Building an Impressive V-Shape

Building an Impressive V-Shape


Building a classic V-shape like that embodied by Steve Reeves, Frank Zane, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is easy to do if you follow the guidelines I'm about to lay out below. Much of bodybuilding is about making small changes to your physique here and there. Add a quarter inch here, lose an inch there. Bodybuilders are real-life sculptors with real-world clay in the form of muscle.

Building a V-shape is about creating an illusion of broader shoulders, wider lats and pecs, and a narrower waist and hips. The way to do this is to work on building up the lateral head of the delts, the deepening the ribcage, buffing up the lower pecs and widening the lats. You also have to shape the waistline such that it seems like it's getting smaller (reduce fat, increase muscle separation). Finally, you need reduce the apparent size of the hips.

I'll tackle each of these in turn.

Broadening the shoulders has the effect of making the tips of that classical V-shape. And it's easy to do if you focus on the lateral head. This means working the side delts with lots of side laterals and behind-the-neck presses. Try using the Pre-Exhaust method: Do a set of side laterals followed immediately by the presses. This engages the lateral head, fatigues it, such that as many muscle fibers of the side delt are utilized as possible in the presses.

Latissimus Dorsi, or latsTo develop the wide latissimus dorsi muscle, or the “lats,” you must do wide grip chins, lat pull-downs, and barbell rows (mostly builds thickness, but also builds width).

To build the lower pecs, parallel bar dips are the best exercise around. You'll develop that lower line that is so well-recognized in the top champions.

Bent-arm pullovers are key to developing the larger ribcage that is necessary to support the increased musculature of the chest, lats, and shoulders. They not only enlarge the ribcage, they also build the lats and supporting muscles of the upper body.

Reducing the size of the waist is mostly dependent on reducing body fat. As you may know, there is no such thing as spot reduction. You can't just cut the fat off the stomach. No, you'll have to cut fat everywhere. So, diet and aerobics come into play. Losing fat is a numbers game: Burn more calories than you consume and you'll lose body fat.

However, you'll still want to do some ab work to develop the muscles there so that they'll really pop when you lose the belly fat.

Finally, you'll have to build the thighs to give the illusion of smaller hips. Of course, building the thighs is worthwhile, even if doing so didn't make your hips appear smaller. Squat and leg presses are key exercises to develop the sweeping quads that are necessary to enhance the classic V-shape.

Following these guidelines will enable you to build the body you want with that coveted v-shape every man and woman wants.

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Bill Davis

Bill Davis has been an avid weight trainer since the age of 12. He started out as a skinny teenager and finally made his training breakthrough in his late 20s when he discovered how to pack on lean muscle in short order.

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