Fitness
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After doing several months of weight lifting, where I try to aim for weights that I stop at 10 reps for, my arms have gotten pretty huge.  As a girl, I want to make them smaller and leaner (and lose the rest of the fat around them).  Can I do this by just doing higher reps, smaller weights, or will that just maintain the muscle that I already have right now?  Help!

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I don't know but I'd love to know about how to achieve slimmer arms too - are there any experts on the subject in here?

Mine arent all muscle though - there's alot of flab.

#2  
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You can't spot reduce fat on your arms or elsewhere.  The only way to lose excess fat on your arms is to lose fat/weight overall and wait until your body decides it wants to lose it off your arms.

If you are finding that your arms are getting too much muscle (which I assume is what you mean by " they've gotten huge"?) then stopping heavy arm excises is going to be the only thing that will stop the muscles from growing.  However, if you are losing weight and not exercising your arms this will also mean you're more likely to lose muscle there as well as fat and then you won't get a toned look either.

Essentially you'll have to decide between skinny but not toned arms sooner OR arms which might look huge to you now but will look awesome and toned once you've dropped in body fat some more.

Original Post by dorinz:

If you are finding that your arms are getting too much muscle (which I assume is what you mean by " they've gotten huge"?) then stopping heavy arm excises is going to be the only thing that will stop the muscles from growing. 

Not eating a caloric surplus will also stop the muscles from growing. 

sakura, how much have you been eating?

Also, is the assessment that your arms are "huge" based on measurements or just your perception? As you lose weight, if your arms don't slim down as quick as the rest of your body, they might look bigger in comparison, but it might just be that they haven't caught up with the rest of you.

One of my friends is a fitness trainer, and she was coaching me through a routine the other day and actually this came up.

She told me that to avoid bulk you should do more reps at a lower weight, and be sure to stretch a ton before and after. The quick heavy reps are what build the muscle, the stretch will lengthen it to minimize bulk.

If you're not sure about what stretches to do, just google 'upper body stretches' there are a ton that feel awesome after a good work out.

:)

Original Post by gypsygirl37:

She told me that to avoid bulk you should do more reps at a lower weight, and be sure to stretch a ton before and after. The quick heavy reps are what build the muscle, the stretch will lengthen it to minimize bulk.

Your friend should probably start getting her info from legitimate scientific sources, instead of shape and cosmo. 

My friend is a certified fitness trainer, and I don't recall the last time she even looked at a magazine, nevermind read such trash.

Not sure how your reply is helpful to the thread at all, and I especially appreciate that you don't even counter with helpful information! 

Thanks though!

Original Post by floggingsully:

Original Post by gypsygirl37:

She told me that to avoid bulk you should do more reps at a lower weight, and be sure to stretch a ton before and after. The quick heavy reps are what build the muscle, the stretch will lengthen it to minimize bulk.

Your friend should probably start getting her info from legitimate scientific sources, instead of shape and cosmo. 

Hi floggingsully - is gyspygirl's trainer friend not right on this one? What's the truth then when it comes to 'minimising' bulk and stretching - or is it another myth? Surprised

The more reps for less bulk is a myth.

Here's a good article, from stumptuous: Strength without size: How to get stronger without getting bulky.

Original Post by nutella85:

Hi floggingsully - is gyspygirl's trainer friend not right on this one? What's the truth then when it comes to 'minimising' bulk and stretching - or is it another myth? Surprised

Muscle length is determined by where tendons attach the muscle to the bone.  The only way to make a muscle longer is to rip the tendon off the bone and reattach it at another point.  Stretching will not rip your tendons off of your bones and attach them at another point.

Lifting heavy things will make your muscles bigger (if your eating a surplus), lifting light things a bunch of times (and eating a surplus) will also make your muscles bigger, it'll just take longer.

If you want to 'minimize bulk' just lay in bed all day until your muscles atrophy.

i've come to the conclusion that sometimes larger arms are hereditary, at least for me. my mom has bigger arms than the rest of her body, and so do i, at least in my eyes. like some people have different porportions, i.e., larger mid-section, but super skinny arms and legs - i'm the opposite! ive got larger arms which makes me look larger, and a small waste and torso .. just do cardio, thats what i do, and they ahve gotten smaller. also, women aren't going to get HUGE arms because we don't have enough of the muscle building hormones.. (i've heard this somewhere).. anyway, what i do is, a lot of different types of arm exersices, i do dips for my biceps along with that exercise you put arms up and bend at the elbow.. and then i do more bicep excercies, i try to use heavier weights, and do about 3 reps of 12.

 

good luck!!!

I agree with paulinka about body part size being hereditary to a certain degree.

Bottom line - if you want your arms to be smaller you'll have to decrease the amount of muscle in them, the amount of fat on them, or both.  If you wan't to lose the muscle (and you probably don't), well, drop the weights.  Otherwise, amethystgirl is right - make sure your diet is in check (i.e. you're at a calorie deficit, apologies if I'm stating the obvious) and you might just have to be a little more patient in waiting for the fat to come off.  Your arms might be one of the last places you lose it from...

Agreed floggingsully - you can't actually make muscles longer, but the whole point is how they look. Stretching after weights will help increase a lean toned look, which is what I was implying. 

I'm only trying to give some helpful advice that has worked for me.

Original Post by gypsygirl37:

Stretching after weights will help increase a lean toned look, which is what I was implying.

Huh? How do you reckon?

gypsie - here's an article that contradicts your statement (I just looked for the first thing on google - I have no idea if the author is a good authority - I've seen other things on this site that... well, I wouldn't take their advice, but skimming this, it seemed to answer a few misconceptions that are circulating on some current threads).

One key paragraph:

Will stretching while you lift weights prevent you from bulking up? No way. Stretching can't prevent a muscle from getting larger because the two processes are separate. Stretching temporarily lengthens a muscle group. But muscle size is affected by how hard a muscle contracts, whether a person has a genetic tendency to build muscle easily, and whether they are eating more than normal to fuel this anabolic process.

This site is making me hate "trainers" more than I already do. They are the rent-a-cop of the fitness world.
#17  
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Amethystgirl is quite right on this one. Stretching only does two things: In the short term it can reduce DOMS which you get after exercising and in the long term, if done regularly and correctly, it can lead to increases in flexibility.

Whether stretching before or after exercise helps prevent injury has not been proven conclusively yet with studies showing that sometimes it does and other studies showing that it doesn't. 

What stretching definitely doesn't do is affect the shape of your muscles.  The shape is determined purely by how you train and some genetic factors.  Whether you are toned or not is a simple combination of how much muscle you have and how much bodyfat you have.

People who have "that lean toned look" have enough muscle to look attractive (which is usually a good chunk more than most girls think they need) and they are lean; i.e. their bodyfat is low enough to show off that muscle.

Well I guess it's relaly time to start going calorie deficit.  It's just so hard since I've been so hungry ever since I started lifting =[  Any tips on lightening up the calories and preventing the grazing that results from the reduced meals? xD

sakura - what are your current stats, and how much were you eating up til now (and how much before you started lifiting)?

Original Post by dorinz:

The shape is determined purely by how you train and some genetic factors. 

 Just to be nit-picky, muscle shape is a genetic factor.  Muscle size is determined by how you train (and what you eat).

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