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The 6 Most Effective Shoulder Dumbbell Exercises for V-taper Physique

Guaranteed to attract attention and make a man stand out from the crowd is an enviable V-shaped taper. Starting from wide “boulder” shoulders extending down into “cobra” popping lats and tapering down to a sculpted mid-section and V-cut obliques!  This perception of the perfect physique is not just attractive, but is also the criteria by which most physique and bodybuilding competitions are judged upon – the shoulder to hip ratio. So how do you acquire this physique? And is it just for bodybuilders or guys with perfect genetics that can achieve it? The simple answer is “no”.

Second to a wide cobra back, broad shoulders are the next most important feature of a great V-taper. While being naturally broad-shouldered is a blessing, developing a set of big, round delts will add extra size and definitely make even the narrowest shoulders look much wider!

There are three target muscles that really make your shoulders look wide and big: anterior deltoid (front delts), medial deltoid (middle delts), and posterior deltoid (rear delts). The following workout trains the delts with both laterals and presses to activate each of the three heads for optimum results.

Here is how to develop this part of your body with these six exercises:

1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This compound movement exercise targets your entire shoulder, but different variations provide enough diversity of movement to make your shoulders even bigger. Using a compound movement will help you gain muscle mass, dumbbell shoulder presses hit both your elbows and your shoulders.

How To:

    - Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a bench that has back support.
    - Now raise the dumbbells to shoulder height one at a time using your thighs to help propel them up into position.
    - Make sure to rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing forward.
    - Now, push the dumbbells upward until they touch at the top.
    - After a brief pause at the top contracted position, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position while inhaling.
    - Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


V-Taper Workout description:

1. Hold dumbbells in front of shoulders, palms facing your body.

2. Begin the motion by taking elbows out to the side. Keep raising elbows outward while pressing dumbbells over your head until your arms are straight.

3. Lower arms the same way and repeat.

3. Dumbbell Front Raise

This exercise isolates the anterior deltoid. I would recommend only performing this exercise if your anterior deltoid is underdeveloped in comparison to your other shoulder muscles, although this is highly unlikely due to the anterior deltoids’ great involvement in the bench press and incline bench press.

Training tips:

✓ I suggest performing this exercise using one arm at a time, in order to solely focus the muscle that is being worked.

✓ Keep form strict and use minimum momentum.

1) Choose preferred dumbbell weight and stand upright, tighten torso and position weights at the front of your thighs (palms inwards).

2) The torso should remain strong and, without swinging, raise one side to the front of your body, holding a slight elbow bend (rotate palms towards floor) and keep rising until arm is parallel to the ground. Exhale throughout the movement.

3) After holding the contraction for a moment, inhale and begin to slowly lower the weight back to the thigh.

4) Alternate and complete with the right arm.

4. Dumbbell Shrugs

Dumbbell shrugs are focused on your trapezoid muscles. Shrugs and upright rows are the best way to build impressive trapezoids, but puts some pressure on your shoulder caps.

How To:

    - Stand with a dumbbell on each hand (palms facing your torso), arms extended on the sides.
    - Lift the dumbbells by elevating the shoulders as high as possible while you exhale. Hold the contraction at the top for a second.
    - Lower the dumbbells back to the original position.
    - Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


V-Taper Workout description:

1. Starting standing and lean forward to take a neutral grip with dumbbells down by the side, keep your feet hip width apart whilst pressing into the floor.

2. Laterally raise dumbbells (no jerking) keeping a very slight elbow bend until dumbbells reach level with ear height (parallel to the floor) slight pause.

3. Lower back down to starting position re-engaging lift immediately as you hit the starting position (no jerking or swinging)

6. Dumbbell Bent-Over Lateral Raise

This exercise targets the posterior head of the deltoids. This muscle is often the weakest and underdeveloped in most people, so dedicating a lot of sets in your workout is key to achieving sufficient development.


1) Pick up preferred dumbbell weight and position yourself in an almost early squatting position (see image above).

2) Keeping a tight torso, bend slightly at the hips, stretching the hamstrings, so your body is nearly parallel to the ground.

3) Raise the dumbbells in a reverse-fly motion; squeezing the scapula together at the end of the motion. Exhale during the movement.

4) Inhale and lower the weights slowly in a controlled manner. Repeat allocated/preferred repetitions.