By Jeff Vrabel for GQ.
Look at this picture of Cristiano Ronaldo.
In this picture of Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo has a great many impressive muscles. Especially the ones semi-mysteriously emerging from beneath his arms.
Those are highly developed latissimus dorsi muscles (or lats), though depending on how often you frequent a gym, you may know them by a fiercer, more militaristic name: cobra back. (They're also called "wings," but cobra back is significantly more evocative.) "When people talk about getting the V-shape torso, lats give you that V shape," says Prince Brathwaite, CEO and founder of NYC's Trooper Fitness. "It's one of the major muscles guys want to work."
You do not have cobra back because you are not Cristiano Ronaldo. Luckily, lat exercises are rather straightforward. Here's how to achieve your very own cobra back:
1. Pull-ups. "Start off with pull-ups or chin-ups," says Carlos Frias, an L.A.-area trainer. For pull-ups, place your hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width, with your palms facing out. (This is the overhand or prone version.)
2. Chin-ups. Same concept, palms in. (This is underhand.) "This way's more of a combination between your lats and biceps," Brathwaite says.
3. Hit the lat pull-down machine. The wider you grip the bar, the more you'll engage the muscles. Use a wide overhand grip to target the lats specifically, and bring the bar all the way down to your chest. Alternately, hit up the assisted pull-up machine, where you'll also want your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Frias says you'll get best results if you pull your shoulder blades together and imagine pulling your elbows into your ribs.
In all three exercises, push yourself to almost failure. Focus. Concentrate. Steel yourself. Like the cobra.
See Cristiano Ronaldo's entire GQ cover shoot here: Proof Cristiano Ronaldo Has Mankind's Greatest Body.
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