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Tip: 4 Exercises for an Extreme V-Taper

Want cobra lats? Add these to your back workouts.

by Dan North T-Nation

The V-tapered look is something most lifters strive for. We all want wide backs and small waists. Trimming your waistline is a whole ‘nother topic, but here are some key exercises and training protocols to grow your wings.

1 – Weighted Pull-Up

Some lifts are like missing ingredients in a recipe. When you add them to the mix, they change the dish completely. The weighted pull-up is probably your missing ingredient.

Recommendations:

  • Heavy: 2-5 reps with 2-4 minutes of rest between sets.
  • Moderate: 6-8 reps with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.

2 – X-Banded Pull-Up

Not all resistance is created equal. There’s a difference between strapping on a weight belt with plates and loading bands to a lift.

Bands offer accommodating resistance with increased concentric and eccentric tension. Plus, it’s easier to emphasize specific muscles using bands as opposed to free weights.

How to set it up:

  • Have two heavy dumbbells at your sides underneath a pull-up bar.
  • Have one band looped around each dumbbell handle.
  • Loop each band around the opposite shoulder so it makes an X-shape.

When you hang from this position, you’re automatically going to feel your lats engage as the bands pull you to the floor. As you pull up, the bands lengthen and the tension increases. When you lower yourself, the band resistance still offers tension through the eccentric/negative phase.

3 – Banded Bent-Over Row

Keeping the bar close and pulling it in during deadlifts is a useful cue to engage the lats. This banded row variation emphasizes lat engagement by pulling the bar away from you.

How to set it up:

  • Have two bands looped around a rig (at about knee-height) with each one attached to one end of the barbell.
  • Pick up the bar and stand far enough away from the rack so you feel the bands trying to pull the bar away from you.
  • Hinge forward slightly and do rows, keeping the bar close to your body throughout the whole set.

4 – Supine Cable Pullover

Conventional pullovers done on the bench usually lead to over-reaching and hyperextension in the lower back. If you’ve ever tried to do dumbbell pullovers and felt it more in your spine than your lats, this may be the reason why.

One way to emphasize lat engagement is to do pullovers from the floor with a cable pulley. You’ll reduce your back arch and limit the range that your arms can stretch back.

How to set it up:

  • Have a rope handle (or straight bar) attached to the bottom position of a cable pulley.
  • Lay on your back holding the handle with your arms extended overhead.
  • Keeping a slight elbow bend, pull the handle toward your thighs using your lats as the prime movers.

Source: https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-4-exercises-for-an-extreme-v-taper