Va-Va-Voom V-Taper

Develop that sexy V-taper with this targeted back and shoulder workout.

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Want to minimize the look of your lower body and create curves where you genetically have none? Then developing a V-taper should be a priority. A V-taper can be achieved by building the muscles in your upper back and shoulders and tightening the muscles in the waist and lower back, creating the illusion of broadness up top to balance out your lower half and make your waist look smaller.

Do these exercises as a routine, or spread them out within your workout week to help sculpt your own v-taper. Green indicates exercises that should be done heavy with low reps for building, and blue indicates those that should be done with lighter weight for higher reps for tightening.


Wide-Grip Pull-Up

Setup: Take a wide overhand grip on a pull-up bar and hang straight down with your arms fully extended. Bend your knees, cross your feet behind you, and look up toward the bar.

Move: Drive your elbows down and pull yourself upward by squeezing your shoulder blades together, trying to touch your clavicle to the bar. Pause a moment at the top before slowly lowering to the start.

Tip: If you’re not strong enough to do more than a few reps, use a pull-up assist band to help you achieve failure.

Bent-Over Barbell Row

Setup: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Take a shoulder-width underhand grip on a barbell and lift it off a rack and step back. Bend forward from the hips with a flat back until your torso is about 45 degrees to the floor and your arms are perpendicular to the ground.

Move: Drive your elbows up and back and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the barbell into your abdomen. Pause at the top before returning to the start.

Tip: Avoid using momentum as this can put your spine at risk.

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press


Setup: Sit on a low straight-back bench with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, palms facing away, and wrists and elbows stacked.

Move: Press the dumbbells upward, extending your arms until they are completely straight but without locking elbows. Lower slowly back to the start under control.

Tip: For a greater challenge, do this move standing to engage your core and hips.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise


Setup: Sit with your feet flat on the floor and hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing inward. Bend your elbows slightly and lock your arms into place.

Move: Raise the weights up and out to the sides, lifting your arms until they are parallel to the floor. Slowly reverse the move and lower to the start.

Tip: If you’re using momentum, you’re going too heavy. Lighten up and use strict form to protect your shoulders and back.

Cable Oblique Twist

Setup: Attach a D-handle to the cable machine and set the pulley at shoulder level. Stand sideways to the machine and hold the D-handle with both hands. Rotate toward the machine with your arms straight and your hips square to begin.

Move: Keeping your arms straight, rotate away from the machine and pull the handle 180 degrees to the opposite side. Return slowly to the start, resisting the pull of the weight stack on the return. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Tip: Imagine your entire upper body is frozen and locked in place, and that your only pivot point is your waist.

Side Plank with Hip Raise

Setup: Lie on your side with your elbow underneath your shoulder, palm flat. Lift your hips so you’re balanced between your elbow and your bottom foot, and place your opposite hand on your hip.

Move: Lift your hips up about six inches and pause, then lower back into side plank and pause.

Tip: Never allow your hips to sag and lower beyond the starting point.