vanity exercises

There’s an element of vanity in every move we make at the gym, and that’s absolutely fine. No one’s going to judge you for wanting to look your best.

Better health, better strength, better vitality. None of that means dick if working out doesn’t make you at least a little bit hotter.

So while it’s important to strike a balance and train for your health and vitality at least to some degree, here are 5 key vanity exercises that have you checking yourself out in those big gym mirrors all day!

Vanity exercises for those key muscles

The average gay man has about 800 muscles (the same number as the average straight man, and the above average gay man), but there are a few key ones that really grab attention. GQ listed nine which it called their vanity muscles, most of which are fairly obvious: Abdominals, Pectorals, Biceps, Triceps, Quadriceps, Calves, Deltoids, Trapezius, and Obliques.

Most of our days aren’t spent in situations in which we can assess each other’s abs and obliques, so we’ve adapted a list of everyday vanity exercises that the modern gay man can use in order to get a couple more pleasant sideways glances.

1. Chest / Pecs

Copyright: fxquadro / 123RF Stock Photo

Let’s start with the pecs shall we? A pert pair of pecs will add shape to any shirt or t-shirt and are sure to grab attention. Most guys are pretty good at training their chest, so a few boob-pump exercises before you head out will just help to emphasise the progress you’ve been making.

Bosu ball push-up

This explosive and dynamic movement will really help to get the blood pumping and your pecs popping before a night out.

  1. Hold a Bosu ball bottom-side up and lower into a push-up.
  2. Explode back up so that the ball lifts off the ground.
  3. Once it falls back to the floor, go right into your next push-up.

Never pull the Bosu up; the ball should rise only from the power of your arms straightening.

2. Shoulders / Traps

Copyright: tommisch / 123RF Stock Photo

Fanning out from the neck and down to the middle of the back, the traps frame the upper body. In order to get that ‘really big’ look, you’ll need to spend some time working on your shoulders and traps.


To give a little more depth to your chest and shoulders, add some shrugs onto the end of your vanity workout. They’re pretty much exactly what they sound like.

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on a bench.
  2. Let the bells hang behind you.
  3. Keeping your neck neutral and your back straight, brace your core, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and slowly shrug your shoulders.

3. Biceps

Guns get buns! (which we will be addressing in a moment) A relatively small muscle, biceps have a BIG impact on our pulling power. Tell me you haven’t done a double take when that guy on the tube holds onto the overhead handrail and his bicep pops. *heart eyes emoji.

Wouldn’t you just love to give them a squeeze? Well that’s what they’ll be saying when they look at you from now on.

Standing one-arm cable curl

Unlike some other moves that’ll give your guns a boost, you can’t really cheat with this one.

  1. Grab a high cable handle with one hand and walk to the other side of the station.
  2. Hold on to the machine’s frame with your free hand.
  3. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and with the cable at shoulder height keeping your arm parallel to the floor.
  4. With your elbow steady, curl the handle toward your head. (Holding on to the frame will prevent you from using your momentum.)

4. Triceps

Copyright: restyler / 123RF Stock Photo

Biceps are great, triceps are often better. Think about Zac Efron, even in his skinnier days he always had that prominent tricep line that made magic shine out of any t-shirt it was squeezed into.

Diamond Push-up

The closer your hands, the more you’ll be focusing your efforts on the triceps, and the less you’ll be able to engage the much larger muscles in your chest.

  1. Get into a push-up position with your thumbs and index fingers touching.
  2. Lower yourself until your chest is a few cm above the ground and repeat.

5. Glutes a.k.a. the Butt

Copyright: maridav / 123RF Stock Photo

This is a muscle group that mags like GQ consistently overlook, which is why they’d never make it in the gay world. I mean what’s a gay night out without staring at a few butts?

Single-leg bridge

  1. Lay on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent.
  2. Raise one leg off of the ground, pulling the knee to your chest (this is your starting position).
  3. Driving through the heel, lift your hip upward and raise your butt off the ground.
  4. Extend as far as possible, pause, and then return to the starting position.

Want to train to look hotter?

Course you do, we all do. If you need help, advice, or inspiration, check out our gay personal trainers page for personalised programs to help you achieve your goals.