My arms seem to be getting too big...HELP!

  • I'm trying not to hit my 10 on Upper Body Lift days because my biceps and shoulders are getting big.  I've been told that women can't get big arms because we don't make enough testosterone no matter how much we lift.  I feel like something about my genetics makes me more likely to get bulky in my arms.  I have broader shoulders than the average woman and my calves are really skinny.  Help...I don't want to look like a dude. Or...maybe I should just embrace it?


  • Hi Riccar, It is amazing how big your arms can look to yourself, especially when you hold them up, as if you were tying a ponytail.  They probably aren't really as big as you think they are.  I have the opposite problem.  I have very narrow shoulders and big hips, so I am trying to add bulk to my shoulders, so I am lifting as heavy as I can.  After wking out the BFL way for over a year, I struggle to put on this bulk.

    My first challenge I was concerned about the heavy weights for my lower body, as my pants did start to feel tighter at the beginning, but that was my body's metabolism stabilizing or the new muscle holding onto water.  I researched and forum-ed in desperation, but did NOT give up, b/c I thought, how could working out this intensely and eating this clean make me gain weight?  And so by not giving up, I went from a size 10 pants to size 6.  I still have hips but my legs are so much stronger than before, and they have shape!!!  I used to be a runner and I could lose weight that way, but I still had shapeless, jiggly legs - skinny fat!  

    The weight training will shape you and prevent that behind the arm flab from being loose.  I think you should embrace the face that you can build muscle - so many women are envious of muscle & nicely shaped arms, but don't realize it takes hard work to achieve this.

    If this doesn't put your mind at ease, you could try this, but please understand I am not a professional and this is only something I tried that I thought might help, and am still not sure if it did....

    Keep to the 12,10,8,6,12,12 for lower body but maybe for Upper, try 14,12,10,8,14,14??

    That might reduce bulk...but again, I am not an expert.

    Good luck!

  • Well, *most* women can't get big arms, but I have seen exceptions to this rule before. Sounds like you might be another one.

    Whether to avoid or embrace it is up to you, but if you choose "avoid", the general rule-of-thumb I've seen is that you use fewer reps with heavier weights to bulk up, and more reps with lighter weights to tone without bulking. If you wanted to try that, you could do something like changing the lift pattern from 12-10-8-6-12//12 to 18-15-12-18//18, which shouldn't add more than a minute to your upper body workout length. I have no personal experience with this variation, though - I was going to try it myself on my first challenge (for similar reasons), but got sidelined by severe tendinitis before I could implement it. So "use at your own risk" ;-).

    Maybe if anyone else here has tried something similar they can chime in on how well it worked (or didn't).

  • Riccar... Have you taken measurements?  Get a good fabric tape and take good measurements, making sure to measure the same spot each time.  I'll bet you'll find that your arms are getting more toned, but not gaining actual mass.  And show them off!  Be proud getting into great shape!

  • I say embrace it.  I think toned, muscular arms on women look great!!  It's all about balance though and you know how you want your body to look.  I do know that the calves are genetic though.  You can build them up a bit, but not a whole lot......

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • My good friend also has the booty problem...completely opposite from my body type.  I definately appreciate your great advice and I will definately keep getting my burn and do more reps with lighter weights.  Your advice is truly helpful...thanks Shellnikk & mstickles! mom has NO calf muscles...truly.  I thank her for my horrible calve muscles, and my dad for my broad shoulders.  My calves are getting more defined but are definately little bitty.  I think I would like my arms more if my calves were bigger.

    jrmcnaircpt: Measuring is a great idea!  I have failed to do that at all.  I'm sure that my arms aren't bigger...the rest of me is just smaller.  My biceps are getting more defined though.  I think my upper arms are about as big around as my calves...I just feel disproportioned.  Thanks to that dang hotel gym mirror and florescent lighting I definately left my workout feeling a lot more critical of myself.

    Thanks again everybody...I will definately measure...lift more lighter reps and see if that makes my arms leaner like my crazy skinny legs!