bigger in clothes

You might think it’s impossible to look bigger in clothes without getting physically more muscular.

So, what’s one of the biggest challenges of being a natural lifter?

It’s the fact that, although you’ll appear impressively muscular while shirtless or in a tank top, your gains will be much less noticeable when wearing regular every day clothes.

This is especially true for those who want to maintain a relatively lean year round body fat percentage.

A good deal of your muscle definition will end up hidden once a shirt goes on over top, causing you to shrink down significantly if you don’t dress yourself properly or build your physique in a way that accentuates your overall size.

In this article we’ll be covering 6 effective tips you can follow to look bigger in a shirt and maximize how muscular in clothes you appear,

6 Ways To Look Bigger In A Shirt

Tip #1: Prioritize Shoulder & Upper Back Gains

bigger in clothes (delts and traps)

The first step toward looking more muscular in clothes is in knowing which muscle groups play the biggest role in maximizing the appearance of overall muscularity.

While every single muscle on the body plays a unique role in bringing your entire physique together (and none should be neglected or treated as an after-thought), a well-developed set of shoulders and traps will usually have the most significant impact on giving you that wide, “jacked” look.

When it comes to shoulder training, the key areas that need to be built up are the lateral and posterior heads. These two heads are located on the side and rear of the shoulders respectively and are responsible for producing that capped “3D delts” look.

The three best exercises to specifically hone in on this area are lateral raises (isolates the lateral head), face pulls (hits both the lateral and posterior heads), and rear delt flys (isolates the posterior head).

Upright rows can also be thrown in as an optional add-on if you’re looking to add even more exercise variety and volume to your shoulder workouts. Just make sure you perform these carefully and with proper form since they can place undo stress on the shoulder joint if done incorrectly.

When it comes to training the traps, a basic shrugging movement (barbell, dumbbell, smith machine or cable) will directly hone in on the upper fibers, whereas rowing exercises (where the weight is pulled higher up toward the chest rather to the waist) will add thickness to the mid to lower fibers.

Deadlifts or rack pulls will also train the traps very effectively as well.

Tip #2: Build A Thicker Neck

bigger neck

Another muscle group most people don’t even consider but that will make a significant difference in helping you look bigger in a shirt is a thicker neck.

You can have the most muscular chest, shoulders and arms around, but if they’re sitting beneath a very thin neck then it can really detract from that powerful, muscular look you’re after.

If you’re performing heavy deadlifts or rack pulls in your program along with a basic shrugging movement of some kind then that will usually increase your neck size all on its own and direct neck training may not be necessary.

However, if your neck is still a lagging area or you just want to hone in on it even more closely, a bit of direct isolated work can go a long way.

Neck curls, neck extensions, and neck laterals are a good well rounded way to train the muscles of the neck from all angles. These can be done lying on a bench and using weight plates for resistance, or you can use a neck harness if you have access to one.

If you are going to perform some direct neck exercises in your plan, always make sure to warm up properly beforehand and start out very light, slowly working your way up in weight and reps over time.

2-3 direct neck workouts per week (around 5-10 total sets each) will be a good way to kick-start your neck gains and achieve some fairly quick growth. Once you’ve achieved your desired neck size you can then scale back the volume and put things more on maintenance mode.

Tip #3: Bulk Up The Triceps Long Head

triceps long head

One final area that sometimes ends up being under-trained is the long head of the triceps. This particular head will add a lot of noticeable mass to your upper arm from the backside to really fill out the sleeves on your shirt and help you appear more muscular in clothes.

Relying purely on compound presses and basic triceps pushdowns won’t be enough to build the long head optimally. To maximize the development of the long head, you’ll need to incorporate a triceps extension exercise with your shoulder in a flexed position.

The best triceps long head exercises are overhead extensions, which can be done with dumbbells, barbells, ez-curl bars, or a cable.

Experiment a bit and find the variations that feel most comfortable for you.

That covers the most important aspects of looking more muscular in a shirt on the muscle building side of things. Keep in mind that every muscle group is important and plays a role in helping you look bigger in clothes, but those are the main ones that will have the most significant effect.

Tip #4: Make The Right Clothing Choices

bigger in shirt

Aside from the basic task of gaining muscle more, you’ll also need to pay attention to your clothing choices. This can have a dramatic effect on simply appearing average in a shirt versus looking impressively muscular in clothes.

The first and most obvious factor is to buy properly fitted clothing. If your shirt is too loose and baggy then your muscles will be covered up, whereas if it’s too tight then this won’t be a good look either.

Ideally you want to land somewhere in the middle. That means a form-fitting shirt where your muscle definition is clearly visible, but not over the top and excessively tight.

Make sure your shirt is snug around the waist area, as this will give you the appearance of a smaller waistline and will accentuate that “v-tapered” look by causing your shoulders to appear wider.

Another key factor when it comes to looking muscular in clothes is your sleeve length. If the sleeves hang down too far then this will end up covering most of your upper arm and cause it to appear much smaller. Just check out the picture above for a prime example of this.

Aim for shirts that cut off just a bit below the line where your shoulder meets your arm and to where a good portion of your biceps remain visible.

Tip #5: Don’t Get Excessively Lean

body fat too low

In addition to maximizing muscular development and making the right clothing choices, another key factor for looking bigger in clothes is to prevent your body fat levels from dropping too low. (For example, in the 6% body fat range.)

If you’re really going for that leaner “aesthetic” look (around 8-12% for men), you’ll end up looking very impressive once your shirt comes off, but not nearly as muscular when it’s on. So, this is an area where you’ll have to find the right balance for yourself.

One thing is for certain however, and that’s that if you want to look bigger in clothes, maintaining a more moderate body fat percentage around the 15% mark (give or take) will go a long way.

Not only will the extra body fat increase your overall size, but the added glycogen and water weight from consuming higher calories will assist as well.

If maintaining an even higher body fat level doesn’t bother you and looking bigger in clothes is your primary goal, then going full on “bear mode” is another option as well. This is where you remain at the higher end of the healthy body fat range (around 18-20%) to maximize overall size with less focus on muscle definition.

Tip #6: Maintain Proper Posture

proper posture

The final factor to consider is your posture.

You certainly don’t want to go over the top with this and be walking around all day with exaggerated “imaginary lat syndrome”, but maintaining proper posture with your chest up, shoulders back and head in a neutral position will help to accentuate your overall muscularity in comparison to weak, closed off posture with your shoulders and head hunched.

Not only will you appear bigger in clothes and more confident this way, but it’s just better for your body in general.

How To Look Bigger In Clothes: Quick Review

muscular in clothes

Want to look bigger in a shirt and maximize your muscularity in clothes?

Make sure to follow these steps…

  • Every muscle group is important, but pay extra attention to the development of your shoulders, traps, neck and triceps long head.
  • Select form-fitting clothing (but not too tight) that have slightly shorter sleeves and a snug waistline.
  • Don’t drop your body fat too low. Somewhere around 15% give or take will cause you to appear bigger in clothes while still allowing you to maintain impressive muscle definition.
  • Keep proper posture with your chest up, shoulders back and head in a neutral position to fully accentuate your physique.

Combine all of these steps and it will make a very significant difference in how muscular you appear in a shirt.

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