T Nation

V Taper Training

So, I’ve been training since February on and off, doing strongliftS 5X5. I almost reached the strength standards.
17 years old, 5¨10, 155 pounds
SQ: 132,5 X5
BP: 87,5 kg X5
DL: 160 kg X5

While I did gain some muscle from this, I want to work on improving my V Taper, after having looked though this forum for v taper training tips, I found @EyeDentist approach interesting, working on the upper chest, shoulders, abs and lats.

So I wrote out a training plan. Looking for some feedback.

Week 1-2: 3RIR
Week 3-7: Failure

Monday: Chest/Back
Banded DB Incline Press: 1X8-12
DB Incline Press: 1X8-12
Cable Incline Press: 1X8-12
Chest Supported Lat Pulldown: 1X8-12
Seated Cable Lat Row: 1X8-12
Upper Back Pulldown: 1X8-12
Rear Delt DB Row: 1X10-12

Wednesday: Legs
Seated Calf Raise: 3X10-12
Seated Leg Curl: 1X8-12
Leg Extension: 1X10-12
Hack Squat: 1X8-12
SLDL: 1X8-12
Sissy Squat: 2XMax Reps

Friday: Shoulders and Arms
High Incline DB Press: 1X8-12
Cable Lateral Raise: 1X10-12
Cable Y Raise: 1X10-12
DB Preacher Curl: 1X10-12
Seated DB Curl: 1X10-12
Cable Incline Curl: 1X10-12
Cable Triceps Extension: 1X10-12
DB Skulls: 1X10-12
Overhead Extension: 1X10-12

Just focusing on adding reps and weight every week.
Does this plan look good for building the v taper?

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When doing back, once you are fully warmed up, you must have a weighted stretch. At the bottom of the movement, let the weights pull at the lats and rhomboids.

And start with overhead bent over cable rows, ala John meadows.

Also don’t forget to add in some Darden techniques, slow eccentric movements with a count.

And…you have to eat. To get big, you must be in a calorie surplus.

My $.02

You might could put the leg extensions after the hack squat instead of before. My uneducated idea is that you could move far more weight on the hack doing it this way, and extensions wouldn’t be effected that much.

Where are the pullups? You should be doing pullups twice a week. Work to get to 20 reps and then start adding weight.


Thanks for the shout-out. A couple of thoughts:
–If you’re going to work each bodypart this infrequently, you better be working them hard. (At your level of development, a 3 on/1 off schedule would be better IMO.)
–When it comes to a nice-looking V taper, rear delts are among the most important and least-worked muscles. Show them some respect by moving them up Monday’s ladder.
–On Leg day, RDLs > SLDLs. Do them after extensions, then do sissy squats. Hacks are last, and should be deep, nonlock, and high-rep. ‘Uncomfortable’ shouldn’t begin to describe them.
–Re Friday: I don’t think you need the high-incline DB press. Start with the lateral-delt work, and kill it while you’re fresh.
–Preacher curls are dangerous, and no one should do them. Fight me.
–I don’t know what a ‘cable incline curl’ is, but I do know what standing EZ-bar curls are (hint).

Just wondering why you feel this way. I’ve always felt WAY more ham involvement from SLDLs, but perhaps it’s the added glute involvement from the RDLs that make you favor them? Or is it just a safety issue?

17 years old and 155 pounds, and the above is your leg routine?
Where are the squats and leg presses? He attained some decent strength in the power lifts. Why would he drop those at his young age?

I am totally against departing from the mass builders to attempt some symmetry quest. I am not saying a V taper isn’t a good target, it is.

Put on more muscle everywhere. Never forget traps. Power cleans opportunity. The Freaky, Gnarly Beast look. Who cares if you achieve a vast V taper, if you look like a swimmer?

If the squat and deadlift where 5 reps with 200kg, that is a getting close to strong (and bench press 150kg for 5 reps). His bench press strength is far from where it needs to be. Now he is young, so not a concern yet.

To the OP’s old routine I would add

  1. Some kind of OHP (you can change exercises as long as the weight is what you consider heavy)
  2. Power cleans or heavy upright rows

Plus pullups

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Mainly this.

Thanks for replies. I forgot to mention I have different movements on week 2, I’m already doing pull ups in my program :slight_smile:

So the three sets per muscle idea came from a thread I read on here about the driver of muscle growth where Paul Carter said 1 set on 3 movements is a good starting point.

