How to get a stronger upper body fast?

For the last month and so, I have been doing full Body workouts but I'm still struggling to gain strength in my arms or upper body. I feel so weak in my upper body but have gain so much strength in my lower body. I did have an eating disorder years ago and have lost all muscle in my arms/upper body and I been trying to get it back. I use to be very strong but now I'm still weak that I can barely even lift 12 lb dumbbells or 25-30 lb upper body weight machines. I been using the same weights up until now and i don't know how I can keep gaining strength in my upper body. What can I do? Should I continue to keep using the same weights and different workouts and let time take over? I want to sculp my upper body to not only look better but to feel strong again. I always dread doing upper body because it is so difficult when I always enjoy lower body but I don't focus on one, I evenly work my whole body.
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Replies

  • I guess I'm just tired of feeling weak.
  • Nelson1024
    Nelson1024 Posts: 3 Member
    This is what I have done in the past and it has worked for me. Start with a weight that you can manage only 4 or 5 reps with. Then do four sets of how ever many reps you can manage without hurting yourself. So the first time around you might have reps something like 4-3-2-2. This is OK. The next time you are doing that exercise, use the same weight as before and you will notice an increase in reps per set. Continue this pattern until you are able to do two sets of 8 repetitions and two more of at least four. Something like 8-8-6-4. At this point increase the weight again to a weight that you can only perform 4 or 5 reps. And repeat the process. At some point you will get to using a weight that makes you feel strong. Pat yourself on the back and then begin to work on increasing the rep counts in your sets at that weight to four sets of 10 reps or so.
  • huskydoo
    huskydoo Posts: 112 Member
    mmapags wrote: »
    You don't. All good things come with time and work.

    ^^this!!

    What are the exercises you do, how many reps and at what weights?
  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 962 Member
    Nelson1024 wrote: »
    This is what I have done in the past and it has worked for me. Start with a weight that you can manage only 4 or 5 reps with. Then do four sets of how ever many reps you can manage without hurting yourself. So the first time around you might have reps something like 4-3-2-2. This is OK. The next time you are doing that exercise, use the same weight as before and you will notice an increase in reps per set. Continue this pattern until you are able to do two sets of 8 repetitions and two more of at least four. Something like 8-8-6-4. At this point increase the weight again to a weight that you can only perform 4 or 5 reps. And repeat the process. At some point you will get to using a weight that makes you feel strong. Pat yourself on the back and then begin to work on increasing the rep counts in your sets at that weight to four sets of 10 reps or so.

    This will work - go until you can get 3 sets of 8+ reps , then increase the weight to bring you down to 3-5 reps & repeat - Eastcoast Jim
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    doug hepburn's 'method' was one that i really enjoyed when i needed to switch things up and take a bit of a break. it's slow in terms of adding more weight to the bar, and it might seem like you're spinning your wheels and/or slogging along without too much change. but i did two or three cycles of it and found that nope, by no means is it a baby programme. for me it built enormous (For me) depth and breadth in my strength, as opposed to just making me very-specifically strong for a very specific and focused kind of workout. i enjoyed it a lot.

    my trainer says it's worked well for quite a few of his clients who were coming back from something or had a bit of a health advisory or were just generally feeling a little beat up. it starts with whatever weight you can manage 8 reps with so the expectations are low, but by no means is it a soft option when it comes to the workout programmes.
  • MichaelK1007
    MichaelK1007 Posts: 136 Member
    I wouldn’t worry so much about how fast you can build your upper body. I would focus on quality even if it means using light weight. Start with assisted pull ups and chin ups and try deadlifts if you haven’t yet already. Also use the bands for shoulder presses rather then weights. Make sure your track every rep so you can see your progress each week and don’t get down if you have an off week. Trust the process!
  • Okiludy
    Okiludy Posts: 564 Member
    Are you doing an established program, something a trainer gave you, or just what you think is ok?

    If not an established program look at this and pick a beginner one with linear progression. http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    It will not be fast but it likely will be faster than something that is just thrown together. If you are already doing an established program just keep lifting. It takes a while but the weights will go up.
  • I been using dumbbells of 5-12 lbs of different workouts by doing 2-3 sets of 15 but recently have switched over to using cables, rope, and the small bar (which have been difficult). I also tried using a curl bar for the first time and been using 2.5 lbs on each side but even using the curl bar is very heavy to me. It also hurt me and I decided to stop using it until I felt a little stronger to handle it. I just don't want to risk hurting myself bc I already gave myself some bruises from using it and almost pulled a muscle by doing shoulder presses and bicep curls.
  • CatL1911
    CatL1911 Posts: 50 Member
    Can you use the rowing machine? I always find that it makes me feel much stronger quickly, plus it works a lot of muscles.
  • 1houndgal
    1houndgal Posts: 558 Member
    Swimming.
  • 1houndgal
    1houndgal Posts: 558 Member
    Are you skipping a day between your workouts to give your muscles time to repair?
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    I been using dumbbells of 5-12 lbs of different workouts by doing 2-3 sets of 15 but recently have switched over to using cables, rope, and the small bar (which have been difficult). I also tried using a curl bar for the first time and been using 2.5 lbs on each side but even using the curl bar is very heavy to me. It also hurt me and I decided to stop using it until I felt a little stronger to handle it. I just don't want to risk hurting myself bc I already gave myself some bruises from using it and almost pulled a muscle by doing shoulder presses and bicep curls.

    are you following an actual programme?
  • karsei01
    karsei01 Posts: 442 Member
    Mix up. One day do 2 sets of 5 with 15lbs, two days later do 2 sets of 12 at 10 lbs. Then the bonus: Each workout do a third set with as many reps as possible. If you manage at least the same amounbt of reps (5 or 12), next time you go up to the next dumbbell. If you can't manage 5 or 12 in the last set for two workouts, go one down.
  • THeADHDTurnip
    THeADHDTurnip Posts: 413 Member

    Lifting seems to be advice covered...
    What are you eating? What's your macros ?
  • h1udd
    h1udd Posts: 625 Member
    food was going to be my question ... sure you can prime your CNS to lift more, but there will come a point that you will need more muscle or recovery.

    Do this in a deficit and you strength will stall and can go down
  • tirowow12385
    tirowow12385 Posts: 699 Member
    Op should ditch the five pounds where she stated it hurt her and continue course, use the curling iron if you can handle it, I was exactly where you were years ago when I learned what a front deltoid raise is, could not complete one rep even with five pounds so I started with no weights and just raised my arms and worked myself up there now I can front raise 40 pounds with ease. There's no shame in starting with as low as possible if your fitness and strength level is below most people.