We brought you the t-shirt workout to help you carve the perfect torso. Now, we're going one step further by bringing you the sleeveless t-shirt workout. This routine was designed to target the key muscles of your upper body that must look good if you're going to dare go sleeveless: your biceps, delts, shoulders, and upper back. "Inverting the body with the Handstand Pushup, then having the arms go to pre-exhaustion fills the arms with blood, priming them for a great pump with the barbell curls," says Rolando Garcia, E at Equinox Manager who programmed this routine. "Anybody can make a bicep look impressive when they curl their arm, but to have impressive arms even when they are straight by your side means that you have been doing the right, full body exercises," says Garcia who notes that the Barbell Curl is one of the best moves for accomplishing this goal. "Go as heavy as possible on these, but keep very good form," he notes.
What's more: You'll also hit your abs: "Having super buff arms without core engagement leads to poor athleticism and is not a good look for the summer," says Garcia who added in Handstand Pushups and Pledge Planks to help activate your core in a way that forces them to dynamically stabilize the entire body.
Here's how it works: Perform the first three moves one after another (Handstand Pushup Hold, Pledge Plank, Barbell Curl). Rest 45-60 seconds between exercises. That's one set. Do up to 5-8 sets of these. Then, move on to the final two moves (the "burnout" circuit: Triceps Pulldown, Cable Curls). Complete as many sets as possible with 30 seconds rest maximum. "You go until your form breaks, meaning you have nothing left," says Garcia.
When you’re finished with your workout, hang from a pull-up bar and simply relax. Then, walk on the treadmill or outside for about 15 minutes to improve circulation and ensure that your arms recover adequately.
Do this routine two to three days a week, but vary the volume of sets based on feel (i.e. some days 5 sets. Some days 8 sets. Some days 16).
But, don’t stop after the workout ends. To help speed up results, “Use your arms throughout the day: make a fist, lift objects, glove up and hit a bag, carry your office bag with your grip, not your shoulder,” says Garcia.
Move 1.) Handstand Pushup Reps: 15-30 second hold Breathe naturally and push the earth away from you. Activate your core to protect your low back.
Move 2.) Pledge Plank
Reps: 10 per side Maintain a pushup position with feet wider than hip width apart. Take your right hand, and tap your left shoulder. Do the same with your left hand (to your right shoulder). keep your body solid and steady. The slower you do this, the better control you have.
Reps: 8-12 With elbows close to the body, stand straight and hold the barbell with hands facing up. Activate your core and look down (this helps activate your core even more) as you bring the barbell up to a curl position. Exhale on the curl up (concentric) through pursed lips. Feel your biceps work through every part of the movement. Control the weight on the way down, then curl back up.
Reps: 10-12 Bring your arms straight down with control, as you feel your triceps work. Pause at extension. When you return to your original position, make sure you finish so that your arms are at the 90-degree position each time. Keep your body straight and breathe naturally. Garcia suggests using the rope extension grip for this exercise, but cautions you should be sure to keep your wrists neutral throughout the whole movement.