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Bodyweight Shoulder Workout for Beginners

You need strong shoulders in order to develop the rest of your upper body. But if you don’t have a gym full of dumbbells and squat racks, don’t panic! No gym – no problem. Below, we’ve compiled the top 40 bodyweight shoulder exercises. You’ll find all the exercises necessary to develop the three heads of the shoulder:

  • Anterior Deltoid

  • Lateral Deltoid

  • Posterior Deltoid

3D shoulders require a balance between these three shoulder muscles. Luckily, bodyweight shoulder exercises will help you build your practical fitness. Before we get started, here’s a quick tip: Investing in a paid calisthenics course can easily 10X your fitness progression, without having to leave your own house. These bodyweight exercises are legit and are a great way to get you fit. Whether your goal is to build muscle or to learn new skills, these courses have got you covered:

Pike Push-Up

Pike push-ups and variations are great beginner shoulder exercises. Use pike push-ups to build your strength so you can advance to more difficult exercises, like handstand push-ups. It’s basically the regular push up position, but with your butt raised in the air. Push-ups meet downward dog.

Elevated Pike Push-Up

The elevated pike push-up takes you one step closer to emulating the handstand push-up. Those shoulder blades will get a workout with this one.

Plank to Alternate Pike

Starting position in your plank and then jumping to your pike position and then back to plank. This is a great exercise for strong shoulders.

Bridge Push-Up

This push-up variation is excellent for the shoulder blades as you round your back. The stretch is amazing as well. Bend your elbows to come down into your push-up before coming back up to your plank push-up position. One rep done!

Dive-Bomber Push-Up

Focus on slow controlled form. You won’t be cranking out as many reps as you would with push-ups, but that’s okay. Take it nice and slow, feeling the burn on those shoulders.

Hindu Push-Up

The Hindu push-up is very similar to the dive-bomber push-up. But the Hindu push-up actually gives you a further range of motion and improved flexibility.

Reverse Push-Up

Place your hands on the floor in your regular push-up starting position with your hands shoulder width apart. Press your butt up into the air and then come back to your push-up position. One of the best bodyweight exercises for your whole body, but especially the upper body and shoulders.

Handstand Push-Up

This is probably the best bodyweight shoulder exercise! But it’s a beast to learn. Since you’re basically shoulder pressing your entire body, no other exercise puts the same stress and tension on your deltoids. The handstand variations below will help you progress into the exercise.

Wall Handstand Push-Up

Like handstand push-ups, wall handstand push-ups put all your mass onto your shoulders, but leaning against the wall takes some of the stress away from your stabilizing muscles.

Negative Wall Handstand Push-Up

If wall-assisted handstand push-ups are still too difficult, this eccentric variation will help you. Instead of pushing yourself back up to the starting position, you bend your elbows and just slowly work your way down. This is hard, but it will train those shoulders so that you can get that handstand push-up in no time.

Wall Handstand Hold

You can do the wall handstand hold alone, or you can add 5-10 seconds holds in between your push-ups. Another great exercise for the shoulders as you are working to stabilize your body in the hold.