T Nation

Training My Limbs

I want to increase the size of my limbs, which happen to be my lagging neglected body parts. I feel for my size, my torso is not proportional to the rest of my body. My past training has focused on deadlift, back squats, bench, and pullups. This is what im thinking i’ll use for this goal.

Front squat-- for thighs
Leg curl – for hamstrings
Chinups – for biceps
HSPU’s and dips – for triceps

And i need an exercise for calves. Whats the best one?

And for training my forearms, what do you think about thick bar work on pullups and deadlifts, as well as towel pullups, and then using the forearm roller with the weight hanging on a rope.

Are there any exercises im missing from this list? I like to stick to almost all compounds, the only one im really using is leg curl, and just because its the only exercise to target leg flexion. So im not interested in doing leg extensions, tricep extensions, or curls.

Thank you.

You’re going to need more exercises and different exercises if you want to gain any size.


This website is a good reference to know what exercises work what body parts. T-Nation is a better source for actually finding or constructing a workout.

If you’re a beginner you’ll probably want to start out with a 3 day a week full body routine. The type outlined in this article:

Testosterone Nation - The Training Strategy Handbook

Without going there I can pretty much tell you that your going to want

  1. Quad Exercise
  2. Hamstring Exercise
  3. Single Leg Exercise
  4. Horizontal Push
  5. Horizontal Push
  6. Vertical Pull
  7. Vertical Push
  8. Ab exercise
  9. Calf Exercise
  10. And a few prehab exercises

If you feel like your limbs are not in proportion with your body, it’s because you’re small and you have long limbs. Doing Chin-ups instead of pull ups and close grip bench press instead of normal bench press will make your arms larger. After you’ve made room for all 11 required exercises in your week of training you can train your biceps and triceps after you’re done with compound moves.

The best calf exercises are the occasional use of plyometrics and the obvious need to use the calf machine in your gym. If you don’t have a calf machine then do calf raises off something. Getting a good stretch and getting high reps is more important for growth than weight. Calves, like arms, will pretty much only grow when you gain significant weight.

Don’t rely on just Leg Curls for your Hamstrings. Do some sort of deadlifting variation.

Add some rows to your workouts. Good for your back, biceps and rear delts.

Since you’d like to stick to compund exercises for calves try the power snatch and/or power clean.

Also, if you’re not satisfied with your arm growth, why avoid tricep extensions and curls? OK, I’m not doing those currently, but that’s because my arms seem to be growing fine.

[quote]dankid wrote:

Front squat-- for thighs
Leg curl – for hamstrings
Chinups – for biceps
HSPU’s and dips – for triceps

And i need an exercise for calves. Whats the best one?


at 5’11 and 180, you could stand to gain some weight.
Can you deadlift? Grip, back and hams et al all rolled in one.
What set and rep structure are you using?
what frequency?
Don’t completely dismiss the idea of single joint work for the upper arms.
Its a garnish on the plate that completes the meal.

Im currently training 5 days a week, using 5x5x5. Ive been doing this for 3 weeks, and am doing it to bring my strength up.

I do Front squat, HSPU, Pullup, and leg curls.

I usually get better results from higher frequency lower volume plans, so heres what im planning on doing. I plan on sticking with 5x5x5, but instead of progressing in weight, i’ll add sets. This is what im thinking.

M,W,F 3x5 or 5x3

Front Squat
Leg curl
Calf exercise

T,Th 2 sets of 8+, progress to 3 sets

seated rows
1-leg hack squat(machine)

Thats what im thinking of doing. Training my arms for size wont be as big a problem as my thighs. My arms are already well on their way from lots of pullups, and I can tell that as i build up my HSPU’s and grip work, they’ll be plenty big.

Also, im not really trying to get big, i just want to be strong and have good proportions. Im currently 5’11" @ 175lbs, and am willing to add up to 10lbs at most.

The other only exercise that targets leg flexion is bodyweight leg curls from a hyper extension bench. The oldish article “the lost art of hamstring training” is back up on the main page.