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How to Get a V-Shaped Body

By M.L. Rose

The term “V-shaped body” refers to your upper body. It’s a goal of many men -- and some women as well -- who covet a torso featuring large, broad shoulders and a strong upper back that tapers to a slim waistline. A V-shaped body is not only attractive, but it combines muscular strength with low body fat -- and low body fat is good for your health. To obtain a V-shape, perform strength training for your upper body and cardio to help trim excess fat from your midsection.

Overall Plan

The training method you use to obtain a V-shaped body depends on your starting point. If you have low body fat but lack muscle definition, you must exercise your shoulders and upper back to widen the top part of your “V.” If you already possess a muscular upper body but have extra fat around your belly, focus on losing weight while continuing to perform shoulder and upper-back exercises so you don’t lose muscle mass. If you’re weak in both areas, you need a long-term plan that combines weight loss with strength training. Warm up with five to 10 minutes of light cardio before all of your workouts. Do eight to 12 repetitions of each strength-training exercise, using a weight load that tires your muscles by the end of the set. Avoid training the same muscles on consecutive days.

Broaden Your Shoulders

To build your shoulders, target your anterior deltoid muscles in front of your shoulders, your medial deltoids on top of your shoulders and your posterior delts in back of your shoulders. Target your anterior delts with pressing exercises like the military press. To do military presses, stand erect with a barbell in front of your shoulders and then extend your arms above your head. Hit your medial delts with dumbbell lateral raises or barbell upright rows. Perform upright rows by standing straight, holding a barbell in front of you with your arms hanging down and then lifting the weight straight up to your chin. Work your posterior deltoids with rear-delt rows or raises. To do barbell rear-delt raises, hold the weight behind your back with your arms extended downward and then lift the bar as high as your can, straight up along your back.

Strengthen Your Back

To broaden your upper back, focus on building your latissimus dorsi muscles using exercises such as pullups and lat pulldowns. To perform pullups, reach up and grasp a pullup bar with an overhand grip, spread your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, pull your chin above the bar and then lower yourself slowly to the starting position. To do pulldowns, attach a lat bar to a high-cable machine, grip the bar near each end, sit in the machine’s seat and pull the bar to your chest. Return under control to the starting position.

Trim Your Waist

Shrink your waistline with a total-body weight-loss program because you can’t spot-reduce fat from your midsection. You must burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis to lose weight. Eat a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources -- such as chicken, fish and nuts -- and whole-grain bread products. Perform aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming and bike riding to burn calories. Increase your calorie burn by doing intervals, which alternate high- and low-intensity aerobic exercise. As you trim excess fat, firm your abs with exercises such as crunches.

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