The Best Exercises for Building 3D Delts

Big arms are cool. A big chest is nice. But without a nice set of delts to bridge the gap, it’s all for nothing. You’ve gotta love the glamour muscles. Your chest, biceps, and triceps may get a lot of love in the gym, but don’t be fooled; your shoulders deserve some attention, too. In this article, you’ll find out which exercises will build your shoulders to maximum capacity.

Your shoulders are the frame of your body. If you’re shoulders are sloppy, then your frame is lacking. If your frame is in rough shape, your body–the picture within the frame–is being poorly represented. Now, when it comes to shoulders, there’s so many variations of exercises that it’s hard to zero in on the portion of the shoulder that you’re looking to build. If you’re looking to grow the deltoid area of your shoulder–the cap that sits right at the top your arm–you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to go through some of the best exercises to grow massive delts, hitting them from all angles with different rep ranges and weights. Strap in for some serious shoulder shredding.

Any workout or exercise with “Arnold” in it is sure to produce results, and this one is no different. The Arnold Press is a variation on the traditional dumbbell press, attacking the shoulders in a unique way at the bottom of each rep. Start this move with two dumbbells sitting directly below your chin, with your wrists and palms rotated inward facing you. As you move the dumbbells to the top of this shoulder press variation, rotate your wrists so that you finish with the dumbbells facing the same way they would at the end of a regular shoulder press movement. As you lower the weights back to the bottom to begin your next rep, rotate your wrists back towards you and place the dumbbells back beneath your chin.

For this move, you may want to choose a weight that is 5-10 pounds lighter than you normally use for a traditional shoulder press. It doesn’t seem like it will be that different on paper, but the lower end of the movement will burn your delts in a way that you’ve likely never experienced. Make this exercise a priority in your next shoulder workout and you’ll see results sooner than you think.

Finding a window of time with the both cables open may be a rarity in your gym, but be patient; this exercise is worth the wait. Begin with cables on both sides at the highest peg and without handles. Grab the cable on the left with your right hand and the cable on the right with your left hand. Once you’ve settled with cables in each hand, pull across your chest in both directions, keeping your arms straight, and make the cables cross in front of you. Pull with your arms straight until your body forms a ‘T’ shape. Pause there before returning to center for the next rep.

This exercise hits your back and shoulders in a unique way, causing an awesome pump after just a few reps. It mainly targets your rear deltoids, so you can be sure to see some growth and definition on the backside of your shoulders after implementing this game-changer into your routine.

One quick tip: favor a lower weight with strict, controlled reps over raising your weight and having poor form. You’ll only get the benefits you’re looking for if you execute this thing to the ‘T’, pun very much intended.

This one’s a classic and for good reason: it works. Start with dumbbells at your side, then, while controlling the weight, lift your arms out and to the side with a slight bend in the elbow. For an extra shot of pump fired at your delts, turn your thumbs down at the peak of your rep. This small change to the traditional lateral raise will have the caps of your shoulders on fire.

As with the previous movements, don’t let your ego tell you that you need to lift serious weight on this exercise. With correct form and control, this exercise will produce big results. Don’t hurt yourself or sacrifice your form for a bigger weight.

Time for some advanced class information. The last few exercises isolated a part of your shoulder, specifically your front or back deltoids. This exercise will hit them all and in a big way.

The barbell clean and press is an Olympic lift that’s been performed for centuries. Some men can do this move more than 500 pounds on the barbell, but you can still get some incredible results for your shoulders with far less.

Start this exercise with the barbell resting against your thighs while in a standing position. From here you will make two moves; one to bring the barbell to your shoulders, then one to press the barbell to the sky. To bring the barbell up to your shoulders, create a small bend in the knee and bend over just slightly. From this position, pull the bar up, shoot your elbows forward while turning your wrists outward as the bar raises. Once the bar rests on your collarbone or shoulder area, press it directly above your head and lock your elbows to complete your first rep. Keep your core tight as you lower the bar back down to your shoulders and eventually back to the starting position.

The magic is made in both movements of this exercise. When pulling the bar upward from the starting position you are working your side and front deltoids. Then, as you press the barbell above your head, you are engaging all three sides of your delts. The constant and consistent work done by the shoulders will build your shoulders faster than any other shoulder exercise.

Your body needs a proper frame, and these exercises will provide one that you can be proud of. They will grow your shoulders to help fill out your shirts and suits, but will also define the area so you’ll look great with no shirt on at all. You asked for 3D delts; these exercises will give you that and much more. Get to work!

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.