Thickening your arm and leg muscles requires strength-training and making dietary changes. Exercising each muscle group in your body, not just your arms and legs, will improve your total body strength, improve muscle definition and give your body a more symmetrical appearance. For best results, exercise four to six days each week and watch those muscles grow.
Make Dietary Changes
Slightly boost your calorie intake to effectively gain lean muscle in your arms and legs. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, increasing your energy intake by about 200 calories per day can help add muscle mass and give your arms and legs a thicker appearance. Add nutrient-dense, high-calorie foods, such as nuts, seeds, peanut butter, hummus or vegetable oils to bump up your calorie intake.
Consume 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 0.64 to 0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram is needed to build muscle; a 2010 edition of the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” reports that strength athletes participating in intense workout programs may need up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. High-protein foods include lean meats, seafood, eggs, soy protein, seitan, dairy foods, nuts, seeds and peanut butter.
Reduce the sugar and saturated fat in your diet to stay lean while building muscle mass. For best results, eliminate sweets, sugary drinks, high-fat meats and full-fat dairy products. Instead, choose lean meats, low-fat dairy products and vegetable oils.
Perform Resistance Exercises
Comfortable workout clothes
Using proper form is more important than the amount of weight you lift.
Lifting weights that are too heavy can cause injuries. Consult your doctor before beginning any new workout program.
On the first day of your workout program, perform resistance exercises that work your lower body to thicken your leg muscles. Examples include squats, lunges and calf raises. Use dumbbell weights to increase your resistance and build muscle in your legs and butt. Perform at least three sets of 10 repetitions for each leg exercise you complete.
Work your back and shoulder muscles on the second day of your workout routine. Examples of exercises to choose from include bent-over rows, reverse flies, upright rows, lateral raises, front raises and shoulder press. Perform at least three sets of 10 repetitions for each back or shoulder exercise you complete, and gradually start increasing the amount of weight you lift.
On the third day of your muscle-building workout, complete chest and abdominal exercises. Most chest exercises also work your arm muscles. Examples of exercises to choose from include bench press, push-ups, dumbbell flies, situps, leg raises to work your lower abdominal muscles, oblique situps and holding your body in a plank position to work your core abdominal muscles. Complete at least three sets of 10 repetitions for chest exercises, and at least three sets of 30 repetitions for each abdominal exercise you complete. Aim to hold plank positions for at least one minute.
Work your biceps and triceps muscles on day four of your exercise program to thicken your arm muscles. As with most other muscle groups you work, aim to complete at least three sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. Examples of biceps and triceps exercises include biceps curls, triceps extensions and triceps kickbacks. Over time, increase the amount of weight you lift.
Rest on day five to help your muscles recover, repair and grow. Depending on your fitness level, on day six you can rest again, perform cardiovascular exercises to help burn excess body fat or restart your resistance-training program, beginning with your leg workout.
Things You'll Need
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