Lifting Weights For That Perfect V-Taper Back
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
When lifting weights for bodybuilding or fitness athletes, male or female, one of the main goals is building that perfect body image. And while men and women usually differ in their desired final look, both want that sexy v-taper to their back…
Achieving that look isn’t just the result of building a bigger back though. Three different sets of muscles play a role in building a v-taper appearance – your obliques, your latissimus dorsi (lats) and your medial deltoid muscles. In other words you want a narrow waist, wider shoulders and a nice sweep to your back to join the two.
Keeping Your Obliques Narrow
Your obliques are the muscles that run down the outside of your waist just above the hips. Working the obliques is done with twists, either seated with a bar across your shoulders or with kettlebells. The problem here is that they respond just like any other muscle – the heavier the weight you use the bigger the muscle grows. Normally that’s what you want from your workouts, but with obliques the bigger they get the wider your waist is and the blockier your appearance.
Widening your waist will detract heavily from the appearance of a v-taper and lessen the impact of your overall figure. That doesn’t mean you can’t work your obliques though – just stick to either indirect training for them from the other exercises you do or do your seated twists using a broom handle instead of a weighted bar.
Building Your Lat Sweep
Your lats provide that nice sweep from your waist to your shoulders, and the more you work them the better and wider your v-taper will look. To build their width, pick exercises that stretch them fully and force you to pull your arms back down towards your side. Using an overhead pulley to do seated lat pulldowns is the most obvious – after all, that’s why it’s called LAT pulldowns.
You can also add to the width of your lats with one-arm rows done on a weight bench. Instead of using a straight up-and-down movement for your reps, start at the bottom with the weight further forward, in line with your head. As you pull the weight up use a sweep to bring it up beside your hip then lower it back down as low and as far forward as you can safely stretch. As always, keep your torso parallel to the bench throughout the exercise and avoid the tendency to let the back roll side to side.
Wider Shoulders To Complete The Look
OK, obviously you can’t actually widen your shoulder joint or safely move the shoulder joints further apart, but you sure can pack a lot more muscle onto your shoulders to give them a wider appearance. Anyone serious about lifting weights will want to build all 3 shoulder muscles – front, medial and rear deltoids – evenly, but for building a v-taper it’s the medial or outside head that makes the most difference.
Compound exercises like upright rows and overhead presses will build the medial head, and be sure to use side dumbbell raises as the isolation exercise to build your shoulder width. Often referred to as lateral raises, these are the only exercise that focus almost entirely on the medial delts – just be careful not to raise your arms above parallel at the top of each rep as this can damage your shoulders’ rotator cuffs. Don’t overdo the weight, either – be sure you can finish each rep in strict form and opt for more reps, at least 12 – 15 reps per set.
Beyond training those 3 areas, be sure you’re not carrying extra bodyfat around your middle as that will also detract from your v-taper. While that should go without saying, it’s not unusual to see novice bodybuilders and fitness athletes still sporting those tell-tale ‘muffin tops’, so be sure you’re not letting a few extra pounds of fat diminish your hard-won physique.
Hit the weights hard every time you’re in the gym and enjoy the impact of your great v-taper back on the beach next summer!