Here at Tapered, we design clothes that perfectly suit a defined V taper. While we can make you look good, getting that V taper is all down to you!
Of course, that doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to offer a bit of advice on how to achieve a V taper, it’s just that you’ll have to do all the hard work.
A V taper is the characteristic bodybuilder shape. It means a wide back and shoulders and a narrow waist so your torso creates a V shape. It’s as simple as that, really.
In the bodybuilding world, proper image is key. A V taper means you’ve focused on building the right muscles to create a defined and symmetrical muscle structure. Of course, getting a V taper doesn’t mean skipping leg day because the V ends at your waist.
Bear in mind, though, that achieving a V taper isn’t just about back exercises. It requires the right diet, too. Importantly, you need to get your body fat levels down to around 15% to properly show off your V taper.
Also, achieving a V taper depends on your starting point. For the perfect V, you’ll need to hit the golden ratio in your shoulder to waist measurements. The golden ratio is 1:1.618, which means:
- A 28” waist needs 43” shoulders
- A 32” waist needs 51” shoulders
Decide whether you need to gain or lose weight to achieve the perfect V taper, but in this article we’ll be focusing on the best exercises for building the relevant muscle groups.
Exercises for a V Taper
Although there are plenty of exercises for building muscles and creating a V taper, we have 3 favourites. These hit the most important muscle groups and are a fairly good starting point before moving onto more complicated workouts.
So, here are our top 3 best exercises for building a V taper back.
V-Taper Dumbbell Rows
The dumbbell row is a great addition to any workout routine and requires very little equipment. It’s ideal for training your back and easily builds strength and mass.
Also, it can help to stabilise your lower back and core as a result. Dumbbell rows are unilateral exercises so can even out muscular imbalance and burn double the amount of calories!
Dumbbell rows train the following muscles:
- Latissimus Dorsi (lats) – large triangular muscles that span your back.
- Spinal erectors – lower back.
- Scapular stabilisers – shoulder blades.
- Forearms and biceps.
Although dumbbell rows are super simple, correct technique is everything. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Setup
Stand perpendicular to a training bench and place the dumbbell on the side you plan to exercise. Place your non-rowing hand on the bench along with your knee on the same side. Your other foot should be planted on the ground.
Reach down and pick up the dumbbell. Ensure your back is tense and completely straight, and drive your non-rowing hand into the bench for greater full-body tension.
Step 2: Begin the row
Keep your shoulders relaxed but squeeze your shoulder blades together. Your back should be taking the dumbbell’s weight, not your shoulder.
Draw your elbow up past your torso as if you’re starting a lawnmower. At the top of the rep, the dumbbell should be about level with your hip.
Step 3: Lower the dumbbell
Upon reaching the top of the rep, contract your back muscles to increase engagement. Then, lower your arm in the opposite way to how you lifted it and repeat. Be sure to keep tension in your back as you lower the weight back down.
How many reps you do depends on your goals. If you want to gain muscle, use a moderate weight and do 3 to 5 sets of 15-20 reps.
2. Lat Pulldown
Lat pulldowns are another fairly easy exercise with great results. Importantly, the basic method has plenty of variations for targeting different muscles in different ways.
We’ll only cover the basic exercise but once you’ve mastered this you can try different modifications.
One of the main benefits of lat pulldowns is that they target the lats (as the name suggests) without focusing on the arms. This means you can isolate your back muscles with a specific exercise and then do something that works more effectively on your arms.
Many of the benefits of dumbbell rows apply to lat pulldowns too, such as improved posture and easier pulling movements.
You’ll need a cable pulley machine for this exercise, but once you have one, follow these steps:
Step 1: Setup
Sit down on the seat with your feet flat on the floor and your legs in a comfortable position.
Begin by checking the pulldown bar is at the right height. It should be high enough that you have to extend your arms to reach it but don’t need to move your bum off the chair.
You can change the height either using the chain or by raising or lowering the chair.
Step 2: Begin the pulldown
Take hold of the bar with an overhand grip and your knuckles pointing up. Pull the bar down until your elbows can’t move any further downward without going backwards.
Letting your elbows move backwards puts unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint and can lead to injury.
During this motion, be sure to exhale. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and aim to keep your upper torso stationary. You should aim to engage your abs on the downward motion, too.
While the bar is in the lower position, squeeze your shoulder blades together for greater tension while keeping your shoulders square.
Step 3: Return to starting position
Slowly return the bar to its starting position, inhaling as it moves up. The slower you let the bar up, the better the movement will target your muscles.
It’s best to aim for 8-12 reps per set with a moderate weight and do to between 3 and 5 sets. Of course, your personal programme might be different, but this is a good starting point.
3. Lateral Raise
The lateral raise is another super simple exercise that you’ll be able to do at home without any issue. The only equipment you need is dumbbells, which can be of any appropriate weight.
This exercise is great for building strength in the shoulders because it targets the lateral head of the deltoid muscles. When done regularly and with the right weights, lateral raises also aid muscle gain and can help you to create broad, defined shoulders.
Again, there are some good variations of the lateral raise, but we’ll only cover the basic method here. It’s important to master this before attempting any changes to the exercise.
So, once you’ve got your dumbbells, do the following:
Step 1: Setup
Stand up straight with your feet beneath your hips. Ensure your posture is correct: your shoulders are rolled back, your core is engaged, and your head is facing forward.
Start with your arms at your sides, a dumbbell in each hand, and your palms facing in.
Step 2: Raising your arms
Raise both of your arms at the same time but only by a few inches. Pause here to make sure you disengage your trapezius and target your delts as intended.
Continue lifting your arms, keeping them as straight as possible while you do so. Stop when your elbows reach shoulder height and your body forms a T shape. Be sure to inhale during this stage.
Step 3: Lowering your arms
Pause in this position for a few seconds and then begin to lower your arms. You should take twice as long to lower them as you did to raise them.
Be sure to exhale during this stage and then repeat as needed.
A good starting point is 10-15 reps per set, and 3 to 5 sets. For a greater challenge, consider using kettlebells instead, as these distribute the weight differently.
These exercises are a great starting point, but they’re by no means the ultimate guide for building a V taper. Luckily, Tapered have you covered for that, too. If you’d like further advice, check out our Ultimate V-Taper Booster Workout guide.
It’s a 6-week workout PDF that covers all you need to know about working out to achieve the perfect V taper. It discusses the perfect fat burning exercises that form the foundation of a V taper. Better yet, it comes to you from PCA Muscle Champion Eddie Chipp, so you know it’s legit!
And of course, once you’ve hit that perfect V taper, you’ll need some new threads to show it off. Obviously Tapered are here for you again, so check out our store for only the best shirts and T-shirts designed specifically for men to show off their V taper. Our products are designed by athletic men, for athletic men.