7 Part Mutant Mark Sandor Workout Series: V-Taper Back Workout

v-taper back lat pulldown

Mark Sandor shares the movement to give you that sought-after V-taper back. 

Achieving the coveted V-taper look requires more than just a regular fitness routine. To stand out from the crowd and create that impressive shoulder-to-waist ratio, lifters must dedicate themselves to an intense workout plan focused on sculpting muscle definition and symmetry. For those willing to put in the hard work, it’s worth it to gain male bodybuilder status — with those defined pecs, bulging biceps, washboard abs — and of course, that iconic taper!

The iconic V-taper look means a broad upper back, traps, and shoulders leading to a narrower waist. This creates that V-shape, and exercising to get this figure involves building boulder shoulders, widening your lats, and trimming your waistline. In addition, building a good V-taper means strengthening your back and improving your performance.

As part of his recent Mutant Nation full-body workout series, Mark Sandor shared his favorite exercise for building a strong V-Taper — the wide grip cable pulldown. In addition, he discussed how to do this workout effectively for the best gains. Below are some details that every gym-goer should know about doing a wide grip cable pulldown, alongside helpful tips from Mark Sandor.

Wide Grip Cable Pulldown for a V-Taper Back

@mutantnation There’s always room for improvement! 👌🏽And it’s on the details. 😉 Mastering the wide grip cable pulldown will help you achieve that enviable V taper. 💪🏽 #BackDay #TrainingTips #WorkoutTips #BackExercises #FitTok ♬ original sound – MUTANT Nation – Supplements ☣️

The wide grip cable pulldown is a great exercise that works your lats and helps to sculpt that perfect V-taper back. Mark Sandor says, “A wide grip cable pulldown is one of the best exercises for building that V-taper.” This exercise engages many muscles but primarily targets the lats because of the wide grip (1).

Another way the wide grip cable pulldown isolates the lats is using a pronated grip (palms facing down). The study above shows that hand orientation is more critical than grip width.  

“It is more optimal to grab it a little bit narrower than to go super wide with it. So grab it right past the angle, and you’re gonna put your thumbs over the top instead of going under. This is gonna help you feel it in your lats more,” said Mark Sandor.

How to Perform The Wide Grip Cable Pulldown for a V-Taper Back

This routine is also known as the wide grip lat pull down and is done with a cable machine and your wide grip cable bar while seated. Your form and technique must be proper during the reps to get the best results. To start, attach the cable bar and sit facing it with your feet at 90 degrees firmly planted on the floor and your thighs locked in place on the padding of the machine below. 

Grab the bar with the pronated grip, then stick your chest out and brace your core while keeping your back straight. Slightly lean back and then pull the cable bar towards your upper chest just below your collarbone. 

Hold the bar briefly when you get down and squeeze your lats to engage them further. Then, slowly return the bar to your starting position and repeat for your desired number of reps.

Mistakes to Avoid When Doing The Wide Grip Cable Pulldown

The number one mistake many people make when doing this routine is leaning back too far. This almost turns the exercise into an upright barbell row different from what you’re going for. You only need to lean back so the bar can pass without hitting your head. 

“Pull down and try and put your elbows into your back pocket. You’re gonna slightly lean back as you begin to pull it down and pull the bar to your chest.”

You should avoid using too much weight for this movement. This could lead to you using momentum to do your pulls; you’ll find yourself rocking back and forth to compensate. Doing this will not help you work your lats and maximize those gains. A little momentum can allow you to use heavy weight and extend the lats more; however, too much swaying risks injury and takes the tension off the lats. 

Finally, letting the bar bounce off your chest when you get down doesn’t correctly activate your lats. Pulling the bar too quickly causes this, and your workout needs to be controlled and smooth for results. According to Mark Sandor, you should:

“Stick your chest out as you bring the bar back down. And that’s really all it takes to do a wide grip cable pulldown properly.”

Wide Grip Cable Pulldown Muscles Worked

v-taper back muscles

Cable pulldowns work on many muscles in the back, with an emphasis on the outer back muscles. And it also engages the biceps and abs. Any shoulder and elbow flexion adduction muscle targets these muscles, like wide-grip cable pulldowns. 

The primary muscles affected by wide grip cable pulldowns are the lats. These are the broadest muscles in your upper body, covering practically all of your back, and when built, can be viewed from the front. Therefore, it’s an essential muscle for bodybuilders during front and rear poses.

Lats belong to the group of superficial extrinsic back muscles, which are associated with arm movement. This is why pulling the wide grip cable pulldown is very effective for your lats.

Other muscles in that group, like the traps, the rhomboids, and the levator scapula, are also affected. So doing this routine helps to build a back that is more robust and also improves your posture. Wide grip cable pulldowns also help to reduce back pain by stabilizing your lower back. 


Mark Sandor certainly has a great physique, but keep in mind that lifting is only part of growing. Another huge part is diet and supplementation. What is a good supplement to help pack on the muscle?

ENHANCED GAINER SUPPLEMENT. Mutant’s most popular weight gainer supplement that is packed with BCAAs/EAAs and waxy maize to help with growth and bulking.

MUTANT MASS is one muscle building product that we can stand by. Unlike many other mass gainers, MUTANT MASS is not filled with junk ingredients. It is a clean mass gainer to help you pack on the quality size, great for a post workout shake!


Getting the coveted V-taper back physique is made possible by doing wide grip cable pulldowns, an exercise recommended by fitness expert Mark Sandor. Giving your lats definition and breadth, this variation of the routine works not just to shape a wide upper body and narrow waist but also to build strength in your upper body muscles used for posture and power.

So make sure to add more tips from Mark Sandor on effective bicep workouts into your fitness plan if you want bigger arms with an enviable muscular definition!

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  1. Andersen, V., Fimland, M. S., Wiik, E., Skoglund, A., & Saeterbakken, A. H. (2014). Effects of grip width on muscle strength and activation in the lat pull-down. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 28(4), 1135–1142. https://doi.org/10.1097/JSC.0000000000000232 
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.