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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best muscle tanks for women

Muscle tanks are comfortable sleeveless tops that keep wearers cool and comfortable. While they’re often worn for workouts, many people have embraced these tops as essential athleisure pieces as well.

Although all muscle tanks are simple, recognizable styles, there are several variations available. Classic tanks feature a relaxed cut and high neckline, whereas some modern tanks feature a cropped hemline or fancy embellishments. Several tanks are now made with materials that stand up better to vigorous exercise, such as wick-away fabrics and breathable mesh panels.

muscle tanks for women
Long muscle tanks work well with shorts and jeans because they can be tucked in or knotted.

Key considerations

Sizing

Muscle tanks for women follow progressive sizing (small, medium, large, and so on). Most styles begin at XS and go up to 2XL, though there are some available in XXS. While most women’s plus-size tanks range from 3X to 6X in most styles, a handful of brands follow number sizing starting at 16 or 18.

It’s worth noting that there are discrepancies in sizing for these tops. Some wearers need to size up either to account for the tank shrinking in the wash or to enjoy a more relaxed fit. Others feel the tank doesn’t run true to size, and more often than not they end up trying on a few sizes (and brands) before finding the ideal fit.

Benefits and drawbacks of muscle tanks

Many wearers opt for muscle tanks over other sleeveless workout tops because they offer a more comfortable, relaxed fit. The straps cover most of the upper shoulder, which means it’s fairly easy to conceal bra straps, including the wide straps on many sports bras. Several tanks have a slightly flared design that promotes airflow around the body as well.

Some wearers feel muscle tanks have an unflattering fit, especially those with a boxy cut that doesn't create much of a waistline. Other wearers find a high neckline bothersome, particularly boat and crew necklines. Those wearers with a larger bust occasionally find that these tanks tend to be tight and uncomfortable across the chest, and sizing up doesn’t always remedy the situation.

Active vs. casual wear

Muscle tanks, as the name implies, are popular workout tops that allow wearers to stay cool while they exercise. The sleeveless style means the arms are fully exposed, and when it comes to lifting weights, it’s much easier to check one’s form in the mirror or with a trainer. Many tanks have a high neckline, which means wearers are less likely to expose their décolletage during bending exercises.

Besides workout wear, muscle tanks have been embraced as popular athleisure tops. Not only are they comfortable and lightweight, they also work well as a base layer beneath hoodies and sweatshirts. Given their versatile designs, these tanks coordinate well with most bottoms from distressed jeans to sporty leggings. They’re often worn as pajama tops with flannel bottoms or shorts as well.

Plain white tanks can be tie-dyed, and dark muscle tanks can be reverse tie-dyed with bleach.

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Muscle tank features

Materials

Muscle tanks for women are usually made of cotton, polyester, or viscose as the main material. Here’s how they compare:

Cotton remains a favorite material because it’s soft and breathable; however, it’s prone to shrinking and fading.

Polyester is lightweight and retains color and shape well with repeated washing; however, one of the drawbacks is that it isn’t always soft or breathable.

Viscose is soft, lightweight, and highly breathable, making it ideal for people with sensitive skin; however, it tends to be absorbent, which means it retains sweat and moisture.

Blended materials show up in most muscle tanks, namely spandex and/or nylon. These materials contribute to a garment’s flexibility and durability, which means the tanks may last longer than their counterparts made without them.

Additionally, many blended fabrics have wick-away properties. Not only do they dry quickly and pull sweat away from the body, they also aid in temperature regulation. Several wick-away muscle tanks also have odor-trapping properties to neutralize and hold onto odors until the garments are washed.

On the downside, after repeated use and washing, the stretchy materials in these blends tend to relax or deteriorate.

Length

There is no standard length for muscle tanks, though most styles have hemlines that fall between the top of the hips and the upper thigh. Some wearers are partial to shorter styles, citing it’s simply less fabric to get in the way of exercise or movement. Others prefer longer tanks that offer more coverage, plus they can be tucked in or knotted if necessary.

