No matter what you call ‘em — shoulder caps, boulders, cannonballs, even coconuts (if you’re feeling a little risqué) — the shoulders are the black sheep of the upper body.
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They earn a nice residual pump as you crank out incline bench presses and cable rows. But by the time you load the bar for military presses, those delicate deltoids are already destroyed.
Fight through the fatigue in the name of volume — risk overtraining or injury.
Sideline the delts altogether — never achieve bulky shoulders and that glorious V-taper.
Welcome, the newest addition to your current mass-building split … Josh England’s Cannonball Delts: The Ultimate 12 Week Shoulder Building Program.
Check out this aesthetic shoulder workout for mass (and pure deltoid destruction)!
About the Creator – Josh England
You might not know him by name. But if you’ve ever attempted a routine advertised on Muscle & Strength, you might have Josh England to thank for some of your previous gains!
Meet the mysterious Josh England.
He’s a NASM certified personal trainer with additional expertise in women’s health and fitness nutrition. England’s also the mastermind behind some of the hottest workout routines online:
- Planet Fitness-based workouts
- Push, pull, legs routines
- Chris Evans’ Captain America routine
- 4, 5, and 6-day dumbbell-only splits
- Michael B. Jordan’s Black Panther Killmonger routine
- Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool routine
- Women’s strength-based workouts
- Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer routine
While the name Josh England may not ring a bell, his ten most popular routines boast nearly 16 million views and community-wide respect. This Cannonball Delt program is no exception!
What is The Ultimate 12 Week Shoulder Building Program?
Cannonball Delts is a no-B.S. aesthetic workout destined to fill those sleeves, guarantee a broad V-taper, build those shoulders, and pick up where other upper-body workouts leave off.
This shoulder-eviscerating, mass-building program:
- Lasts just 12 weeks (more than enough time to see results before quitting)
- Requires one 45-60 minute shoulder workout a week
- Runs best with dumbbells, barbells, bands, and cables on-hand
- Targets a steady 2/0/2 time under tension tempo
- Infuses supersets and trisets as you venture into phases II and III
The end goal for this one: Exit the routine with massive “cannonball delts” boasting all the hallmarks of a true bodybuilder (i.e., Visible striations, insane mass, a long-awaited V-shape).
Cannonball Delts Workout Details
Those lagging delts are no match for your 15” pythons or up-and-coming 8-pack.
So, instead of overhauling your entire split for one muscle outcast (your delts, in this case), simply replace your current shoulder workout with Cannonball Delts.
Here’s a play-by-play of the shoulder workout you didn’t know you needed:
Phase 1 – Weeks 1-4 (Foundational Strength)
- Band Pull-Apart – 5 sets x 12-15 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Overhead Press – 4 sets x 8-10 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Face Pull – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Lateral Raise – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Front Cable Raise – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (30-60 sec.)
Phase 2 – Weeks 5-8 (Mass & Strength)
- Band Pull-Apart – 5 sets x 12-15 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Seated Military Press – 4 sets x 8-10 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Standing Dumbbell Press* – 4 sets x 10 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Bent-Over Rear Deltoid Fly – 3 sets x 12 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Superset: Lateral Raise – 3 sets x 10 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Superset: Front Raise – 3 sets x 10 reps (30-60 sec.)
Note: Do 1.5 reps for every “rep” of standing dumbbell presses for an extra-grueling deltoid pump (one whole rep + one half rep = one “rep”).
Phase 3 – Weeks 9-12 (Striations & “Ripped” Status)
- 3-Way Band Pull Apart – 5 sets x 15 total (30-60 sec.)
- Standing Overhead Press* – 5 sets x 8-10 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Triset: Cable Lateral Raise – 4 sets x 12 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Triset: Cable Front Raise – 4 sets x 12 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Triset: Face Pull – 4 sets x 12 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Seated Arnold Press – 3 sets x 10 reps (30-60 sec.)
- Heavy Dumbbell Shrug – 5 sets x 8 reps (30-60 sec.)
Note: Drop the weight by 50% during your last standing overhead press set for a double drop set. In other words, do 4 regular sets, drop the weight in half, and then perform to failure twice.
How to Infuse Cannonball Delts Into a New Routine
If you’re chucking your old routine and starting fresh with Cannonball Delts, planning out the week ahead can be more puzzling than exciting.
Reserving 48-72 hours between shoulder workouts is ideal for recovery.
But since obscure upper-body exercises like kickbacks and curls also activate your shoulders (even if only slightly), spacing out your upper-body workouts properly is your #1 goal.
