Working out when you're very small..

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 29, 2009 8:02 AM GMT
    Alright, so..

    I'm 5ft tall exactly and 118lbs.
    I've been training kind of casually for 3 years and have started to commit (in diet and exercise) over the last few months to seriously trying to bulk up and thicken out.

    I've got an idea in my head of what I'd like to look like.. but I'm really not clear on the sorts of 'numbers' I could/should be aiming for. Obviously when I look around at/talk too/read about other guys, the kinds of weights they're lifting and sizes they're aiming to achieve have no applicability to a little pocket rocket like me.

    So can someone help me out on this? Is there a neat little formula I can use to work things out based on percentages?

    I can push hard anyway, but I feel like having some tangible figures around my goals (in terms of the kind of weight I could be shooting for) would be helpful..

    It'd be especially nice for my own motivation if I could look at the kinds of weights I'm moving and think yeah, okay, they're smaller then everyone else in the gym is lifting, but in comparison to my body weight I'm doing okay, or conversely, in this particular area I really need to push harder.. but at the moment I just don't really know how to work that out.


  • tokugawa

    Posts: 945

    Aug 29, 2009 7:26 PM GMT
    The reason there aren’t many formulas is that everybody is different; different metabolism, different genetics, etc. So here are some general principles:

    1. To get bigger muscles, you must GO TO FAILURE when training with weights. You might have heard: "no pain, no gain."

    2. You only need to go to failure ONCE for each exercise you do. Your body will more than replace the muscle cells you lost when you went to failure, as long as you get adequate sleep and eat healthy foods.

    3. When you can do 10 - 12 reps for an exercise, increase the weight.

    4. Exercises which use many muscle groups, such as a squat, will help your entire body get bigger. But ask somebody experienced to teach you, since you can hurt yourself if you do this exercise wrong. It's a good idea to hire a personal trainer to make sure you are doing all of your exercises correctly.

    5. Do some warm up before you lift. I do 5 minutes on the stationary bike, and also stretching exercises. AFTER you finish lifting, do some 'warm-down' exercises.

    6. Try to get a variety of exercise. Do things you like. Swim. Bike. Run. Jog. Take a martial arts class. Join a sports club. There may be gay-friendly clubs in your city.

    7. In some sports, being tall/big has no advantage: bodybuilding, diving, wrestling, boxing and gymnastics; bodybuilding, wrestling and boxing have weight classes to produce even match-ups.

    8. Have patience. If you could get big muscles quickly, lots more people would have big muscles. Eventually, you can feel your muscles getting bigger. Measure yourself periodically with a tape measure. Also, have your physique photographed every 6 months. Good luck.

    (btw, Some people are really into short people.)
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Aug 29, 2009 7:50 PM GMT
    One standard to seriously consider is your own body weight. You can set goals for the number of chin ups or pull ups (at various different types of grips) you can do, or pushups (which can be modified for normal, wide, military, decline, incline, shoulder, etc.), or the number of times you can bench press your full body weight, etc. Those sorts of numbers translate well across people of very different body types, as larger people need more strength in order to lift their larger weight. Many gymnasts, for instance, rely primarily on body weight exercises and plyometrics to build their strength, and those guys can become quite muscular.
  • NursePractiti...

    Posts: 232

    Aug 29, 2009 8:46 PM GMT
    I used to see this dwarf that worked out at my gym. Judging by his muscle size, I'd say while there might be a limit as to how muscular you can be, it's not as low as one might think. I'm 5'5" my self. The one thing when your working out regardless of size is to remember that whatever muscle size you get that you have to keep working out to keep that muscle size. I forgot that several years ago when I got bigger. I spent six months slowly losing that weight and size because I no longer had the time. (work out six days a week for three hours)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 29, 2009 11:13 PM GMT
    You have to be careful, because machines are designed for bigger folks.

    There's some bad advice here:
    1. Never, ever, stretch a cold muscle, unless you are an advanced athlete. Stretching needs to be done during or after your movements. Cold stretches are a sure fire way to injury. Either stretch during, or after your workout, but, never before.
    2. While "warming up" will help you metabolism a bit, the easiest warm up is high reps in the exercise you're about to do. No need to ride a bike when you're doing chest, unless you like riding the bike. A better "warm up" is a couple of light sets through a full range of motion.

    Don't worry about how you measure up against the pack. Do the best you can, and learn as you go.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 24, 2009 1:51 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidYou have to be careful, because machines are designed for bigger folks.

    There's some bad advice here:
    1. Never, ever, stretch a cold muscle, unless you are an advanced athlete. Stretching needs to be done during or after your movements. Cold stretches are a sure fire way to injury. Either stretch during, or after your workout, but, never before.
    2. While "warming up" will help you metabolism a bit, the easiest warm up is high reps in the exercise you're about to do. No need to ride a bike when you're doing chest, unless you like riding the bike. A better "warm up" is a couple of light sets through a full range of motion.

    Don't worry about how you measure up against the pack. Do the best you can, and learn as you go.



    LOL! I was just going to add the bit about the machines! Always worth repeating, though...icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 24, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    tokugawa said Do some warm up before you lift. I do 5 minutes on the stationary bike, and also stretching exercises.


    I prefer the elliptical or cross trainer for a warmup; the bike doesn't use your upper body much.

    Stretching should come after instead of before.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 10:06 PM GMT
    General strength guidelines: set first goal for a 1 rep-max at 1xbodyweight bench press, 1.5xbodweight squat, and 2xbodyweight deadlift, all with good form. Next, go for 1.5x bench press, 2x squat, and 2.5x deadlift. Once you reach this, you'll be considered "strong" compared to the general population.

    If you're interested in strength training, do a 5x5 program like Stronglifts, or Rippletoes.

    I'm 5'3", and it's more impressive when you're a little guy lifting as much as some of the the bigger ones.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 11:18 PM GMT
    Check out this page: http://www.realjock.com/article/1164/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 26, 2009 5:05 PM GMT
    Guys thanks for all this input.. I've been synthesizing it into my overall approach/monitoring.

    I do do almost all free weights, and I've started referencing my weights based on my body weight as a guide.

    Mostly I'm tracking pretty well, with room for improvement (as there always will be!). I've discovered I've got pretty strong legs though, I'm squatting just over double my body weight, so that's good.

    Again - appreciated. icon_smile.gif