running in a circle and seeing no changes than adjust until you find the right mix ;)

Thank you very much
 

kariev

Cathlete
My arms bulk easily with weights. For years I tried every type of weight workout to give my arms great definition. Nothing worked! It wasn't until I discovered horizontal conditioning that I finally got the arm results I wanted. I did these workouts twice per week and stopped all other upper body work. I got great definition and totally leaned out my arms
 

Shericbuck

Cathlete
Good Day Ladies,

I would like to thank you all for chiming in. Everyone has given me some great advice. I need to make some changes in my rotations/diet. I feel better (hopeful) about moving forward knowing that I'm not alone. It can get discouraging at times when you feel like you are working hard and getting no results. My DH says I'm always to hard on myself...but that keeps me motivated.

I need to keep at it!!!!!!! Thanks again for all your advice and insight. Sunday is going to be my new starting point! I'm going to have a bicep when I turn 50 if I have to draw one on there. I have until May to meet my goal.

Thanks again.

ps....I may be back out here again in a couple of months seeking advice.


Cathlete's are truly a great source of knowledge. I'm glad to be apart of the team!

Sherry
 

CDPotier

Cathlete
Im try to get in about an hour of cardio

a day, mainly because I love the aerobic high that I get. I live on the top floor of my condo building, and even with two AC's runnning all the time, it is too hot to work out here. I do seem retain the muscle that I have, and, that is one of the reasons that I hate the summer.
 
Hi Sherry,

I have more cathe's article, I hope, would convince you to lift heavier.

Here are the links:

Cathe Friedrich - Weight Gain Myths
Cathe Friedrich - Weightlifting Myths Debunked
Cathe Friedrich - Weight Lifting for a Toned, Defined Physique
Cathe Friedrich - The Benefits of Lifting Heavy Weights for Women
http://cathe.com/5-tips-for-strength-training-to-lose-weight
Cathe Friedrich - Why Lifting Light Weights Isn’t Best for Building Muscle Tone

I personally wish the last article could be posted as a sticker. So many women are still shying away from heavy load thinking they could gain muscle tone and definitions with 2.5 pound dumbbell:D:D:D:rolleyes:. It simply ain't going to happen!

All the best;)
 
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Shericbuck

Cathlete
Nathalie, Great articles....Thanks!

I have all of Cathe's weight DVD's - heavy & high reps.

I will take a look at Cathe's rotations for muscle building. DH thinks we should try STS, Meso 2 & 3 again or XTrain. Thoughts? I like them all. I even like the oldies like PS. I just need to push myself with the weights.

Dumb question? The day after lifting can we do one of the new X10 workouts that contains light weights. I think that I read that is no problem.

Another question?? TB-upper vs 2 day split vs 1 body part a day. pro's & con's?

I am going to make a few changes in my diet. Yes eating more scares me but I know if I eat the right things it will be ok.

Thanks for any advise.
Sherry (looking for biceps :))
 

mini-natty

Cathlete
All these suggestions are great. I just want to throw another thing out there to try, which has worked very well for me. Keep in mind everyone is different! It really is trial/error, so be patient on your journey. Rome was not built in a day ;).

Focus on COMPOUND EXERCISES! Chin-ups, push-ups, deadlifts, squats, over head presses, barbell rows, inverted rows, dips. I've only been doing these exercises for 2 months now in the 4-6 rep range (training for strength). I'm doing very little isolation exercises (there are absolutely none in my program, but I chose to add them in at the end of my w/o...sometimes ;)). I'm seeing muscle definition in my arms that I was never able to obtain, even after 2yrs of weight training. Along with definition, I'm getting stronger and more functional, overall. Believe it or not, the deadlift is quite magical in increasing overall muscle definition and testosterone (us females lack that very important hormone to build muscle easily :mad:). Most people consider deadlifts to be solely a LB movement, but it really works the ENTIRE body. So ya, give those a try and you might be surprised at how well your body responds.

Good luck!
 
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Nathalie, Great articles....Thanks!

I have all of Cathe's weight DVD's - heavy & high reps.

I will take a look at Cathe's rotations for muscle building. DH thinks we should try STS, Meso 2 & 3 again or XTrain. Thoughts? I like them all. I even like the oldies like PS. I just need to push myself with the weights.

Dumb question? The day after lifting can we do one of the new X10 workouts that contains light weights. I think that I read that is no problem.

Another question?? TB-upper vs 2 day split vs 1 body part a day. pro's & con's?

I am going to make a few changes in my diet. Yes eating more scares me but I know if I eat the right things it will be ok.

Thanks for any advise.
Sherry (looking for biceps :))

Hi Sherry,

Natasha has chimed in and I totally agree with what she has posted. We all learn from trial and error. I would take her advice on board.

You are lucky cause you have DH as a workout buddy:cool::cool:. This should help you.

As to being scared of eating, I know how you feel. Trust me I have been there. It was
only when I started to look closely comparing what I was consuming versus the amount of energy I needed to optimally workout, I realised how I was being my own worse enemy!:mad: Do not restrict your calorie too much nor should you overeating. You yourself know what is truly going on.:):):).
Break Through Your Plateau | FitnessRX for Women

*) x10 Keep your weight light the day after a pure heavy lift because your muscle need to recover. Please do not do any extreme premix as it could interfere against what you are aiming to achieve which is more muscle defined toned muscles. Once per week metabolic an hour workout is enough. Too much of it could cause muscle breakdown depending on your body type. if you are an ectomorph really keep cardio at a minimal level.

*) Split once per week for each muscle group IMO is for maintenance. I know you need an instant shock on your body so go for 2upper and 2 lower. You can do one split and total per week. Another option would be 2 split but this could feel brutal;) You will need effective anti-inflammatory food to help. Shake may be. This depend on your recovery ability. Stretches are very important. They do help for recovery.

Total body split versus split. For the purpose of your goal focus on split at least till you start seeing that Bicep popping out:D:D:D.
Mix both split later on for maintenance. You just need to change your routine up causing a shock;).

Yes Bodybuilding rotation would be great. I am starting it November ;);)
You will need to add x-train burnset only at some point of the rotation.

Have a good weekend,

HTH,
 
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