Build A V-Shaped Body
Your Goal: The Illustrious V
Your Time: 30 Minutes
Even if you’re unfamiliar with unilateral training, you practice it every day. Any movement in which your arms or legs function independently – even walking – is unilateral. Certain single-arm or single-leg exercises, such as the single-arm bench press, require a great deal of balance and thus limit the amount of weight you can lift. Others, like most of the moves in this workout, help you lift more by focusing your strength on one limb.
“Think of it this way: If you were to perform a row using two arms, you might grab a pair of 14kg (30 pounds) dumbbells. But use just one arm and you could probably handle a 23kg (50 pounds) weight,” says strength and conditioning coach Robert Dos Remedios. This workout includes a mix of single-arm and traditional two-arm exercises to help you pack on muscle and eliminate imbalances. The benefit, says Dos Remedios, is that you’ll build a more balanced body in strength and appearance. You’ll train three days a week, resting at least a day between workouts and alternating between Workout A and Workout B. Refer to the set and repetition protocols pictured at right, and remember to rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.
How Do You Measure Up?
Don’t be discouraged if your body shape initially looks more like the letter “I” than like a “V” – the average guy’s back-to-waist ratio is 1:1.
To measure the width of your upper back and waist, stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Ask a friend or workout partner to wrap a measuring tape around your body at the outer edges of your shoulder blades, just under your armpits. This measures your back width. Measure your waist by wrapping the tape around you so it rests at the top of each hip bone.
Track Your Progress?
Record your measurements in the chart below. Then follow this workout and re-measure
yourself every 2 weeks.
1. Side-To-Side Pull-Up
Grab a chin-up bar with an overhand grip, your hands wider than shoulder width. Pull yourself up and to the right with the goal of bringing your chin to your right hand. Lower yourself. Next, pull yourself up and towards your left hand, then lower yourself.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 5 reps with each arm in weeks 1 and 3. In weeks 2 and 4, perform 5 sets of 3 reps with each arm. If you can’t complete all the reps, place a step or bench under the bar so you can step up to the bar and complete the negative, or downward,portion of each rep.
Workout A (cont'd)
2. Dumbbell Single-Arm Row
Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand and knee on a bench. Your right arm should be straight and hang just in front of your shoulder. Keeping your back fl at and your right elbow close to your body, pull the dumbbell up and back towards your hip. Pause, then slowly lower the weight.
The plan: Perform 4 sets of 10 reps with each arm in weeks 1 and 3. Do 4 sets of 5 reps with each arm in weeks 2 and 4.
3. Push Press
Stand with a light barbell across the front of your shoulders, your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your elbows pointed straight ahead. Bend at the hips and knees to descend about 12cm, then quickly rise back up and explosively push the weight overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower the weight to the starting position.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 8 reps in weeks 1 and 3. Perform 4 sets of 5 reps in weeks 2 and 4.
4. Dumbbell Corkscrew To Single-Arm Cuban Press
Stand holding a dumbbell in your right hand. As you squat, rotate your torso to the left and reach behind your left leg with your right hand. Push back up, twisting your torso to the right and bending your right arm 90 degrees. Leading with your elbow, lift your arm until you’re standing and your elbow is in line with your shoulder. Now rotate the weight up until your forearm is vertical, then press the weight overhead. Return to the starting position.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 8 reps with each arm in weeks 1 and 3. Perform 4 sets of 6 reps with each arm in weeks 2 and 4.
1. Cable Single-Arm Pulldown
Attach a stirrup handle to the cable of a lat pull-down machine. Grab the handle with your right hand so your palm faces left and sit on the seat. Keeping your back straight, pull the handle down to the right side of your chest. Resist the weight back to the starting position.
The plan: Perform 4 sets of 10 reps with each arm in weeks 1 and 3. Do 4 sets of 6 reps in weeks 2 and 4.
2. Seated Row To Chin
Attach a lat pull-down bar to the cable of a cable-row station. Sit on the bench and bend forward at the waist to grab the bar with a wide grip. Keeping your back straight, pull the bar inward and upward towards your chin. Resist the weight as it pulls your arms back out in front of you.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 10 reps in weeks 1 and 3. Perform 4 sets of 6 reps in weeks 2 and 4.
3. Single-Arm Leaning Shoulder Raise
Stand with your right side towards a squat rack or a sturdy machine. Hold a light dumbbell in your left hand and grab the rack with your right hand. Lean to the left as far as you can. From here, raise your left arm in front of you. Pause when it’s parallel to the floor, then lower your arm. Next, raise your arm out to your side until it’s parallel to the floor, then lower it. That’s 1 rep.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 10 reps with each arm in weeks 1 and 3. Perform 4 sets of 6 reps in weeks 2 and 4.
4. Side-Bridge Reach
Holding a light weight in your right hand, lie on your left side with your feet stacked. Bend your left elbow 90 degrees and prop yourself up so that only your forearm and left shoe touch the fl oor and your body is straight. Extend your right arm. Now bring the eight down and under you, reaching with your arm until the weight is behind you and you face the floor. Reverse the motion to the starting position.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 10 reps in weeks 1 and 3. Perform 4 sets of 5 reps in weeks 2 and 4.
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