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How to look great in a tank top


If a guy uses a tank top only as an undershirt, chances are he’s not going to fret. But wear a tank top on its own and it becomes not just underwear, but — wait for it — a “muscle shirt.”

Don’t try calling it an “A-shirt” or a “sleeveless T-shirt,” either. When it’s the only shirt you have on, it’s a muscle shirt — and despite anybody’s assurances to the contrary, this garment will invite casual inspection of and public comment on your biceps, triceps, pectorals and even your deltoids.

When a guy’s serious about getting healthy and looking good, chances are he’ll look into strength training. Plenty of Chicago men find their way to Hard Pressed, a state-of-the-art facility at 219 W. Chicago Ave., that combines short, high-intensity workouts with proper nutrition and rest to achieve results in 30-minute workouts.

Co-owner and head strength coach Dan Geraci understands that guys want to look their best when they wear a tank. But it’s not just a matter of jerking around a few free weights and doing some curls.

Guys who want to look good in a tank top need to embrace a balanced strength-training program, Geraci explains. Too often, guys only work a single group of muscles. “And even if they’re trying to develop their arms, they’ll just do biceps and not triceps,” Geraci says.

That’s a mistake. “In a tank top especially, people (often) just do their chest and not their back — and what really makes them look good in a tank top is their back,” he says. He also points out that back exercises are hard, and that’s why so many people avoid them. “The two hardest exercises people complain about in here are back exercises.”

But clients can’t worm out of difficult exercises at Hard Pressed, where each enjoys a one-on-one session with any of several strength coaches who ensure that the entire body gets a workout. Most clients, men and women, will see improvement in four to six weeks, Geraci says.

The crew at Hard Pressed does have some general tips for guys seeking to improve how they look in a tank top.

A bodybuilder split will improve your tank top look

“You need to attempt to train every other day so that you do train at least two or three times a week,” Geraci says. “With busy lifestyles, it gets hard to commit to every day.”

He also advises against following a “bodybuilder split,” in which, say, chest exercises are one day and back the next — and that if you miss two days, you don’t know where to start. “Train everything every day … so that if you miss a day, you’re right back to total body. That’s a little easier than a five-day routine like you’d read about in a bodybuilder magazine.”

“Let’s say you do biceps once a week,” adds co-owner and assistant strength coach Nik Rodriguez. “That’s going to be less effective than doing the exercises three times a week.”

You’re better off having that muscle-building stimulus three times a week than just once, Geraci says.

He also advises guys to be realistic about what he calls “short-term esthetic goals.”

So, take heed, guys: If you’re going on vacation to a beach resort and are desperate to look good in a tank top, give it at least a few weeks.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun