Health and Fitness

The Best Way to Pull Off a Plain T-Shirt is To Get Into Shape

It's what we all want, after all.

Stepping out in a crisp white Tee is a simple and highly effective summer style power move, but it comes with one very important caveat: you've got to be in decent shape to pull it off.

To help you flatten your stomach, tone your arms and shape up those lats a bit, we present the five key exercises now that it's t-shirt season.

Because it's not the quality of the t-shirt that matters, but the torso that's underneath it (actually the quality matters loads: don't buy cheap kids!)

Anyway, let's get to it, shall we?

1| For your biceps and that 'V': Pull-Ups

The one exercise that every man should have in his repertoire, the pull-up is an all-encompassing upper body beast that works everything from your back to your biceps, but the reason we're really interested here is the work it does for your lats, creating that 'V' shape in a white Tee.

Arms wide and palms facing outwards, if you can perform two sets of 10 pull-ups, twice a week, then you'll be way ahead of the vast majority of guys in the gym, even the 'bulky' ones.

2| To shred belly fat and tone your shoulders: Mountain Climbers

A brilliant exercise that can be performed with absolutely no equipment, the mountain climber is deceptively brutal and is a great alternative to time-consuming and cumbersome cardio.

Adopting a press-up position, bring your knees into your chest, alternating between your left and right leg. Aim to do sets of 50-60 at full-capacity, working your way up to 100 and beyond. They're great for losing belly fat, engaging your core and toning the shoulders and upper back.


3| For your lats: Standing barbell shrugs

The muscles made famous by Tom Hardy in both Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises, a decent set of lats (those muscles that join your shoulders to your neck), will help to create a broader silhouette in a t-shirt, as well as improve your posture.

The best exercise for the job is the standing shrug, which can be performed with either a barbell or sets of dumbbells. Holding the bar out in front of you (start with 5kg on each side and build yourself up), soften the knees, straighten the back and then simply shrug, aiming for at least 20 reps at a time for three sets.

It may look easy, but you'll definitely be feeling it the next morning.

4 | For your triceps: Dips

Did you know that the tricep is easily the largest muscle on your arm, taking up roughly 75 percent of its real estate? This means that if you really want to impress with your arms in a Tee, then your triceps are going to need some extra care and attention.

Although your tris (do you speak gym, bro?) are worked during press-ups and pull-ups, a classic set of dips will really add to their, and your, improvement.

With arms behind your body and palms facing forwards, dip down as low you can, maintaining a controlled pace for a timer of 30 seconds, working your way up to a minute.

5| For the whole t-shirt physique: Hindu Press-Ups

Also know as the dive bomber press-up, the hindu is an advanced variation that is ideal for taking on all the key areas of a decent t-shirt body, working your shoulders, traps, back and soul... with a bit of hamstring, hip and glute action thrown in for good measure.

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Apparently a cornerstone in the workouts of Indian wrestlers for centuries (we're not going to argue), place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart with your arms out in front. From the push your butt up into the air (we're going to say butt because we can), before diving down, slowly, bringing your head and hips through towards your arms, before reversing the movement and returning to where you started.

The key is to never let your chest or stomach touch the floor. Aim for five reps and three sets.

Good luck.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Finlay Renwick
Finlay Renwick is the Digital Editorial Assistant at
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