Gains for your wallet: Muscle Tees

Sometimes people become so focused on their goals that they can’t see the forest through the trees. This blog is intended to assist in optimizing your life. Health and fitness are our goals so let’s get there as efficiently as possibly!

Why is it that people think working out needs to cost an arm and a leg? Periodically you will come across these “gains for your wallet” posts. They will guide you in slashing expenses on your journey to fit. Remarkably, it is possible to get in shape without $149 Beats by Dre or $40 tank tops from Gym Shark.

So you want to look good and have breathable clothes? Why pay for overpriced labels when you can make DIY tank top/muscle shirts from any old tee you have? I’m running low on gym shirts so let’s dive right in and make a new tank today!

Step 1: Supplies


Find yourself a sweet tee like this MTU Material Science and Engineering shirt I found buried in my closet. If you have no shirts you’re willing to part with then you might want to check out Goodwill, Salvation Army or Walmart for super cheap shirts. You’re going to also need a marker, a ruler/tape measure and sharp scissors. Lay out the shirt on a large flat surface once you’re ready to begin.


Step 2: Measure twice, cut once


I start with measuring from the bottom corner of the shirt. I like to use 9″ up from the bottom. Depending on your body shape and size of the shirt, you may want to adjust the number up or down. Keep in mind that this will be where the bottom of your new armhole is once its cut.


Next you will measure out how wide you want your tank top strap to be. I’m not looking to show off since I check my ego before I go to the gym. My goal for a tank top is breathability so 4.5″ works perfectly for me. Once again, depending on your body type and shirt style you may need to play around with the measurements.


Using a straight edge (a ruler works much better than my tape measure) draw a line connecting your two marks. No need to add any curves or arcs.


Wash, Rinse and Repeat on the other side. Make sure to keep the same measurements or else it will sit crooked and you don’t want to look funny in your new tank!


Step 3: Hack away


Keep the front and back of the shirt as tight as you can while cutting. Try not to zig and zag as much as possible.


Step 4: Stretch it out


“Yo dawg, I heard you like tank tops, so I made a tank top in a tank top”

Cheesy Xzibit memes aside, gently stretch out your newly formed arm holes. This will cause the edges to uniformly roll giving the shirt a nice clean look to it.

Step 5: Rock your new breathable gym shirt!

Notice how the shirt is nice and straight when I pull it down but looks curved when it’s loose? This is the style that I personally like. Feel free to add your own custom personalization and change up the style. Some might want to cut a lower V neck or make a thin center back. Let your creativity run wild and enjoy your new free gym attire. Below is another example that I made over a year ago. Still wear it all the time and it’s still 100% intact.









Feel free to add some comments, question, or suggestions in the comments section below. What are some of your favorite ways to save money on fitness clothes?

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  • John Caldwell

    I would like to point out a grammatical error located in the second paragraph at the beginning of the last sentence. It should read: “Remarkably, it IS* possible” not “Remarkably, it possible”.

    The blogs are a good read while taking a poop! Love ya buddy!

    • Engineered Gains

      Thanks for pointing that out, it’s fixed now. Looks like I’m going to have to find myself a new chief editor! 😛

      Glad you’re enjoying it though. As the person who initially got me into weightlifting I’d like to thank you pushing me, teaching me and sticking with me. I learned a lot from you but as every good story goes, the student must become the master! I’ll just leave this here.

  • Collin Tether

    Love the posts EG. Long time follower of your blog. I had a question though. About a year ago a bought a good friend a “Reps for Jesus” lifting tank but he never wears it. What kind of motivation can I give him so that he wears it, thus increasing his lifting potential?

    Let me know!

  • Prince Jewonitius

    Alternatively, you could just man up and lift until your arms blow off your sleeves, incredible hulk style.