Do you want to know how to build the perfect v-taper? If you are confused about how to build a wide back, then I have GREAT news for you. I am going to share with you some back training do’s and don’ts. Not only that, I’ll teach you some lat training techniques that will absolutely SHOCK and AMAZE you. In fact, I shared some of these tips with professional female bodybuilders to boost and advance their back training to build the perfect v-taper.
Does Building The V-Taper Improve Your Symmetry?
First, understand that building the prefect v-taper does NOT improve your symmetry. Symmetry is the balance of your left and right side. MOST competitors have symmetrical lats. What a good v-shape does is improve your proportion, which is the balance of your upper to your lower body.
One of the weakest body parts I see on many competitors is the back. A flared and trimmed back is the appearance of wide shoulders and back, a small waist, and proportionate legs. In fact, having a well-developed lats can set you apart from the rest of the competitors and nudge you closer to winning first place and even the entire competition and your Pro Card. It is not an unreasonable goal, as many first-time figure competitors are swiping up numerous trophies and pro cards.
The truth is, most competitors are NOT training in such a way to fully develop a wide back and for that v-taper. Many of them just assume they are training correctly and think if they keep training long and hard enough, they will eventually build the perfect v-taper. That is just wishful thinking. I don’t care how long, how often, or how hard you train your lats, they will not grow any wider if you are not training them properly.
The v-taper is built though SPECIFIC lat training. Yes, some women are gifted in the muscle development department and will build wide lats quickly and easily, making you think that you can’t build a wide back. Anyone, and I do mean ANYONE, can build wide lats with focused training on specific lat developing exercises.
I am going to teach you how to specifically zone in and target those hard to reach areas in your lats and literally FORCE them to grow.
Lat Training Mistakes
Often times, when competitors train their lats they perform lat training in the form of pulldowns, pull-ups, and chins-ups. While training in this approach is effective, many lifters simply overdo these exercises and neglect other effective back training movements.
Of course pulldowns, pull-ups, and chins build a wide back and help develop the v-taper, but they can be trained in a way that directs 100% focus on them and many lifters miss this important step.
You see, 99.99% of ALL lifters in the gym, if not a tad more, are doing pulldowns, pull-ups, and chins 100% completely wrong. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Most people will tell you that to make the pulldown, pull-up, or chin-up effective you need to do negatives. Sure, negatives are great and work, but THAT’S NOT THE SECRET. Others will tell you that you need to do MORE pulldowns, pull-ups, and/or chin-ups. And still others will tell you that you need to keep a slight bend in your elbows.
You can do negatives at times, but don’t rely on them for the bulk of your lat training. You don’t necessarily need to increase your sets or reps either. Why? Well, the type 2b muscle fibers, those responsible for muscle growth, are targeted in about the 8-12 rep range.
If you keep doing more and more reps, you will pass up the growth training window and just be doing endurance training. Lastly, if you bend your elbows, where does that shift the focus to? Your arms.
When you do pulldowns, pull-ups, or chin-ups and keep your arms bent it takes the emphasis off your lats and directs the stimulus onto your biceps. Sure, you will get a pretty good biceps workout, but give your lats a half-ass workout.
Secret #1 on How To Build Wide Lats
Here is one of the lat training secrets to develop a wide back. Ready? Keep your elbows LOCKED and your arms STRAIGHT on the release. By keeping your arms straight you keep your biceps out of the movement and your lats get 100% attention.
Secret #2 on How To Build Wide Lats
There is another little training secret. Your lat growth is in the STRETCH. You MUST get the FULL stretch between each and every contraction, otherwise they will not develop to their full potential.
How do you do this? Well, first keep your arms straight on the release. You can’t get a full lat stretch with bent arms.
Here is what you do…
Grab the pulldown bar overhead and position yourself in the pulldown apparatus. With your arms straight and locked overhead, shrug your shoulders down FIRST to ensure you call your lats into the exercise and then pull the bar down to your collar bone.
As you pull the bar down a slight curve in your back should naturally form. However, avoid leaning back to pull the bar down. It’s a lat pulldown exercise, not a rowing exercise.
Return the bar to the starting position overhead. Straighten your arms and lock your elbows and lean inward to get the full lat stretch, and repeat the movement.
Do the lat pulldown this way next time and I 100% GUARANTEE you that you will feel it, you will be sore, and your lats will start to grow.
Use Those Tactics on All Lat Work
This exact same technique of locked arms on release and the full stretch can be used on pull-ups and chins too. Get the full lat stretch as you go into the lower portion of the movement. Yes, it is harder to do a pull-up or chin-up from a full hanging position, but that is because you will be using your LATS to pull up and NOT your biceps!
The straight arms and lat stretch are the two secret lat training factors VERY few lifters incorporate because many lifters use too much weight on the lat pulldown, which causes them to stop-short on the release and they end up using their biceps, rather than their lats, to get the next rep. It is not about getting the next rep; it is about getting the stretch.
If you are NOT getting the FULL stretch on your lats between each contraction, you are doing it wrong and hindering your lat growth and development.
But That’s Not All…
Now, if you found this information helpful you can join 73,000 other athletes prepping for competitions and join my FREE Contest Prep Crash Course and start making changes today. Use the diet and training tactics proven to work to take your physique to the next level.
Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
Thanks for reading over my article! I hope you found the information helpful. If you have any questions you can contact me directly using the “Contact Link” at the top of the page. I answer all emails.
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