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Bigger chest, shoulders and arms…

“Hey Ali, I really want a bigger chest, shoulders and arms, and I want to get rid of this” (followed by habitual grab of belly fat) “How do I do that?…..”

I’ve trained myself for over 20 years, I’ve been a personal trainer for over a decade, I’m a natural bodybuilder and I own my own gym. It’s fair to say I’m well established into the fitness industry. I’m saying this first because it backs up the issue I have with the majority of people I see who ask me to help them.

Getting a bigger chest, shoulders and arms is one question and losing your gut is another. They follow very different paths. However, they stem from the same roots:- A good diet, a foundation of muscularity and consistent healthy choices. I’ve discussed fat loss numerous times so lets look at the Chest, shoulders and arms question first.

You need a foundation of strength. You can’t build a house on sand. To improve the smaller muscles it’s important you first start with the big ones. Do large compound movements that involve multiple joints i.e Squats, dead lifts, bench press, pull ups and over head press. These movements are fundamental to improving muscle coordination, nervous impulses, muscle size and core stability. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of kilos, but it does need to be progressive. Start with just the bar, as long as the weight is going up week on week with good technique, you will see improvements.

Write your workouts down so you can see how much you’ve improved from when you started, and for the love of god bring some intensity to your workout! The amount of times people stop me in the gym and ask me how to improve, and I subtly say you need to work harder, just to watch them carry on with the same pathetic workout that would barely stress out an asthmatic octogenarian! If you don’t try hard and push yourself YOU WILL NOT IMPROVE!

If you master these basic moves, show progression and try your hardest, you will get results. Then, and only then, start to worry about pec flies, bicep curls, ab crunches and lat raises, because without a basic level of strength and muscularity you will never get a bigger chest, arms or shoulders.

Thanks for reading. If you have direct questions email me at or find me at my gym Fat Al’s Gym in Shepperton, Surrey.

Ali ‘Fat Al’ Stewart

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