How to Get the V-shape, Fast
Post at 17:00 - 18/05/2018

To sculpt your body into the coveted V-shape, the first step is to create the illusion that your waist is smaller. How? By making your upper body bigger.This means building broader shoulders and a wider back. Next? You’ll need a suitably ripped midriff.

And which are the optimal moves for hitting these three vital V-shape areas hard and fast? Personal trainer Christian Finn has all the answers.


man with muscle packed onto his shoulders


How to pack muscle on your shoulders

Standing overhead dumbbell press: 4 sets of 5-8 repetitions (2 minutes rest between sets)


standing shoulder press


How: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. With your elbows bent, hold the dumbbells either side of your head. Press them vertically upwards until your arms are completely extended, and then lower them back to the starting position.

Why: This is a great exercise for building strength and size in the deltoids,” says Finn. “Doing the exercise in the standing position also forces your core muscles to work harder.”

Lateral raise: 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions (rest only long enough to do a set with the other arm)


lateral raises



How: Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with them by your sides, palms facing your body. Keeping your upper body still – that means no swinging – lift the dumbbells out to your side with a slight bend at your elbows. Lift until your arms are parallel to the floor then slowly lower to the start position.

Why: The lateral raise allows for a greater range of motion,” says Finn.


man with big back muscles



How to stack your back

Deadlifts: 5 sets of 5 repetitions (2-3 minutes rest between sets)


man performing deadlifts


How: With your feet underneath the bar, squat down and take hold with a shoulder-width mixed grip (one palm face-up and one palm face-down). Raise the bar by pushing from the heels, and bringing your hips forward rather than pulling with your lower back. “Don't round your back at the beginning of the lift,” warns Finn. “Doing so will place your back in a fragile position where it's susceptible to injury. Instead, keep your back ‘neutral’, where the aim is to maintain the natural curvature of the spine.

Why: Use the tried-and-trusted 5 x 5 method – ramping up to your maximum weight by using increasingly heavy loads. For example, let’s say that your five-rep max (the maximum amount of weight you can lift for 5 repetitions) for the deadlift is 150 kilograms. Here’s how you’ll build up to it:

Set 1: 65% of your 5-RM = 97.5kg
Set 2: 75% of your 5-RM = 112.5kg
Set 3: 85% of your 5-RM = 127.5kg
Set 4: 95% of your 5-RM = 142.5kg
Set 5: 100% of your 5-RM = 150kg 

Pull-ups: 40 reps in total


man performing pull ups


How: Grab the handles of the pull-up station with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully extended. Your hands should be around shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale and drive your elbows towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar. Lower under control back to the start position.

Why: Aim for a total of 40 reps in as many sets as it takes to get them done, with as short a rest as possible between each set. So you might start off doing sets of 8, then sets of 6, followed by sets of 3 as your lats and arms become fatigued. Aim to gradually reduce the amount of time it takes to do 40 reps. “Remember that form is crucial,” says Finn. “Don’t sacrifice technique just to get a few extra reps in. Take some extra rest instead.” Research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a wide grip (hands spaced roughly one-and-a-half times shoulder width apart) with the palms facing forwards is the best way to work your lats.

How to shred your abs 

To make your waist narrower, both regular exercise and your nutritional regime are crucial. “Doing endless abdominal exercises will not burn fat away from your abs!” counsels Finn. “Abdominal fat is stored energy. To get rid of it, you need to burn more energy (calories) than you eat – and the fact is that crunches and sit-ups don't burn enough calories to make much of a difference to the appearance of your waist and stomach.”

Ab-wheel rollouts


ab wheel rollout

Once you have lost the beer gut, however, you’ll still need some moves to coax out your core. One of our favourite ab exercises, mainly because it gives us that satisfying ache in our abs the following day, is the ab-wheel rollout. 

Get on all fours, holding an ab wheel in both hands, (if you don’t have one, use a small barbell with a towel wrapped around it). Roll forward, keeping your back straight, knees on the floor and extending your arms in front of you, then tighten your abs to pull yourself back to the starting position.

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