5 exercises to help you build a Cobra back

What workout will help you best build a 'V' body?

In 1993, a study by Cambridge University researchers discovered that women find one male body type attractive above all others.

Skinny men didn’t make the cut, pear-shaped bodies were shown the door, and those who had let their waist sizes overtake their chest measurement didn’t even get a look in. Instead, top of the class, came the enviable ‘V’-shaped figure.

Ever since – spurred on by scientific proof of its attractiveness – men have pursued this body shape. And, by exercising your trapezius, latissimus and rhomboid muscles, you can work out, bulk up and build your very own ‘Cobra Back’.

But what exercises will help you on your way to a bigger back?

1. Romanian deadlift

5 exercises to help you build a Cobra back

One of the best exercises to work your back muscles, hold a bar at hip level with your palms facing down. With your shoulders back, your back arched and your knees slightly bent, lower the bar. Keep it as close to your body as possible, with your head looking forward. Done correctly, you should reach the maximum range of your hamstring flexibility. To stand back up, drive your hips forward.

2. Weighted chin-up

5 exercises to help you build a Cobra back

Chin-ups are surefire way to building a big back. So, if you want to build an even bigger back, add weight to the exercise. Weighted chin-ups, for which you should invest in a good quality dip belt, will speed up the muscle building process, and allow you to add as much resistance as you want. Switch between grips to work different muscles

3. Dumbbell shrugs

5 exercises to help you build a Cobra back

Although this is a simple exercise which everyone seems to do, very few people get it right. With a dumbbell in either hand, shrug your shoulders to the highest point they will reach (while keeping your chest and back controlled) and lower, keeping the weights close to your sides. You will often see people rotating their shoulders, or swinging their arms to get more motion in the swing – don’t do this. A simple shrug is all thats needed and will produce the most targeted gains.

4. Lat pulldowns

5 exercises to help you build a Cobra back

When using a machine to engage the latissimus muscles, it is important not to let yourself engage other muscle groups to help. Grab the bar and tilt your head slightly back whilst sitting bolt upright. Pull your elbows toward the ground with your back, not your biceps. As you pull, keep your upper back shifted down to avoid the trapezius muscle jumping in to help. The only parts of your body you should be consciously moving are your elbows. And don’t lean back – as then you’ll start recruiting your rhomboids.

5. Barbell front-raises

5 exercises to help you build a Cobra back

Returning to the barbell, stand and grab the bar with a wide grip. Allow your arms to hang straight down and face your head forward. Contract your abs to give core support and then initiate the exercise by flexing your shoulders and raising the bar straight out in front of you. Ensure your elbows remain extended and your wrists neutral throughout. Lift the barbell just over shoulder height, pause briefly and then lower. Repeat.

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