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.
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
Reduction in appetite
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.
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.
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.