5 Workouts to Help You Look Great in Your Clothing
The clothes only make the man if his physique is up to par. Tricks like getting a great tailor and wearing vertical stripes to look lean only go so far. If you really want to look stylish, whipping yourself into shape is the best way to go. A decent program with cardio and strength training means you can forget about trying to cover up problem areas and highlight your best assets instead.
Since different clothes highlight different body parts, think about what types of garments you usually wear. A sleek jacket and tie calls for a killer core while jeans will have your butt on full display. We’ve highlighted five exercises to match some of the sleekest looks. Whether you tend to keep things casual or dress like it’s your last day on earth, these moves will help you look better than ever.
1. Medicine ball slams to look slick in a suit
Decking yourself out in a suit can either make you look slick or sloppy. There’s not really any way to hide a round midsection, because anything that fits through the shoulders will be too snug around your stomach, while one that fits your waist will look sloppy and make your gut appear larger than it is. In order to pull off this classic look, try for a tighter midsection.
Instead of the usual crunches or planks, take your core routine to the next level by incorporating some medicine ball slams. Men’s Fitness said this move is great for carving your stomach while elevating your heart rate. Since it incorporates both strength and cardio training, you’ll maximize your effort to get lean faster than you would with moves that only focus on strength.
This move is a great shake-up for veterans but easy enough that beginners will have no trouble. Stand in an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold a medicine ball directly above you with both hands. Using as much force as possible, exhale and contract your abs as you throw the ball to the ground. If possible, catch the ball on the bounce and go right into the next repetition. Be sure you’re using a ball that’s designed to minimize bounce so you don’t risk hitting yourself in the face after it rebounds off the floor.
2. Reverse plate curls for a button-down shirt with rolled sleeves
All guys want great arms, especially biceps and triceps. Unless you’re spending a lot of time at the beach, though, those muscles don’t see the sun all that often. It’s a lot more likely you’ll be showing off your forearms once you roll up your sleeves after work. These muscles are often neglected, so you could notice a big difference pretty quickly. In addition to aesthetics, working the lower parts of your arms will also boost your grip strength, which can lead to a better golf game and a lot less trouble unscrewing stubborn jars.
The great thing about plate curls is they allow you to keep working your biceps while simultaneously stressing your forearms. Replacing the standard dumbbells with a heavy plate forces you to pinch a lot harder in order to keep your grip on the weight. To perform this lift, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp a heavy plate with both hands, letting your arms hang fully extended. Keeping your elbows and upper arms tight against your body, lift the plate as far as your arms will allow. Pause briefly, then lower the weight back to the starting position. Muscle & Fitness recommended five to six sets of four to eight repetitions. If you can do more, it’s time to grab a heavier plate.
Also consider the art of the sleeve roll. While there’s not one right way to do it, there are a lot of wrong ways. Check out Esquire’s guide to look your sharpest.
3. Barbell hip thrusts for a lower half that looks great in jeans
Plenty of women look to squats and lunges to get a backside that looks great in jeans. While men’s styles are a bit more forgiving than some of the skin-tight versions the ladies sport, the rule still holds true. Jeans always look better when they’re fitted to a great butt. Those classic gym moves can be problematic, though. Unless you want to perform hundreds of repetitions, heavy weight is the best way to sculpt your backside, yet trying to pile too much weight onto the barbell for squats can be seriously hard on your back, hips, and knees.
There’s a safer way, and it’s just as effective. Bret Contreras, CSCS, told Men’s Health the barbell hip thrust “activates your glutes better than any other exercise.” Choose a heavy weight, but one that you’re able to lift for at least 10 repetitions. To get into position, set your barbell on the ground running parallel to the length of the bench. Sit on the ground and position the bar across your hips, keeping your knees bent and your upper back against the bench. Press your hips up until your torso and knees form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes, then slowly lower your hips until the plates touch the ground. The article recommended three sets of 10 repetitions.
4. Upright rows to rock a fitted shirt
Whether you’re relaxing in a basic t-shirt or going for something a little more dressy for a night out, fitted shirts leave little to the imagination. These tops demand moves that strengthen your upper back, your shoulders, and your lats. Fortunately, Muscle & Fitness said the upright row is a compound move that can help you target all of these areas at the same time.
To perform this move, grasp a weighted barbell with an overhand grip, your hands slightly less than shoulder-width apart, with your arms fully extended. Using your shoulders to lift, raise your elbows up and to the side until the bar is just below your chin, keeping the bar close to your body the entire time. Then, carefully lower it back to the starting position.
5. Calf raises when it’s too hot for long pants
Even if you tend to prefer the full coverage trousers provide, some days are way too hot for long pants. Don’t worry, because those sloppy cargo shorts from your teenage years are far from the only options. Follow GQ’s simple guide to make sure you look just as sleek in the heat of summer as you do during the cooler months. To look your best, you’ll want to spend some time focusing on your lower legs. Weak calves tend to give you a spindly appearance, but they can also lead to injury. AZCentral explained insufficient calf strength can negatively impact your stride and even lead to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Since this area is composed of two muscles, a combination of standing and seated calf raises will give you the best results. For the standing lift, you can use a specific calf-raise machine or stand on a block with a weighted barbell across your shoulders. Position yourself so the balls of your feet are firmly planted on the edge of the block with your heels extended beyond. Lower yourself until you feel a full stretch in your calves, then push through your toes as high as you can. For the second move, you’ll need to use a seated calf-raise machine or position yourself on a bench with your feet rested on a low block. If you’re not using a machine, hold the weight across your lap. Perform the same motion as with the standing raises.
Men’s Fitness recommended aiming for 30 repetitions total, which should take about three sets. Build to 50 repetitions in five or fewer sets before adding more weight. You’ll have stronger calves in no time.