Article last updated: May 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
I often get emails from guys who have wide hip bones and narrow shoulders.
They ask me if they will ever be able to build a V-tapered physique, or if they won’t make it because of their natural proportions.
I can relate to that problem and now I’ll give you my answer:
YES, you can build a V-tapered physique regardless of how bad your starting proportions are.
You just need to add enough mass to the shoulders while keeping your waist and hips as lean as you can.
I personally added about 12 inches (30 CM) to my shoulder circumference while decreasing my waist size with over 7 inches (18 CM).
Here’s how that looks in reality:
Naturally without any training, I have very wide hip bones and lower waist bones – similar to the structure of a female body.
In, addition, I have tiny shoulders that don’t respond well to training. (The before photo was actually taken after many months of hard and heavy training).
In my new photo, my hips are still wide as hell.
At 6’2″ height, my hips are almost 42″ (105 CM) in circumference which is much wider than almost any other guy I met who’s at my height.
I always had problems getting jeans because of my big hips and while it’s easier now, it’s still difficult.
If you struggle with wide hips and a wide waist, here are my 3 best tips to help you improve your proportions.
(1) Don’t make the mistake of doing endless sets for your abs, obliques and traps
The abs, obliques and lower back are a muscle just like any other muscle in your body.
When you train them, they grow and make your waist bigger.
This is especially the case with weighted low rep training which adds a lot of size to your core.
Every inch you add to your core takes away from building an aesthetic V-tapered physique, so you don’t want to overdevelop the core with endless crunches, sit ups and leg raises!
With that said, you do want to do a small amount of strategic ab work just to build them up to the point where you can see a bit of definition when you’re lean.
A few light sets of leg raises, planks or crunches after each training session will do for most people.
Similarly, you also want to avoid training the traps they grow vertically close to your delts.
This means it makes you look more narrow which is the last thing you want when you have naturally narrow shoulders.
I would only include trap work if you’re a guy who has naturally wide shoulders because then you can get away with adding some size to the traps without negatively affecting your proportions.
2) The 4 muscles you want to develop for the V-tapered physique
There are 4 muscles you want to develop to maximise width:
- Lats: The wing muscles located under your arm-pits. They are the easiest way to add shoulder width fast because they are a much larger muscle group than the shoulders!
- Shoulders (front, rear, and medial): When you consistently train all 3 shoulders with isolation exercises to fully develop them. This will give the shoulders a round, capped look and make you look wider.
- Upper chest: When you grow the outer part of the upper chest, it makes your torso look wider.
- Lateral triceps: When the lateral triceps get big enough, they will pop out to the sides and add width to your physique.
Every inch you add to these muscles will help you build that V-tapered physique so train them hard and train them often.
If I had to choose just one exercise to add width, it would be any variation of the chin up because it can be done anywhere at any time and it’s a phenomenal exercise for building up your lats.
3) Lose excess body-fat around the waist and hips
Finally, you want to lose the chub around the waist and hips.
Every inch you lose around the waist and hips improves your ratio between the shoulders and waist/hips.
The best way to lose body-fat is through a sustainable fat loss diet plan that includes regular, satiating meals that keep you light, satiated and energised throughout the fat loss process.
And if you want to speed up results, adding some light cardio such as walking on an incline treadmill, biking or doing the elliptical machine will help as well.
When you combine losing a few inches on the hips and waist with adding a few inches on the shoulders, it quickly adds up!