Can You Get Massive 3D ”Capped” Shoulders Naturally?

| by Truth Seeker |

3D ”capped delts” are one of the characteristics defining modern fitness models. Those guys give extra attention to this body part because the union between a small waist and cannon shoulders results in an extraordinary V-taper.

Physique wise, the goal of the modern fitness models is to recreate the so-called classic look – a small waist coupled with a wide back and three-dimensional shoulders. This combination results in a freaky appearance in comparison to the average person on the street that has a reverse V-taper acquired through an accumulation of fat cells. Thus, a pronounced V-taper is a way of saying ”I lift. Come at me, bro!”.

The question is – can you get those otherworldly 3D deltoids without using drugs that destroy your endocrine system and age your face?


Many people in the gym spend an enormous amount of time doing lateral raises, hoping to achieve deltoid greatness. Those poor souls get a massive pump through drop sets (as advised by Scooby) and think that 3D delts are just around the corner, but the corner never ends.

To acquire ”capped delts”, you need to develop the side deltoid which is a really small muscle consisting of 2/3 slow twitch fibers. This basically means that the sucker was not built for hypertrophy in the first place.

Besides, many compound exercises like the overhead press and the handstand push-up work the muscle in a hardcore fashion. Therefore, if you are doing similar exercises, you don’t really benefit that much from lateral raises with pink dumbbells. The burn that you feel means nothing as far as muscle growth is concerned. Nothing.

The best overall direct shoulder exercise is still the standing overhead barbell press. If you do the movement correctly and flare your elbows a little during the middle phase, it will hit the middle deltoids hard. Many people claim that the overhead press is only a front deltoid exercise because their form sucks and turn the movement into a standing incline bench press. This way the front deltoids end up doing even more work.

In general, all variations of the overhead press are fine as long as you can do them without pain. However, I think that the classic standing version has a few benefits that are hard to overlook:

  • less stress on the lower back in comparison to everything seated
  • teaches you how to brace your core
  • more athletic than the seated version
  • no need to develop advanced skills like hand balancing

Can the overhead press build 3D deltoids?

My answer would be yes. The overhead press will get you to your deltoid potential. I consider all other shoulder exercises copies and fillers. The overhead press is the king of shoulder training, at least for me.

The Indirect Approach

Since the shoulder is a small muscle group, which works during most upper body exercises, you can get decent results without ever doing a dedicated shoulder exercise – not even the overhead press.

Pushing movements such as the bench press, dips and push-ups will take care of the front deltoids while the rear delts will get murdered during back training (especially rows and weighted chin-ups).

This is a legit way to train, but If the shoulder girdle is a mania of yours, it would be better to do more focused exercises too. Also, this method works the side delts even less.

Conclusion: You can build decent shoulders with overhead presses, pushing exercises and back training naturally. A good example would be Eugen Sandow. During his era, overhead pressing was the thing, and he did a lot of it. His shoulders look pretty round to me.


Eugen Sandow

Having said that, forget about getting the 3D capped delts of modern fitness models regardless of the exercises you are doing. Those are something else.

The bodybuilders and fitness models of today have unusually capped shoulders that look like XXL cannons. How did they build those? With the help of new muscle elixirs.

According to many, the drugs that made the modern shoulder look possible are Equipoise, Masteron and Trenbolone. The last one (tren) is the steroid responsible for the appearance of the aesthetic YOLO (you only live once) kids like Zyzz.

Those muscle elixirs come with heavy side effects, but the muscle addicts love the look that the drugs provide and try to persevere through the dark times.

For those wondering, here are the “nice” things that you can expect from Trenbolone:

Heavy breathing (feeling of breathlessness)
Elevated body temperature and night sweats
Production of dark colored urine
Insomnia and nightmares
Erectile dysfunction
Reduction in appetite

and more

I personally don’t see a real value in making your life a living hell just to look more muscular. I could understand a similar choice if we were talking about life or death situations, but this is not the case. Most steroid users make a conscious choice to start pinning. Nobody but their own ego forces them to do it.


