How to Build a V Shaped Torso: Shoulders

There are two schools of thought. One, that pursuit of perfection leaves us disappointed and feeling empty. If we’re always trying to make our work perfect, we’ll never finish anything we start. “The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.”  Eugene Delacroix

The second school of thought takes the following stance: “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” Les Brown. If we strive for perfection, even our failures will be successes. Strive for your very best. Dream big. Bigger than anyone else and you’re guaranteed to succeed if you also work harder than everyone else.

Both schools of thought have their benefits. If perfection is something we’re always waiting for, accepting nothing less. We will constantly be disappointed. But I don’t think this is any reason not to at least strive for perfection. To be meticulous in our work. To dream bigger than big when setting goals. To create something we’re proud of. Something that makes us glow when we talk about it. That gives us confidence because, even though it might not be another man’s perfection, it’s ours.

If you know my story at all, you’ll know that I struggled for a long time to gain any muscle. I spent way more time in the gym than I do now. I ate more. But I had nothing to show for it. After playing college basketball for a year. Then stopping due to a knee injury and spending the following year getting sloppy. I did two things that helped me turn things around.

1. I started boxing. 2. I found a mentor. As I began to learn from both disciplines (my mentor trained professional football players) I began to figure out what I really wanted and I pushed what I thought was possible. What I began to want was to build my ideal physique. I didn’t want a few pounds of muscle, or a couple abs to show. I wanted it all. I wanted a physique that would make me supremely confidence – at least in how I looked and what I could accomplish physically.

As I began to learn more and more from my mentor – and from boxing – I began to see that it could be achieved. If I worked hard. Really hard. Stay disciplined. Focused on my ultimate goal. And stuck with the nutrition plan we set out, I could actually build this physique. A physique that was my ultimate.

I’m not calling the physique I built THE perfect male physique in any way shape or form. I don’t think there’s a human alive that has this. But it is mine. I’m proud of what I’ve constructed. I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be, more athletic, leaner, and more muscular than I thought was even remotely possible when I was busting my ass in the gym for 7-8 hours a week; staying weak. And getting more and more discouraged by the lack of results I was achieving.

I went from having a body that looked literally looked like a pencil (I had no shoulders). To constructing a body that had that V shape (X shape if you count the legs).

Building this body was like nothing I had ever felt before in my life. I needed to help other guys feel the same thing. So I started a training business, then this online company and web site. What I have yet to get into in great detail on this site is a training method that my mentor introduced to me a few months into my mentorship: specialization.

Specialization is effective because it allows us to see gains almost immediately. Seeing gains immediately in a specific muscle group feels pretty damn good. As a result, we’re more likely to stick with the program because we’re literally seeing results. This is the focus on the week.

I’m going to bring you unique training tactics to build the two most important muscles of the “V”: the shoulders and the back muscles (lats, traps etc…). These muscles must be the main focus when developing a V Shape. The shoulders that taper down to a thin waste. The “tapering” and “breadth” of our shoulders is largely due to our lats (upper/outer and lower) as well as our traps.

Shoulders Burnout

Below is a video of a “shoulders finisher”. The first exercise is one that I used to do when I was fighting. The second is a variation of one that I used to do when I was fighting (brought it down to the knees to limit momentum).

The Set-up

The first exercise – the lateral bar press – is to be done at full speed for the first 20 reps. Follow those first explosive 20 reps with 5 slow reps done at a 4 second eccentric and 4 second concentric cadence (tempo). As you switch to the second exercise in the burnout circuit, you’ll be able to breeze through the first few reps, but make it tough on yourself.

The Vertical Bar Press

The second exercise needs to be strict and slow like the second phase of the first exercise. Make sure your bicep lines up wit your ear at the height of the lift – when your arm’s extended.

This finisher is great for anterior deltoid development. Add this to the end of 3 of your 4 workouts this week. On Wednesday I’ll have some lateral and posterior deltoid finishers for you that you can add next week.