So, try something like this:
- Day 1: Chest & Triceps
- Day 2: Back & Biceps
- Day 3: OFF
- Day 4: Legs & Abs
- Day 5: Shoulders
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: Rest
In this example routine, you have 3-4 full days of rest between your shoulder program and any other upper-body exercise. Return to the gym at 100%, and blast your deltoids all over again.
Cannonball Delts Workout Pros
1. 100% Deltoid Attention
Specialization routines are notoriously hit-or-miss. And when it’s “miss,” you wind up on a 12-week program that prioritizes one muscle group while overshadowing the rest.
It shouldn’t be ripped shoulders or pecs, or striated traps or abs. The Cannonball Delts program infuses an aesthetic shoulder workout with your pre-existing (and always reliable) split routine.
When underperforming shoulders are tainting your physique goals, this program will fix them without undercutting your other gains.
2. Attack Those Struggling Delts From All Angles
Struggling shoulders are all-too-common, but it’s how we “fix” them that keeps us trapped in this vicious cycle of routine-hopping. More overhead presses ≠ coconut-shaped delts like the legendary Arnold.
Wide, capped, and “boulder” shoulders require a multi-angle approach:
- Anterior Deltoids: Front of shoulders meeting the pecs (shoulder press, military press)
- Lateral Deltoids: Tops and sides of shoulders (lateral raise, upright row)
- Posterior Deltoids: Back of shoulders meeting the back (rear delt fly, reverse pec dec)
- Trapezius: Triangular muscle in upper back and neck (shoulder shrugs)
This Cannonball Delts program not only pinpoints each of these often-missed deltoid areas but often does so multiple times per workout. Never again worry, “What am I doing wrong?”
3. A Smooth Progression Over 12 Weeks
No matter how well-versed you are in the gym, jumping into a 25+ set shoulder workout and busting through brutal supersets and trisets will be overwhelming (and flat-out dangerous).
The journey from foundational delt strength to visible striations is a 12-week — or longer — quest that few overcome.
The smooth progression of England’s program is an undeniable highlight:
- Phase 1: 5 exercises, 18 sets
- Phase 2: 6 exercises, 22 sets (plus supersets)
- Phase 3: 7 exercises, 30 sets (plus trisets)
Phase 3 is the furthest thing from a walk in the park. But the 8-week build-up certainly makes it more bearable and ensures maximum gains as your muscles adjust!
Cannonball Delts Workout Cons
1. The Risk of Overtraining
The jury has been out on the ideal reps/sets debate for what seems like decades (and it’s starting to seem like they’re not coming back to the room).
A high-volume routine like this one can undoubtedly shock your delts into growth.
But with upwards of 30 sets and 300 reps per workout, the risk of overtraining — or even a debilitating shoulder injury (like impingement) — can put you out of commission for good.
No matter which theory you buy into, this routine is well-beyond the 9-20 set/week norm. Don’t hesitate to chop 1-2 sets/exercise to gauge your body’s response first (i.e., Weakness, pain).
2. Waiting Until Phase 3 For Shrugs
The traps are among the five key “shoulder girdle” muscles. And with a routine featuring shoulder shrugs, a thick neck complimenting wide-capped shoulders is all but guaranteed.
But shrugs are the red-headed stepchild of upper-body workouts.
Do you lump ‘em in with rows and pulldowns on back day? Or is it a shoulder day kind of thing?
Oddly enough, England waits until week nine to introduce shrugs.
If truly aesthetic shoulders, including mountainous traps, are on your to-do list, closing out phase 1 and 2 workouts with 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps of shrugs should be your #1 modification.
Cannonball Delts Program Conclusion
Is Josh England’s Cannonball Delts program the secret elixir to aesthetic shoulders?
Well, it’s certainly not the end-all-be-all.
Thirty sets per workout (in phase three) targeting one of the most delicate joints in the body is a head-scratcher. And there’s no excuse for sidelining the always crucial shrugs until week nine.
But this aesthetic workout and bigger delts undoubtedly go hand-in-hand.
It’s a 100% authentic deltoid mass program, targets four key areas of the shoulders (anterior, posterior, lateral, traps), and gradually busts through hell-bent plateaus.
If lagging delts are your de facto Achilles heel, look no further than Josh England’s Cannonball Delts program! Just don’t forget to give your delts time to recover with a well-planned split.
And if you’re looking for a complete workout program to sculpt a killer physique from head to toe, check out the workout routine specifically designed for aesthetic training!