V Taper: The Definitive Guide

What is a V Taper?

First, let's start with what is a V taper? In the bodybuilding world, image is paramount. When admiring the muscular build the stereotypical indicator of a great physique is wide back and shoulders with a narrow waist. That shape distinguishes the ultimate physique from the shapeless crowd and is one of the most sought after attributes for all athletes. This shape is coined the V Taper. Why? Well you can visualise what it is. The V shape in bodybuilding refers to the shape of the torso resembling the letter V, with broad shoulders and lats down to a narrow waist.

 One of the first goals of new bodybuilders is to get that head turning V taper. This shape is heavily dependent on proportions. If you have narrow hips it’s a lot easier to show a V as this makes your shoulders look broader than if you have wide hips. Some are blessed with genetics while others have to grind to get anywhere near that shape.

v taper workout pdf

How Do I Get a V Taper?

There are two ways to get a V taper body. Building the key muscles for the V taper and the right nutrition. In this blog we will discuss both and how to show your V Taper once you’ve earned it.


How to get V Taper Abs

v taper - muscles

Feeding your muscles the right nutrition is the key to attaining the best V Taper physique, it keeps the abs tight and the delts full.

If you're fortunate enough to have low body fat, the male body has a natural V taper. If you are overweight the main focus is to diet to get that V taper to show. Articles cite that you need to get down to 15% body fat to show your V taper but really, if you have significantly larger (1.618 times to be exact) shoulders you have a v taper. This number is referred to as the golden ratio and this is deemed as the ideal proportion. But if you have a high level of body fat it is even more difficult to achieve. 

If you are serious about building your best V taper and having control of your diet, it is essential you learn how to count calories correctly. While the process may seem very simple, there are a number of common mistakes that dieters make. You need to find your maintenance calories first. This is the number of calories you need to consume on a daily basis to maintain your current weight.

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If you are looking to build size you need to be a calories surplus, but if you are looking to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit.

Here is a handy calculator that will help you calculate the estimated amount of calories you need to consume for deficit and maintenance. 

Remember - you need to decide whether it’s more important for you to build muscle or lose weight in order to develop your V taper. Once you have decided your goal and calculated the amount of calories required to achieve that goal, it’s time to focus on maintaining a balance diet for a v shaped body while monitoring your calorie target.


 V Taper Muscles

v taper - weights

If you are slim with narrow shoulders it’s more of an uphill battle, you’ve gotta gain muscle. This is a long process, you have to train hard and train consistent. But you have to focus on the muscles involved in building that V shape. The two main muscle groups to focus on are the lats and shoulders. In clothing if you want to show your V then shoulders should be your main focus. There are a ton of good shoulder workouts to try, focus on keeping your routines fresh, keep changing it up so you don’t get bored.

Building a tapered torso begins with building the lats, and if you aren't blessed with a narrow waistline then a wide back is essential.

The Ultimate V Taper workout

Training the Lats

A wide back is essential when building a taper. Everyone from the the beginner just starting to workout, to the strongman, or physique competitor, is striving to build wider and bigger lats.


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There are two distinct ways to go about developing good lats and an impressive back. Focus on two main movements when building thickness: 1. Pull down movements. With this focus on pull up or lat pull down. But keep the motion wide. 2. Rowing movements. Again wide grip focus to really hit the lats. 


Training the delts

A distinct feature of a powerful V shape is impressive, round shoulders. It helps to be blessed with a genetically wide shape but if you aren’t so lucky then developing round, thick delts is imperative. To maximise development, its important to hit all three heads of the deltoid:

  • Anterior head: The front part.
  • Medial head: The side part.
  • Posterior head: This is the rear part.

Check out expert guidance from Athlean-X below: 

The Abdominals

A chiseled set of v taper abs is universally admired. Whether at a bodybuilding contest or at the beach, the most eye catching aspect of a good physique is the sharp midsection. Not only does ripped and tight v taper abs create a good first impression but also demonstrates a good level of fitness.

Approach to ab training varies wildly. With results also varying from people only benefitting from a good healthy diet and not training abs at all or a moderate diet combined with training intensely.


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Here is a quick ab workout you can try at home:


It is a common conception that training the abs with weights can increase the girth of the waist. This can result in a bigger waist a defeat the purpose of attaining that V-shape you are training to achieve.


This is also known for direct training for the obliques. Which is a mistake if you are aspiring to achieve a small a waist as possible.




Any development of the waist size through training detracts from the shoulder to waist ratio. There isn’t a need for any direct training for the obliques as with any pressing, squatting and ab work will indirectly stimulate the obliques. On this basis - avoid hitting the obliques!

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How to Show V Taper in Clothes

Remember it’s all about the proportions. Keep your waist small and it makes your shoulders look broad. But a HUGE caveat all this is the clothes you wear. We cannot emphasise this enough. You can have the golden ratio, the perfect proportions down. But if your clothing is baggy, you're hiding it! The biggest culprit of these baggy clothes are dress shirts. Nowadays they aren’t made for guys with a V Taper shape. You will find that your shirts are fitted in the shoulders but sag around your waist. So to show off that hard earned V shape you pay extra to take your shirt to a tailor.

What is a V Taper 

Not any longer....That’s why we created Tapered Fit Shirts. Our shirts are expertly designed for bodybuilders with wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Perfect for your v taper body. No more fabric pooling around the waist, a perfect fit from lats to waist. You put in all that effort into your diet and training, your body deserves to be shown off!

Shop our full range of Muscle Fit Shirts. Purposely built for your V Taper body. The best shirts for a muscular build.  Our Tapered collection also includes muscle fit t-shirts and muscle fit polos.


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