Add some serious width to your shoulders—and make your waist look leaner—with these three workouts.
Lee Boyce 1 / 16
Build Your 'V'
Suits have changed over the years, but they always strive to achieve one goal: to make the wearer’s shoulders look wider than his waist. The V-shape the lapels form is meant to accentuate the way a well-built man’s upper body tapers, projecting a virile look. Now, you could spend big money getting your suits custom-tailored to achieve this effect—or you could invest a few weeks building the muscles that make your clothes fit well naturally. We’re about to show you how.
How It Works The V-taper is mainly achieved by widening the lats and adding density to the shoulders, which you can do with chinup variations and lateral raises. But to maximize your look in a suit, you have to be aware of not only which muscles to build but also which to ease up on. Thick arms can throw off the fit of the suit, and big quads can cause the pant legs to bunch near the crotch. The answer isn’t to neglect these muscles but just not to isolate them—training them with lifts that work them in conjunction with other muscles leads to more balanced size gains, so you’ll let presses, chinups, and squats train the triceps, biceps, and legs while they offer residual benefits to the shoulders and back.
Directions Perform each workout (Day I, II, and III) once per week, resting a day between each session. Exercises that are marked “A” and “B” are supersets: Complete one set for each in turn without rest in between. Afterward, rest as prescribed. Repeat until all the assigned sets are completed.
T-shirt: THE NORTH FACE Shorts: EDDIE BAUER Sneakers: ASICS Heart-Rate Monitor: POLAR
Sets: 4 Reps: 10 Rest: 0 sec. (Go straight to exercise 2B)
Set a bar in a rack at about hip level and hang from it with your legs extended. Brace your abs and, keeping your body in a straight line, pull yourself up until your back is fully contracted. The shallower your body’s angle, the harder the exercise.
Attach a suspension trainer to a sturdy overhead object and lower the handles to about knee height. Grasp the handles and get into pushup position. Keeping your core tight, perform pushups. Adjust the handle height as needed.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12 Rest: 0 sec. (Go straight to exercise 2B)
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend your hips back and lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. Allow your arms to hang. Row the weights to your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top.
Stand with feet wide and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Bend your hips back and then your knees. Explosively extend your hips and knees and pull the weight straight up in front of your body and “catch” it overhead.
Trading out conventional deadlifts and shrugs for exercises like the one-arm dumbbell snatch will prevent your traps and neck from getting too thick, which can make it impossible to wear a tie!
Grasp the bar with hands at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips. Step back and set your feet at shoulder width with toes turned slightly out. Squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back.
Grasp the bar at shoulder width and take it out of a rack set to hip level. Hold the bar in front of your thighs, pulling it in toward your body. Bend your hips back and lower your torso, allowing your knees to bend as needed, until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
Load a sled and push it. If you don’t have space to go 50 yards, turn around, come back, and repeat until the distance is covered. If you don’t have a sled, do a farmer’s walk: Hold heavy dumbbells and walk as far as you can.