If you think that you can get the shoulders of Dana Linn Bailey through lateral raises, you must be a 3rd grader.

Another evidence revealing the effect of drugs on shoulder size and appearance is given to us by women who compete as bodybuilders and fitness models. Some of them have shoulders that would make guys from the early days of bodybuilding look like malnourished babies.

Final thoughts

There are no secret shoulder routines. The best approach is to just select a few compound exercises and progress with the use of training cycles. Everything else has the value of a pointless Christmas present – it looks nice under the tree, but at the end of the day, doesn’t take you anywhere.

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  1. alpha1

    Round capped shoulders and Hulk like traps are dead giveaways of a steroid junky.

    1. Mindy

      I’m super natty and I’ve always had fast-growing delts much larger than my other muscle groups. My girlfriends can’t seem to grow shoulders like mine to save their life. One of my girlfriends is similar to me in that her shoulders are her fastest growing muscle group. Part of me wonders if it is because I do full-range of motion in my shoulder exrevises while my friends stop their shoulder press with arms at 90 degrees. I also wonder if it is just body mechanics – I am a T-Rex because my upper arms are freakishly short. I have long forarms and short upper with short biceps. Perhaps this affects which muscles take over during my exercises. I have also been boxing for 7 years and my jab arm shoulder has always been larger than my other. So this year I started southpaw jabbing more often and my smaller shoulder grew lightening fast. I don’t disagree that large delts are usually from drugs but some people just have a muscle group that grows effortlessly

      1. dadsdsadsadsads

        “One of my girlfriends” – a gymrat always has to do that subtle by-the-way-i’m-better-than-you brag, doesn’t he? Pathetic.

        1. Hehehuhu

          Pretty sure Mindy is a girl

    2. MissFit67

      Agree 100%. Especially females. PEDs love delts & traps in females.

  2. Derp

    Maybe, someday in the far future, when people tire of the over-exaggerated and alien bodies of today’s scene, bodybuilding will be reclaimed by true natties. Kind of like how hipsters shun the contemporary and scavenge for the vintage. Every once in a while we go full circle and make “a return to the roots.” It just has to be marketed.
    Sandow had such a great and attainable physique for his time, it’s still impressive to this day.

    1. LOL

      That’s a pretty fucking funny sentence.

  3. Mahesh

    What about them Olymnpic male gymnasts?
    They have big round delts.

  4. Lowcarb

    Just stumbled upon this page. Like it a lot

  5. Andrew Levesque

    Hey there! Just want to weigh in here. By no means am I a professional, but I have been at this for around 3 years. I am what is reffered to as blessed with genetics. I barely do any shoulders (couple workouts for each section a week) I take no protein supplements, no roids, no special diet, just creatine on small bouts at a time. My shoulders are massive, my back is wide with a natural V and my triceps are incredible. My chest, Biceps, and core however require constant advancment as I suffer in these areas. This is normal. Genetics are different for everyone, while I could have almost perfect shoulders to me its gross if it is unbalanced. If someone is overall perfect in every area that is a dead give away. While I focus on my weaknesses they will never become enough of a strength to not focus on them. So do not be discouraged if you do not have a “perfect” shoulder or the peakist Bicep. Treasure your strengths and be the best you can be!

    1. tyran

      Fuck off kid. I am sure you are just some delusional fuck . Listen kid, you can not have a decent body without proper nutrition , I mean what does your body use to build your ” amazing shouldera”…I am sure it uses genetics right….FUCK NO, it uses protein. Oh, and when you say that you do not use protein supplements, you make it as if it is some magical drug… when all it does is just provide the protein you need easily . Oh, and creatine is much potent supplement since you can not get the amounts that you take right now from food, since you would need to eat like 1kg of meat , tune etc.

  6. Kumar

    I like your poetry! Truth in prose, what a poise, brother!

  7. Joe Lauricella

    Some guys with good genetics like myself can build big 3D delts and traps with no steroids.

  8. stef

    deltois are nos small muscle group in total volume

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