The Chest and Back Workout For a V-Shaped Torso

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An abs regime is all very well, but if it’s the perfect V-shaped torso to hang your favourite suit off that you’re after, then your shoulders and pecs need some attention soo.

“If you’re looking to add mass quickly, multi-angular tri-sets are a great way to build muscle,” says fitness transformation specialist Rich Phillipps, this plan’s creator. “Focusing on your back, shoulders, chest and arms will add the necessary width for that desirable V-shaped torso, so you’ll be ready to impress at your next formal occasion.”

How it works

A strong V-shape torso is built on three training pillars: time under tension, high volume and maximum recruitment of muscle fibres. Tri-sets, where you do three exercises back to back with minimal rest, deliver all three. “This workout uses a wide variety of exercises, rep ranges and tempos to hit your upper body muscles from every angle,” says Phillipps. The result will be a body that Greek tailors would dream of fitting – or at least one that turns a few heads in black tie.

The Workout

Do five sets, resting 2-3 minutes between each tri-set.

1 Dumbbell incline bench press

Reps 10 Tempo 3010

Lie on a bench set at a 45° angle, holding dumbbells at chest height. Powerfully press the dumbbells straight overhead. Gently touch them together before lowering slowly, then repeat.

Dumbbell bench press

Reps 6 Tempo 4010

Lie on a flat bench holding dumbbells with an overhand grip either side of your chest. Drive your feet hard into the floor to generate more power and press the weights straight up. Lower them slowly back to the start position.

Dumbbell flye

Reps 12 each side Tempo 2220

Lie on a flat bench holding light dumbbells to either side with your arms slightly bent. Bring the weights above your chest, keeping the bend in your arms and pressing them hard together, then lower to the start.


Reps 8 Tempo 3010

Grasp a bar with an overhand grip so your palms are facing away from you and your hands are double shoulder-width apart. Contract your upper back muscles to help pull your torso towards the bar. When your chin is above it, lower under control.

5 Wide-grip bent-over row

Reps 8 Tempo 4010

Holding the bar with an overhand grip double shoulder-width apart, bend your knees a little and hinge forward from the hips. Keep your back slightly concave and your shoulder blades back throughout. Pull the weight up to your lower sternum, then lower slowly.

Single-arm row

 12 Tempo 3010

Support your knee on the bench, planting the other leg wide for balance. Keep a natural arch in your back and your core braced. Keeping your elbow tucked in, lift the weight to the side of your chest then lower slowly. Complete all reps on one side, then the other.

Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.