The shoulders are definitely one of the most impressive body parts in the human body. Whether you want to look jacked on the street or step onto a bodybuilding stage, wide shoulders are definitely a must have for giving you that width and that V-shape that all the superheroes have and most people would die for.
What exactly are capped delts?
People all over the internet have different definitions of what capped delts are, but from my understanding they are when you put both of your hands to the sides of your legs while relaxing your shoulders and if you are able to clearly see the side deltoid of your shoulders just stick out without even trying then you have the “capped delt look”. I don’t know exactly how many inches or centimeters the side delt has to pop out for it to be considered a capped delt but it has to be noticeable to a certain degree.
Now, don’t get the capped delt look confused with 3D delts because while there could be some overlap between the two, they are still different things. 3D delts are basically shoulders that are developed from every angle imaginable with crazy veins and striations all over the place.
I don’t like to pull out the genetic speeches but genetics are going to dictate if you are going to be able to achieve the capped delt look or not, sorry. If you were born with extremely narrow shoulders and they still look narrow after years of training then you most likely won’t get capped delts. If you were blessed in the shoulder department like people such as Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook (I’ve been watching a bit of NBA) and people like that then you have a way bigger chance of achieving that look because you have a head start. Not only do they have a good head start, but some people with good shoulder genetics get bigger shoulders even when they don’t even do any dedicated work for them. These people may be a very small portion of the population, but there are many genetic freaks out there, genetics are probably one of the most important things in bodybuilding and they are what separates the great from the good. If you take someone with great shoulder genetics who doesn’t even train their shoulders then imagine how they would look when they actually do train them properly.
If you look at the photo above, he had wide shoulders at the age of 15. You could take someone with narrow shoulders and have them do years and years of dedicated shoulder work and he probably won’t even have bigger shoulders than someone with good shoulder genetics who doesn’t even train shoulders that hard. God might say that we are all born equally, but we are not as far as genetics are concerned.
Can you still achieve good looking shoulders with bad genetics but solid nutrition and training? It depends on what you consider bad genetics and what you consider good looking shoulders, but one thing is for sure, you can definitely bring up your shoulders and make them look better than they do now!
Now that we got #1 out of the way, let’s talk about hard work. Genetics are important, but if you don’t work hard then your results will never be optimal. If you want to achieve a certain look then you will have to bust your ass. The combination of hard work and genetics will take you far.
Genetics and hard work will take you far, but if you are only working hard and aren’t working smart at the same time then the results won’t be optimal. For the capped delt look you will NEED intelligent programming and a lot of shoulder specialization work. First off, what really pisses me off is that some people complain about their shoulder development but they don’t even invest that much time into training them. Don’t complain about the results if you aren’t putting in the work. When trying to develop bigger shoulders and the capped look, you must develop all 3 heads to really create that illusion. The side delt is what we want to pop out, but working the rear delts extremely hard will make your side delt pop out even more, give you better posture and make your shoulders look a lot better from all angles. While the front delt gets a lot of work from benching, overhead pressing and push-ups, you could (and should) still throw in a few sets of front raises to really develop that area even more. Furthermore, you want to be doing a lot of side delt dedicated work with bands, dumbbells or cables with different variations to really hit that side delt from different angles and get it to grow.
I must add on that doing raises in different directions when you’re a beginner and still haven’t built a strong strength base is pretty much a waste of time. I built up my shoulder press for about 3 years and it is only in 2015 that I started doing a bit of isolation work for my shoulders but not a lot. Get your shoulder press to your bodyweight for a set of 10 which means that if you weigh 200lb then get your shoulder press to 200lb for 10 reps standing or seated and then tell me how your shoulders look. Am I there yet? Not at all, but that’s good because that means that there’s room for progress.
Most people put so much emphasis on the bench press and get a decent chest but then they complain about having small shoulders. If you want a big body part then you have to make it a priority. Do your shoulder pressing the first day of the week and make that your bench press.
In the early 1900’s, people such as Eugene Sandow and Arthur Saxon did a lot of vertical pressing work because the bench press wasn’t popular back then and most of the lifts were done standing. People back then may have not had the biggest pecs but they had some pretty strong and developed shoulders.
Now that we have genetics, hard work and intelligent programming out of the way, we will need consistency. Consistency is important because you have to commit to something if you want results in the long run. It’s just like the famous quote; “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. You will need to be consistent with your hard work and intelligent programming. Be consistent with getting proper nutrition to fuel you for your workouts and body composition because obviously if you are fat then your shoulders won’t look as good as if you are below 12%. You will also need adequate rest to be fully recovered for the hard work you are going to be putting in.
Now that we have the genetic factor, hard work. intelligent programming and consistency, the only thing now is to be patient. Don’t be that person who does a shoulder specialization program for 6 weeks and then gives up. It takes years and years but enjoying the journey makes it a lot easier. Measure your shoulder width every 3 months, get serious about setting little goals and after a good 5-10 years of serious training all of those little details will add up to create the big picture.
If you aren’t genetically gifted in the shoulder department then you might never achieve this look. If you are genetically gifted and you follow all of the tips above then you have a much higher chance, but it’s not guaranteed either. You most likely won’t get the same cap as Dan Green but who’s to say that you can’t attain side delts that stick out a bit less than his? Some people underestimate what you can achieve because they are too lazy to put in the work. At the end of the day you can only do the best with the cards that you have been dealt with. Don’t look for the easy way out, you only get what you put in.