Please help my chest muscles grow.
August 11, 2012 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I have two months to buff up. Please help me look like this. (nsfw)

I'm playing Brad in a local production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I could use a little more muscle in the chest and arms (if you're not familiar with the musical, I will be running around in my underwear for most of the play and finishing up in fishnets, heels and a corset).

How should I exercise? I have free weights at home, but that's it. Are a daily shitload of pushups enough?

If you recommend I suck it up and hit the gym, what sort of routine should I stick to?

And I was told if I'm planning on building muscle I'll need to eat lots of protein, etc. How much is "lots"?
posted by onwords to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It might help to know what you look like now.
posted by deadmessenger at 1:06 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, the first thing to say is that it really depends on where you are now. If you're 200lbs and got a belly, it's not gonna happen in two months. He looks around 10 - 11 stone, so 150lbs. With a calorie deficit of 500 cals per day, you can expect to lose around 1 - 2 lb per week, so maybe around 8 - 16lbs over the course of two months (although it's definitely not as straightforward as that). If you're already close to the kind of body shape as GLH is, then maybe you can, but don't expect great gains in two months

In terms of muscle building, a weight that you can lift for around 10 reps per set, usually for around three sets, will help build mass, but you'd also want to build the shoulders, triceps, and back to keep you 'balanced'. Having weak muscles surrounding your 'target area' is usually a bad idea as I remember from my weight-lifting days. Press-ups will helps, but you'll get to the point where even 50 reps a day will bring you marginal gains, and probably add not much mass. Adding muscle takes a long time.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 1:09 PM on August 11, 2012

It might help to know what you look like now.

I'm 150lbs and just skinnier than JGL there.
posted by onwords at 1:13 PM on August 11, 2012

Start boxing, and conditioning with the guys you box with. The cardio will drop fat, the actual boxing training will help with shoulders and chest, and the conditioning will round out the rest of your body.

Plan to do is 3-4x/week, for an hour/day.
posted by ellF at 1:17 PM on August 11, 2012

ExRx is a great website for information on how to work out specific bodyparts. Ideally you should be working out your whole body but if you're only doing this for the part I would suggest working out your chest, shoulders, arms and back. I'm not super knowledgeable but I'm thinking you should look into military presses, pushups, bench presses, rows, bicep curls, lat pulldowns and tricep extensions.
posted by sacrifix at 1:25 PM on August 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Three pieces here:
-Looking that lean means you have to be obsessive about what you eat. Doing paleo or something close to it would probably get you there.
-You want to get bigger than you are, that requires a calorie surplus, not a deficit. "Lots" of protein is something in the neighborhood of 1g protein per pound of body weight (so getting in 150g per day).
-To "build" muscle most efficiently, you want to do relatively high-rep set schemes. So whatever lifts you are doing (sacrifix's list is a good one for upper body development) you want to be doing a warm up set and 3 or 4 works sets of say 10 or so reps with a weight that you can lift no more than 12-14 times (if you can lift it more than that when you are fresh, you need to get something heavier).

Eat/drink the protein immediately after the workouts. Repeat 4-5 days a week.

Depending on how long the shows go on for, you can also do water manipulation tricks to look more lean on stage. MeFi mail me if you want to know more about that. While you are in season on stage, avoid anything that makes you retain water. Use body makeup to accentuate any definition you already have (so all your effort doesn't get washed out in the lights).

Good luck, make us proud!
posted by milqman at 1:38 PM on August 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you have two months and you must start immediately and you don't have the time or intrinsic motivation to really, really learn about the process, I would recommend you follow a specific program or plan that doesn't require much thought. For that reason, I'd try P90X or Body For Life.

In any case, over the next two months you will need to get used to the idea of:

-intense workouts
-sleeping at least 8 hours every night
-drinking lots of water
-eating more than 200g of protein a day
-not deviating from your plan
posted by MoonOrb at 1:39 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite] did amazing things for my husbands chest, shoulders and arms when he did it, and it starts off slowly you are not doing 100 pushups straight out of the gate, but he was seeing a result within a week or two. Now if I could only talk him into going back and doing it again.
posted by wwax at 1:40 PM on August 11, 2012

My husband has a similar body type and he had arms/chest/abs like that after 60 days of the Insanity DVDs, which involves lots of cardio with shitloads of pushups.
posted by gatorae at 1:50 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Linda Hamilton had a baby eight months before she shot Terminator 2. She had a personal trainer transform her for the role. There has probably been a lot written about it, for example, this piece.

My recollection is that Cher saw the movie and said "I want the guy that did That to her." and did some workout videos with him. So articles about Linda's workout and Cher workout videos might be useful.

Break a leg!
posted by Michele in California at 5:35 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everyone's different, but I got really defined (and broad) shoulders from chin-/pull-ups but I started out really skinny.

High weight low rep (8-12 to failure) skull crushers are great at growing triceps which are 2/3rds of your upper arm and shouldn't be neglected.
posted by porpoise at 6:25 PM on August 11, 2012

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