A sick V-taper is something all men want to possess. A thin waist, wide shoulders jutting out either side of your neck, coming together harmoniously to form an impressive triangular shape will always turn heads.

Whether it is to command respect from your peers or attract the opposite sex, the V-taper is a classic mainstay in male circles.

If you can get the coveted Adonis Belt in addition to the V-taper, you are golden.

There are a few elements at play in order to get a V-taper, but we will attempt to break down the legendary look into component parts.

What Makes a V-Taper

Keto King: Vince Gironda

We cannot discuss the V-Taper without discussing the Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio is the ideal of beauty. The ratio itself is rounded to 1:1.618 — or, alternatively, your shoulders should be 1.1618x wider than your waist.

This means achieving a narrow waist, a wide back, wide shoulders, and a wide chest. A low body fat percentage is often a prerequisite to achieving a V-taper, however, it’s not 100% imperative if you already have broader than average shoulders.

Side Note: You should always strive to lower your body fat percentage if you wish to achieve a V-taper and to be healthy.

One often overlooked element to achieving a V-taper is posture and unrounding your shoulders. Tight hamstrings, for example, are to blame for many issues concerning posture and back pain.

Most articles on the topic will advise you to hammer your back and side delts, but we will take a more nuanced and deeper approach to achieving this awesome look.

The Best Exercises To Get a V-Taper

v-taper frank zane
Frank Zane’s insane V-taper

1. Weighted Pullups

Powerlifter pullups
Well built gentleman performing pullups

Learn to do more pullups with these simple tips.

The pullup is probably the best exercise you can do — period.

It incorporates your entire upper body, core; unrounds your shoulders, helps prevent should injury; stretches out your chest, back, and shoulders; and it decompresses your spine.

In addition to the host of benefits it promises, there isn’t another exercise that will contribute more to your V-taper than pullups — especially if they’re weighted.

If you can’t do them, that isn’t a problem, there are ways to train the same muscles without having to do the real thing. You can do assisted pullups and Lat Pull Downs until you gain the strength to do pullups.

2. Wide-Grip Cable Rows

This inclusion is a little dark horse.

While there are definitely better back exercises out there, what I particularly like about Wide-Grip Cable Rows is the fact that they work your lower trapezius’ more directly than other variations.

Adding a good squeeze at peak contraction and a controlled slow negative portion of the lift to target your lower traps will help you achieve the look.

This, in turn, helps unround your shoulders to pin them back to help you give off the illusion of broadness.

3. Face Pulls

Read our article on why it is crucially important to blast your rear deltoids for both your strength and overall physique.

The rear deltoids are the body’s unsung hero.

No other muscle, pound for pound, contributes so much towards a general aesthetic look and strength.

For this reason, I have chosen the Face Pull as a crucial exercise towards developing the V-taper.


Not only does it hit the rear deltoids, side deltoids, and traps, but, like with pullups, it also contributes to undoing the damage done to your posture via a sedentary lifestyle.

Face Pulls should be completed on a regular basis.

After every pressing session, you should perform a few sets of Face Pulls to counteract overstimulation of the front deltoids.

Here are some exercises to target rounded shoulders

4. Lateral Raise

If you struggle with developing your shoulders, we recommend that you check out our article on how to sculpt 3D cannonball deltoids.

In addition to building a wide back, you need to be pounding your deltoids’ lateral heads.

Presses aren’t enough for a complete all-round look.

Some athletes lack width as they neglect their side deltoids because they lack the functionality to excel at their sports.

However, if you want a sick V-taper, this exercise is an about must.

You can do wide-grip upright rows, but they can put the shoulders at a risk of injury if you butcher the form — something that is way too common.

Well-developed side deltoids will separate the men from the boys.

The stupidest question Derek from more plates more dates has ever been  asked : nattyorjuice
Very difficult to be sad if you have side delts like Derek’s

5. Incline Bench Press

Some lifters struggle with the incline bench press. Here are two other exercises you can use in its stead.

No V-taper would be complete without an imposing, wide chest.

And no exercise will contribute towards that unmistakable, imposing, wide chest more than the Incline Bench Press.

The Incline Bench Press has become something of a meme in fitness circles as taking the spot of the most aesthetic exercise.

But it’s potency for bringing up the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps fast can’t be understated.

The upper chest is far more crucial to develop than the lower chest for a complete look.

Legendary bodybuilder Steve Reeves would go for several-month-long training blocs using the Incline Bench Press as his sole chest developer.

6. DB Pullover

This classic overlooked exercise is great for stretching out your upper body, working your core, as well as activating both your upper back and your pectoral’s “teeth”.

Whether or not you do them on back or chest day is up to you and a subject of contention.

But the fact remains that you should still employ this underrated exercise to help you achieve your desired look.

7. Romanian Deadlift

I’ve included the Romanian Deadlift for a couple of reasons.

While some lifters may say it could add unwanted mass to your core and spinal erectors, giving your waistline a blockier appearance, most novice and intermediate lifters don’t stretch adequately.

The Romanian Deadlift will stretch your hamstrings as well as challenge your upper back.

Tight hamstrings can cause lower back pain and cause you to slouch.

For a gnarly V-taper, you need to be standing tall and proud.

Part of the charm in having a V-taper is to be stood upright and to exude confidence.

8. Lose Fat!!

This final point should go without saying. It’s very difficult to have a V-taper with muffin tops and wide love handles.

There is no such thing as spot reduction, save liposuction — but you’re not going to do that, are you?

Fat loss is rarely even, and you will have to get down to a low (10-15%) bodyfat to fully enjoy your V-taper.

There is no best exercise for losing fat other than hard work in the kitchen and discipline to eschew any arising temptations.

Cardio can be a useful tool for fat loss, but it is ultimately your diet that will inform your success.

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