Hemline

While muscle tanks for women share essentially the same silhouette, there are a few variations in the hemline. The most common hemline is similar to the straight hem seen on T-shirts. There are high-low hemlines that have longer “tails” at the back of the tank. Some hemlines have a tulip design with two overlapping rounded panels of fabric. Some have a cropped hemline that falls over the belly button or right under the bust.

Colors and designs

There is no shortage of colors and designs for muscle tanks. Solid colors remain popular for their versatility, especially because they’re ideal to wear with leggings that have bold prints or busy patterns. Tanks that feature logos coordinate well with other athletic apparel from the same brand. Graphic tanks run the gamut in terms of design and may include decals, cartoon characters, rock band album covers, or memes.

muscle tanks for women
DID YOU KNOW?
To preserve a logo on your top, it’s best to wash it inside out with bleach-free detergent.
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Accessories

Workout leggings: Alo Yoga Women’s High-Waist Moto Leggings
Muscle tanks pair well with workout leggings, including short and full lengths. Many wearers opt for high-waisted leggings when they wear cropped tanks. We like these Alo Yoga leggings because they are designed to make your lower half look great while working out.

Sports bra: Adidas Women’s Don’t Rest Alphaskin Bra
Active wearers typically invest in a quality sports bra to wear with muscle tanks. Ideally, the sports bra should provide adequate support for activity and impact levels. We like this medium-support bra that comes in two dozen colors.

Hoodie: Hanes Women’s EcoSmart Full-Zip Hoodie
A pullover or zippered hoodie is a great lightweight piece to layer over a tank. When it’s not being worn, the hoodie can be tied around the waist. This one is reasonably priced and comes in lots of colors to match your workout wear.

Pricing

Inexpensive: Entry-level muscle tanks made of cotton and polyester blends cost $20 and less. The quality is hit-or-miss, but at the very least they can be worn for a year or longer before they begin to deteriorate.

Mid-range: These tanks, priced between $25 and $40, include well-made styles from popular athletic apparel brands. Many of these tanks are made of premium materials, many of which have wick-away properties.

Expensive: High-end muscle tanks cost $50 and more and mostly include styles hailing from the premium or designer collections of various name brands. These tanks, which are made to withstand considerable wear and cycles through the wash, are often sport or performance oriented.

To create more room to move the arms, some wearers cut deeper arm holes into their tanks.

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Tips

  • Invest in muscle tanks for trips to the beach. These tops, particularly in loose or oversize styles, work well as swimsuit coverups.
  • Wash the tops in cold water. To prevent the fabric from fading or shrinking, always wash tanks in cold water and hang them up to dry.
  • Repurpose old muscle tanks for dity jobs. Old tops are ideal for messy and dirty jobs, including arts and crafts projects and home repairs.
  • Create a custom muscle tank. You can turn any T-shirt into a tank by cutting off the sleeves.
muscle tanks for women
Certain basic tanks, particularly in solid colors, are occasionally sold in packs of up to six.

FAQ

Q. What are the most popular necklines for muscle tanks?

A. Most tanks for women have a boat or crew neckline that sits high and close to the neck. Certain styles have a scoop neckline that’s cut only slightly lower than a crew neckline. There aren’t many V-neck muscle tanks, though.

Q. Do these tops have pockets?

A. Generally speaking, most muscle tanks don’t have pockets. Because these tops are comparatively lightweight and flimsy, anything in a pocket would weigh it down and make it lopsided. However, some fashion tanks have very small pockets for decoration.

Q. What does it mean if a tank is tagless?

A. Tagless tops lack the care tags that can irritate people with sensitive skin. Instead, the care and size information is printed somewhere inside the garment. It’s important to note that the printed information is prone to fading or peeling off with repeated washing.

Q. Do these tanks have a built-in bra?

A. Barring a few exceptions, muscle tanks usually don’t have a built-in bra. Fortunately, they typically have a relaxed fit that leaves plenty of room for a sports bra. They even fit over bulkier bra styles, particularly longline bras and those with padding.

 

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