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, the Equinox manager who programmed this routine. “Anybody can make a biceps look impressive when they curl their arm, but to have impressive arms even when they’re 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.”
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 pullup 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 (e.g., some days five sets; some days eight 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.