In fitness and bodybuilding, image is very important. Genetics play a role in the image we want to portray. Outside of genetics, it is just plain old hard work that is needed.
When looking at the quintessential muscular build, it usually involves a thin midsection, wide back, and wide shoulders. This in the bodybuilding world is known as the “v-taper”. Of course, you can figure out it gets it name from the “V” layout of the torso. Now, some people are blessed with a genetically thin waist, wide set back and shoulders. But, how does one acquire such a build who was not so blessed?
When wanting to get a v-taper, you have to look at the particular muscles involved. Of course, you cannot make your waist any smaller without losing weight, which can take away from overall size. So, first look at the specific muscles involved. Often bodybuilders get caught up in training from a medial viewpoint, which means closer to the midline of the body. This is because the muscles tend to be more dense in these areas which can show more thickness and size. If you look at the chest, if one simply just does bench pressing or pushups, the chest will develop nicely in time and be thick. This is medial training. But what about when you add dumbbell or cable flies? This hits the chest as well from a medial standpoint but puts more emphasis on the distal part of the muscle, or the furthest point away from the midline of the body.
So, look at the muscles involved for a v-taper. Not blessed with a naturally thin 30in waist? Hit the back and shoulders from a distal standpoint. For back, focus on wide grip lat-pull downs and/or wide grip pull ups. Just think “wide grip = wide back”. Another great movement is cable pull-ins, where you stand with your arms stretched out in a “Y” position, and tuck the elbows into the side, isolating the distal parts of the lats and small teres major and minor muscles.
When it comes to shoulders, do not shy away from the distal work! Dumbbell or cable lateral raises are a must, wide grip pull ups, and even wide grip barbell military presses. Take note, please be careful on the weight you use because as you move the hands further and further away from the body in any movement, this puts more strain on joints. So do not go to heavy and focus on form and hitting the muscle.