Get That Upper-Body Taper With These 6 Moves

Nothing will get you that V-taper faster than 3 days of upper-body training weekly, and this workout will have you feeling jacked in 45 minutes of gym time.

Ebenezer Samuel, Photography by Allie Holloway |

“It’s all about the V-taper,” says veteran trainer Bobby Maximus, author of Maximus Body and a man who’s worked with everyone from A-list stars to Navy SEALs. “Nothing says ‘fit’ like broad sculpted shoulders, wide lats and big arms.” They’re all muscle groups people can’t help but see; build them and they’re noticeable even under a T-shirt. And nothing will get you there faster than three days of upper-body training per week, done at a fast tempo that’ll leave you feeling jacked and have you out of the gym in 45 minutes. That’s the Maximus plan. Get to work.


Do this upper-body workout 3 days a week, with a full day between sessions. Start with a short warmup of 15 jumping jacks and two 30-second planks. On 2 off days, set a timer for 30 minutes. Do bodyweight squats, reverse lunges, and sit-ups as a circuit, 20 reps each. Complete as many rounds as you can before time’s up. Rest for 2 days each week.

The Workout

Do the exercises in order. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps for each move. Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Standing Row

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hinge forward and grasp a barbell with an overhand grip. Pull the bar to your shins, torso at a 45 degree angle. Tighten your core, squeeze your shoulder blades, and pull the bar to your chest. Pause. Slowly lower back to the start. That’s one rep.

Eb says: “Don’t just survive the pause at the top of each rep. Think about actively continuing to pull the bar upward. That’ll light up your back.”


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Dumbbell Incline Bench Press

Lie with your back on an adjustable bench set to a 30 degree incline, holding dumbbells directly over your shoulders. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades. Bend at the elbows and shoulders, lowering the dumbbells until they touch the middle of your chest. Press back up. That’s one rep.

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Dumbbell Overhead Press

Sit on a bench holding dumbbells at your shoulders, palms facing each other slightly. Keep your core tight. Press the dumbbells directly overhead, pause, then slowly lower them back to your shoulders. That’s one rep.

Eb says: “Don’t arch your back on these! The moment you start, you know you need to lighten the weight.”


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Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Stand with medium-weight dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. Squeeze your shoulder blades. Curl the right dumbbell up toward your chest, rotating your palm toward your shoulder. Pause, then lower the dumbbell back to the start. Repeat on the other arm. That’s one rep.

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Triceps Pressdown

Stand facing a cable machine with a rope attachment (or a resistance band anchored to a pull-up bar above you). Grasp the handles, keeping your upper arms close to your torso. Press the rope downward until your arms are straight. Squeeze your triceps, then return to the start. That’s one rep.

Eb says: “Avoid leaning your torso forward to create leverage with body position. Make sure your triceps are doing all the work.”

V-Sit Kick-Out

Lie on your back. Tighten your abs, raising your back off the ground, torso at a 45 degree angle. Place your hands on the ground and raise your legs 7-9cm. Keeping your upper body steady, pull your knees to your chest – let them bend as you do. Pause, then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep.


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