Let’s imagine you have only two muscle groups. I’ll call them “core” and “peripheral.” Peripheral muscles are the ones further from the spine — lower arms, lower legs, upper arms, and to some extent, shoulders. Core muscles are the ones closest to the spine, the biggest . Think lats, quads, spinal erectors, chest, etc.
Core muscles are bigger; peripheral muscles smaller. Increases in core muscles make more difference and have greater impact on visual size and total bodyweight. These are the upsides. The downside (at least the downside to those who want instant gratification) is that prioritizing the core muscles isn’t going to give you the instant recognition you may believe you need.
Before I go any further, let’s clarify something. When I say “core,” I’m not talking about that over-rated bullshit involving irrelevant abdominal exercises and other stabilizer/control drills. Leave that to the brainless herd of sheep who don’t have a clue and don’t want to develop one. My definition of “core” is more likely to appeal to the old-world lifter than the new age, brain-dead personal trainer.
Most people who start weight training are looking for instant gratification. They want to experience the, “Golly, you have big arms” phenomenon as fast as possible, so they start out by prioritizing what I call the peripheral muscles. Or perhaps they do this because there’s less pain and effort involved? Either way, if you start there and don’t shift your focus to prioritizing the core muscles the majority of the time, you’ll never optimize your mass.
I’m not saying you can’t have periods of peripheral muscle focus, just that you need to spend more time prioritizing the core muscles. And I’m not going down that path of bullshit which suggests you need to increase your total body mass by “X” amount before you can add “Y” amount of upper arm mass.
What I’m saying is that, to maximize your total bodyweight, and more importantly, to develop the look that shows you obviously lift even when fully clothed, you’re going to need to respect the concept I’m discussing. To get that look of power, you need to focus your efforts on the core muscles. Period.