Flex in that festive tux with this 3-day strength training workout routine

This quick and effective workout programme creates a Bond-worthy body

Man in suit lifting heavy weight
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether it is a festive celebration, your work’s formal Christmas party or a massive shindig to bring in the New Year, this is very much the season to dust off the tuxedo, the sharp suit or whatever other black tie attire you favour and become the toast of the town.

But as a certain 007 has proven in recent years, the tuxedo hangs best on a more athletic physique. “Overall symmetry and posture really influence how a suit drapes and compliments the body,” explains Calum Sharma, Head of Exercise Science at London’s The Body Lab, a cutting-edge fitness facility that encompasses fitness, recovery and nutrition.

Thankfully, Calum is here to deliver his verdict on the best weekly workout for those seeking strong looks in a suit.

Feel free to approach this workout as a three-day programme, placing the important rest days in between so your body has a chance to recover. As ever, progressive overload will be key to results, so make a note of the weight you are shifting for each exercise and attempt to make small incremental increases over time. 

You’ll notice we have skipped a specific arms day, as most of these exercises will also work the biceps and triceps. But if you’re keen to fill out a dress shirt, consider throwing in a separate arms day.

“The arms play a vital role in completing the athletic picture, particularly the biceps and triceps. If you're wearing a dinner jacket all night, this isn’t such a big deal, but when it comes time to get down to the shirt, well-toned arms won’t go unnoticed,” Calum explains.

“Integrate Barbell and Dumbbell Bicep Curls, Tricep Dips, Skull Crushers, and Hammer Curls to create well-defined, bulky arms,” he adds.


“Although you don’t need to pack on a huge amount of size in the legs to look great in a suit, it pays to shape the glutes and gain some definition in order that suit trousers hang correctly, Calum explains. Here, Calum suggests a classic approach to your leg day, with exercises that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Back Squats

A great exercise to work the glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads, the humble back squat has been programmed since the beginning of time and when performed properly, is a very effective way to build muscles in the legs and posterior chain.

Aim for four to five sets, using the first couple of sets to warm up, keeping the weight low and producing a higher amount of reps to ensure everything is warm. Go heavier for the middle working sets and then warm down with a lighter final set.

Front squats

The legs should be nice and warm from the back squats, so now it’s time to shift the emphasis onto the quads with front squats. You’ll likely find you need to go a bit lighter with these, so focus on form and get the reps out. Aim for four sets of 12-15 reps.

Rear foot elevated split squats

This is a surefire way to toast those quads, while building an impressive posterior chain to help with overall posture and athleticism. It can be carried out using just the body weight, which is often the case if you’ve gone hard on the previous exercises, dumbbells or a weighted barbell. Whatever feels best.

Again, aim for four sets and keep the reps relatively high. This is not the exercise you want to attempt that personal best with.

Romanian deadlifts

It is possible to perform RDLs with dumbbells, but it is generally better if you can grab a weighted barbell. Again, don’t look to go too heavy, but instead focus on a deep stretch in the hamstrings on the lowering portion and a quality contraction on the way back up. 

Back and shoulders

“Moving upward, a well-defined and powerful back is fundamental to achieving a balanced physique. A strong back enhances posture and also contributes to the top of the V-shape that we are looking to achieve,” explains Calum.


It is the exercise many love to hate, but in reality, very little works the entire posterior chain harder. You don’t need to go nuts with weight, simply focus on great form and the perfect contraction in the glutes, quads to avoid reliance on the lower back for great results. 

Like the first exercise in leg day, opt for a few more sets here, taking time to warm up and cool down with a few lighter, higher-rep sets.

Barbell Rows

The added bonus of this exercise is that it works the biceps, as well as most of the major muscles in the back. Ditch the ego, because this one is all about slow controlled reps, so keep the weight manageable.

It’s possible to carry out with dumbbells or a barbell, whatever you can get hold of or find easier. But again, keep a strong focus on posture,driving the hips backwards to maintain a neutral spine.

Aim for three to five sets but the reps can be lower, so long as the focus is on keeping every rep slow, controlled and perfect.

Reverse flys

This final exercise will put the icing on the rear shoulder and upper back cake, toasting those smaller muscles and rounding out a decent workout. Again, keep the weight light here and focus on form, opting to keep the reps high.

Three to four sets should suffice here, so long as you aim for 12-15 reps (or higher if you can). 

“As we ascend further, sculpted shoulders add to the overall aesthetic appeal, influencing upper body symmetry and enhancing the silhouette in formal wear,” Calum adds.

“To achieve well-rounded shoulder development, include Military Press, Arnold Presses, Lateral Raises, Front Raises, and Reverse Flys in your training regimen. These exercises target the deltoid muscles, creating a broad and powerful upper body that complements formal clothing,” he says.


“Finally, a well-developed chest adds to the overall aesthetic and leads the way when moving around in a suit,” Calum says. That’s why this simple but effective chest session is vital.

Bench press

It’s a classic but for good reason, the bench press is not just an excellent test of strength, but also a brilliant chest developer when performed correctly. If you only have access to dumbbells and a bench, fret not. 

Warm up the chest and shoulder muscles nicely with a couple of lighter, high rep sets and build towards pushing heavy. Five to six sets in total should suffice, but make sure you increase the weight as the weeks progress.

Incline bench press

Simply changing the angle of the bench helps target a different part of the chest, building well-rounded pecs that look great in a shirt and fill a suit jacket. The chest should be warm now, so aim for four sets of around 12 controlled reps.

Weighted dips

This is arguably one of the first exercises on the list that requires a bit of specialist equipment, but if you can access dip bars and a weight belt or weighted vest, it’s a beast for developing a shapely chest and tasty triceps.

It’s also a great exercise to take to failure, so start off with bodyweight, gradually increase the weight over the sets and then back to bodyweight and rep to failure.

Get Fit 2024

This feature is part of T3's Get Fit 2024 campaign. We’ll be bringing you a wealth of guides, features, deals and news to help you get healthy, fit and ready for anything the new year can throw at you. Whether you’re a newcomer to fitness or someone with a passion for it, we’ll bring you all the best workouts, diet advice and gear to set you on the right track.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.