What I was thinking was to increase volume week by week, all sets to failure of course
Week 3: 3 sets per muscle
Week 4: 4 sets per muscle
Week 5: 5 sets
Week 6: 6 sets
Week 7: 6 sets
Weekn 8: Off

Thoughts? I don’t know if its more useful to just do 6 sets from the get go, or gradually add more in the training cycle.

When you say “sets” are those “working sets” that don’t include warmup sets regardless of how many warmup sets there are?

Yep, just sets to failiure

If you are training to failure I would focus on feeling the muscle and beating the log book. Adding sets weekly will burn you out.

If you are progressing on lower volume why add more sets? When progress stalls then add a set. If you feel your last set was not enough add a back off set.

IMO, too many failure sets will eventually lead to failure to recover. Then your progress will stall, or even retard.


Hey EyeDentist,
Just wondering why you say preacher curls are dangerous?

Because they put the biceps in a position of mechanical disadvantage that can result in rupture of the distal tendon.

As the elbow straightens, you approach a point where the load exponentially increases (ie, the point at which the forearm is making a 90 deg angle with the floor). At the the same point in the movement, the forearm is making an approximately 180 deg angle with the (upper) arm, a position in which, anatomically speaking, the biceps’ ability to flex the elbow is greatly diminished. This next part is the crux of the matter: The preacher bench itself prevents the lifter from making the ‘cheat’ movement necessary to put the biceps back into a safe anatomic position, and pop goes the tendon.

tl;dr The fact that preacher curls create a moment of 1) exponential increase in effective load that is coupled with 2) acute anatomic disadvantage and 3) an inability to appropriately adjust lifting position, makes it an exercise whose risks far exceeds its benefits.


EyeDentist, Distal Biceps Rupture Class of 2001


Thank you very much for the explanation.
Actually preacher curls are the only exercise where I tend to feel my biceps. My arms are lagging bodypart as I always focused only on compound lifts and I have very long arms.

And being verrrrryyy shoulder dominant, it tend to take over all the tension away from bic and triceps.
On preacher curl, as my arm is supported, I manage to “shut off” the shoulder and I can focus to exclude also the forearm.

Do you have any suggestion how to train my biceps?
Thanks :).

Perfect remedy for this:
Raise the rear of the preacher bench to create a steep angle.
Buy 3 sets (or more for more resistance if you’re beasty strong) of 20/25 lb chains for accommodating resistance.
Use 10lb plates to start, so if you have a 25lb curl bar the weight will be 45lbs

We used a cord to join the ends of the chains and had a good bit of additional cord to vary the amount of the chains on the ground at the stretched position. (We used chains for squats, bench presses, and preacher curls, so we needed to vary the length of cord.).

After a warmup set with just bar and plates, I looped a chain on each side and wound the cord around the bar (olympic size plates), until at the extended position one or two chain links would be off the ground. So, not much resistance at the start of the movement, but it does get heavier as you contract the biceps.
On the next curl set add another set of chains, and so on and so on.

One thing to remember is that you don’t want to have all of the chains off the ground at the top of the curl. If you do the bar will want to swing.

BTW, IMO, the leg press is the most dangerous exercise for its potential of a bicep rupture. In fact, I ruptured my right bicep doing leg presses on the last leg day before the Master’s Nationals where I thought it might be my best chance to win my class. I do know there is a great case for rupturing the underhand on a maximum deadlift.

Sounds like you guys both feel as if the exercises that ruptured your biceps are the most dangerous exercises for bicep ruptures.

By the way- on the subject of preachers - I put an incline Bench at 30-45 degrees in front of a cable attachment with the seat closest to the cable handle, and kneel behind the incline Bench. Then, you can raise the handle a bit, which adjusts the lifting position and, because of the nature of a cable machine, you still have to work against the full force of the weight in the contracted position, where a dumbbell preacher has the top 1/4 of the movement being essentially useless. Perfectly safe, not a ton of tension in the fully extended position.

I do think EyeDentist has a good point. His points are well taken. The preacher curl is a great bicep builder. Modification is the answer, not elimination. There are safer and better methods of doing preacher curls.

Introspect on this and consider: Do you truly feel it in your biceps, or perhaps is what you’re feeling tension in/near the distal biceps tendons?

Given how you’ve described yourself, seated incline DB curls might be the ticket (provided you keep your upper arms back).

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