Have you ever seen guys working out without their shirts and asked, “is it better to workout shirtless?”
Are they just doing it to show off or could it have some benefits? Let’s decide.
Is It Better To Workout Shirtless?
Working out shirtless has a few benefits such as keeping you cooler, helping you identify the muscles contracting, motivating yourself, and preventing sweat from clogging your pores.
You Will Stay Cooler
When your brain senses that your body temperature has increased during your workout, it increases vasodilation and produces sweat. Vasodilation is widening of the blood vessels, which happens as the heart is pumping extra blood to the working muscles. Sweating cools off the skin by forming water droplets.
Working out shirtless will increase the amount of air that hits the body and helps sweat get evaporated, which cools the skin.
Wearing clothing makes you sweat more and feel gross. Removing your shirt will allow you to feel cooler. Depending on where you live, this can be more beneficial. If it’s very humid then working out shirtless will feel amazing and be your only way to feel cooler.
Being comfortable while working out is very important. Being hot and sweaty will dehydrate you, which decreases exercise performance.
This is because dehydration affects your bodies ability to regulate heat. This causes your body temperature and heart rate to rise, tiring you out sooner than normal. Working out shirtless is a great way to counter this. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Added bonus, you won’t have as much laundry to do. Having to wash your soaking wet shirt after only wearing it once for cardio is annoying!
You Can See The Muscle Contract
Being able to watch each muscle fiber lengthen and shorten is a great way to know that you’re doing an exercise correctly. It will also help you with mind muscle connection.
This is where you mentally think about contracting the muscle group that you are working. For example, if you are doing a chest cable fly you will be able to see each chest striation working throughout the movement.
This technique actually helps you build more muscle. By sending signals from your brain to the muscles, muscle coordination is increased.
Let’s use the compound movement, the squat for example. If you try to do a heavy squat by sitting down and pressing up without thinking of anything else it will be very difficult.
On the other hand, if you flex your abs and pull your shoulder blade back, your body will be a lot more stable and the movement will be smoother. Squeezing your glutes at the top of the movements will also provide a lot of growth that would otherwise not occur.
Some great ways to improve mind muscle connection are to lower the weight and slow the movement down. Watch yourself in the mirror and really think of squeezing the muscle that you are working. With your shirt off it will be a lot easier to do so.
If someone is training or coaching you though a movement, it’s a lot easier to learn if you can see exactly which muscles are being worked. Seeing the muscle anatomy and how each muscles moves will help you train it yourself.
You Will Be Motivated
There’s nothing more motivating than seeing the progress that you’ve made over the last few months or years. All those tough workouts pushing through the pain when you didn’t think you could.
Comparing the physique that you have now to when you first started. Just getting a glimpse of this hard-earned physique in the mirror as you do a set of bicep curls is rewarding.
Motivation is something that can push you harder than ever and make you continue pushing. If you’ve ever seen a new vein popping out of your shoulder or noticed that your chest seems to be blown up in the mirror, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Getting pumped up will force you to work out harder than you thought you could.
What’s even better is you may unintentionally motivate others. They notice your physique and want to train harder so that they can achieve their goals. Or your confidence gives them the boost to take their own shirt off while working out.
The ladies are probably wondering how this applies to them. Go ahead and workout in your sports bra if you’re confident and it makes you feel good! The same rules apply for you.
You may even find that you have a greater range of motion with no shirt on. If your clothing is too tight you won’t be able to stretch your arms out all the way. The free feeling of having no fabric holding you back will allow you to stretch out the muscles even more.
Great For Skin Health
When our bodies sweat, they release toxins that get trapped in the skin if wearing tight clothes. This forces the skin to reabsorb the toxins. This is tough because you want to wear tighter fitting clothes to show off your physique. What better way to do so then removing your shirt.
Dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils can be trapped in your shirt which rub against your skin while working out. Now the same can happen with a workout bench shirtless, so wipe down equipment before and after use.
If you are wearing clothes while working out, sweat wicking fabric that isn’t too tight is the best for healthy skin.
Showering directly after working out is always a good idea as well to rinse the bacteria off of your skin. Consider scrubbing with sacrylic acid to remove trapped bacteria from your pores.
Avoid foods that have a high-glycemic index such as white bread, popcorn, and melons as they are anti-inflammatory. You don’t have to quit eating them, but rather limit them. Foods that are high in zinc such as nuts, shellfish, and mushrooms help reduce clogged pores in the skin.
Drawbacks of Working Out Shirtless?
You may get some weird glances from people if you choose to workout without a shirt. This may be from jealousy or insecurity, but either way it is your body. You should do what makes you comfortable and happy, and not let other people’s opinions affect your choices.
There are many gyms that won’t allow it for sanitary reasons. If this is the case you could switch gyms or stick to working out at home.
You may find that using a bench or certain machines will hurt against your skin. A supported back row pad, for example pushes against your chest and causes pain. Being shirtless would make this even worse.
Or the gritted barbell pressing into your back as you squat. For these reasons you may want to put on a shirt for certain exercises. Again, do what makes you the most comfortable.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments below!