SUMMER IS FINALLY (almost) here. It’s time for long weekends and longer vacations, exciting trips to fun new places and quality time spent at home. Kids are out of school, and the sun doesn’t set until long past the time most grownups are done with work. The season seems to take longer to arrive every passing year, especially if you’re a fitness fanatic biding your time until you can shed your long sleeves, pants, and jackets for tank tops, shorts, and sunglasses to break out of the gym and into the great outdoors and the weather that makes this time of year so remarkable.
That summer wardrobe allows you to show some more skin than you typically would over the rest of the year, and the rising temperatures might make that an absolute necessity to stay comfortable when you’re out and about enjoying all the beach days, barbecues, and park outings on your social calendar. Whether you have easy access to a beach or pool, it’s now swimsuit season—which can come with its own set of challenges.
You’re probably thinking more about your body than any other time of the year outside of resolution season in January. That makes sense; you might have gone through some changes since last summer, or you might just be overwhelmed by the onslaught of beach body discourse and summer shred workout programs from friends and social media sources alike. Finding your own conception of “fit” during this season might feel different to you, and not in the most positive ways.
Here’s an idea: Think more about how your body feels than how it fits into any predetermined standard or swim trunks. While we think it’s great that guys can set and achieve goals related to their physiques, we’d rather you spend your time and effort, both in the gym and outside of it, on activities that will help you to move better doing whatever it is you want to do. And if summer is all about fun, your summer workouts should be doubly focused on having a good time while you sweat.
That’s where this page comes in. Before you dive into the ocean, lake, or pool, dive deep into these workouts, which are optimized to push you toward your best summer body. You’ll find everything you need here, conveniently categorized by muscle group. That means arm workouts for bulging biceps, ab moves that’ll make your six-pack pop, chest moves for beefy pecs, back builders that’ll finish out your V-taper, and leg sessions to deliver major quad and glute gains so can run, bike, and flash a little leg in your new short shorts. Just need a good sweat? We’ve got that covered, too, with a series of full-body routines.
These workouts will get you where you want to be, pushing you toward your muscle goals in the most efficient ways possible. Some of these sessions use a full gym’s worth of equipment, while just as many are designed to be completed with minimal gear you probably have at home or can take outside to get out into the open air. Need a specific plan to begin? Begin with this eight-week dumbbell split that builds full-body muscle—and will help you to move better, too. Want to get outside and get moving? We hand-picked a dozen of our favorite outdoor workout sessions so you can take your training to nature. Need tools for all that park, beach, and backyard action? Our fitness editors hand-selected some of their favorite gear for the season.
And if you’re already in fun-in-the-sun shape, all of these workouts and exercise will push you to another level, building on the muscle you already have.
Enough delay. Let’s get outside and get after it!
This one’s about more than beach abs. A trim, ripped waistline doesn’t just look good when you’re out in the sun. It protects your spine, bulletproofs your lower back, and makes you stronger all-around (translation: You’ll build the rest of your beach body that much faster). You’ll need more than crunches to build those abs though. Start with these moves.
Building jacked biceps and triceps doesn’t just mean lifting the heaviest weights in the gym. Your fastest route to beach-ready arms is filled with precision techniques and slow, controlled reps. Learn the secrets of smart arm training, and you’ll unlock size, strength, and definition that’ll show whether you’re in a tank top, T-shirt, or no shirt at all.
Sure, flexing your biceps is fun—but once you take your shirt off, you’ll want to be able to stay confident with your chest. Whether you’re pumping out pushups or pressing through bench reps, these workouts will help you to stimulate the muscle growth you’ll want to go sans top.
The most underrated part of an eye-catching beach body: a well-muscled back. Build size and strength in your lats and middle back, and it instantly makes you stand taller and walk broader, and it’ll protect your shoulders and make your chest exercises more effective too. And maybe the best part? It’ll make your waist look slimmer! Start building that back right now.
Don’t just focus all your energy on your abs and arms–you’ll be wearing shorts along with your tank tops, after all, and you’ll want to fill them out right. And this year, fellas, we’re talking SHORT. Get your squat form locked down, use dynamic movements to get those quads and glutes ready for top billing. As the saying goes: Sky’s out, thighs out.
If you want to spend less time in the weight room as the weather improves but you don’t want to skimp on performance, these are the workouts for you. Put all the parts together with these full body crushing routines that will get you the most bang for your workout buck. You’ll address most of the major muscle groups in one go, making these the most efficient, effective routines you can use to get ready for the beach.
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men’s Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He’s logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes and his current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga. Before joining Men’s Health in 2017, he served as a sports columnist and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.
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