Calisthenics workouts are a form of exercise that involves using your body weight to perform various movements and exercises. One of the areas of the body where calisthenics can be especially effective is the shoulders. Strong shoulders are important for overall upper body strength and can also help to prevent injury. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the 21 calisthenics shoulder workouts that will help you to build stronger shoulders for bikini season and beyond!
Before starting any new exercise routine, it’s important to talk with your doctor. After talking with your doctor, it is very important to warm up properly. A good warm-up will help to increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare your body for the workout ahead. A simple warm-up for this shoulder workout could include arm circles, shoulder shrugs, and shoulder blade squeezes. If you have any shoulder injuries I would talk with your physical therapist before doing these.
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Once you’re warmed up, you can begin the shoulder calisthenics workout. These are basic exercises to help your shoulders. Whether you just want to strengthen your shoulders, get bigger shoulders, or are just looking for some upper body bodyweight training (though these do work your lower body too!), whatever your skill level, this post will help you do both!
21 Best Calisthenics Shoulder Workouts You Need To Be Doing
Here are the best calisthenics shoulder exercises, along with the recommended sets and reps:
1. Wall Handstand Push-Ups – 3 sets of 8 reps
The first exercise we will talk about is the handstand push-ups. These are advanced calisthenics exercises that require a lot of strength and balance. They are a great way to build strength in your shoulders and also work your core, chest, and triceps.
To perform a handstand push-up, start in a handstand position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet against a wall. Slowly lower yourself down until your head touches the ground (you can do 3-second handstand holds), then push back up to the starting position.
If you’re not yet able to do a handstand push-up, you can work up to it by practicing your handstand against a wall.
2. Pike Push-Ups – 3 sets of 6 reps
Pike push-ups are a great exercise for building shoulder strength and are a good stepping stone to handstand push-ups. To perform a pike push-up, start in a downward dog position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Lower your head towards the ground while keeping your elbows close to your body, then push back up to the starting position.
Pike Push-ups are not for beginners and take time to work up to this type of push-up. Your form is everything when doing these push-ups (as with any exercise!) and it is important to NOT rush through them. Start with a few reps and increase reps as you get stronger.
3. Dips – 3 Sets Of 8 Reps
Dips are a type of exercise that utilizes your own body weight to strengthen various upper-body muscles, including the triceps. To perform this exercise, you’ll need to grab onto a set of parallel bars and extend your arms straight out.
Next, lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are level with the ground. Finally, push yourself back up to the starting position. If you’re not yet able to do dips, you can work up to them by doing bench dips or using resistance bands for assistance.
4. Push-Ups – 3 Sets Of 8 Reps
Push-ups are a classic calisthenics exercise that works your chest, triceps, and shoulders. To perform a push-up, start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
Lower your body down until your chest almost touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position.
If you’re not yet able to do regular push-ups, you can work up to them by doing knee push-ups.
5. Shoulder Taps – 3 Sets Of 12 Reps
Shoulder taps are a great exercise for building shoulder stability and are also a good way to work your core. To perform shoulder taps, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lift one hand off the ground and tap the opposite shoulder, then alternate sides. Make sure you keep your elbows ‘soft‘ and don’t lock them when you have straight arms.
6. Wall Walks 8-10 Reps 2-3 Times A Week
Wall walks are a challenging exercise that involves walking your feet up a wall while holding a plank position. Here are the steps to perform a wall walk:
- Start in a plank position with your hands on the floor and your feet against the wall.
- Slowly walk your feet up the wall, keeping your core engaged and your body in a straight line.
- Walk your feet up the wall as far as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Pause at the top of the wall walk, holding the plank position for a few seconds.
- Carefully walk your feet back down the wall to return to the starting position.
*To make this not so difficult, only go halfway up the wall
7. Dive Bomber Push-Ups 2-3 Sets Of 8-12 Reps
To perform this exercise, begin in a high plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Your body should form an inverted V shape with your shoulders away from your ears.
From this starting position, bring your chest forward through your hands while bending your arms, gliding through the movement until your chest is between your hands and your hips are hovering just above the floor. Straighten your arms and lift your chest up to return to the starting position.
To finish, reverse the movement by raising your hips back up. It’s important to maintain control and engage your core throughout the exercise to avoid any strain on your lower back. These pushups are way better than your regular push-up!
8. Pike Shoulder Shrugs 3-4 Sets Of 8-10 Reps
Pike shoulder shrugs are an exercise that targets your shoulders, upper back, and core. To perform shoulder shrugs correctly, start by lifting your shoulders straight up and holding them in an elevated position for a few seconds before lowering them back down to the starting position.
Throughout the movement, it’s important to keep your shoulders pulled back, shoulder blades together, and your elbows and spine straight. Repeat this motion for all of your desired repetitions. By doing so, you will effectively target your trapezius muscles and improve your upper body strength and posture.
This is a good shoulder workout! This is one of those bodyweight shoulder workouts I like to do but you can also add weight if you want to.
9. Inverted Rows 3 Sets of 8-10 Reps
The inverted row is a bodyweight pulling exercise that allows you to use your own weight as resistance. Depending on your fitness level, you can adjust the intensity of the exercise by elevating your feet or positioning the bar at a higher rack.
Additionally, you can modify the exercise by using an underhand grip, which can increase the activation of your arm flexors. Incorporating these variations can challenge the whole body and help you achieve your fitness goals in your everyday life.
10. Push-Up to Side Plank 2-3 Sets Of 5-10 Reps On Each Side
To perform this exercise, start by assuming a plank position. Lower your body by bending your elbows into a push-up. After that, straighten your arms and raise your right arm towards the ceiling while twisting your body into a side plank, creating a T shape.
Return to the plank position, placing your right palm on the floor to repeat the push-up. Then, as you straighten your arms, rotate your body to the left while lifting your left hand up. Finally, return to the plank position.
11. Elevated Pike Push-Ups 2-3 Sets Of 5-10 Reps
To perform elevated pike push ups, you need to raise your feet on an elevated surface like a wide step-up block or low bench and press down through your shoulders before returning to the starting position. The degree of difficulty is determined by the height of your hips, with higher hips placing more weight on your shoulders. These push ups are so much more effective (in my opinion) than the standard push-up.
12. Bodyweight Shoulder Press 2-3 Sets Of 5-10 Reps
This is one of those bodyweight exercises that are so effective. You use the parallel bars for this one. Your arms are straight and your body is slightly leaning forward with your shoulders pulled down and back.
Next, bend your elbows and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Finally, push back up to the starting position by straightening your arms. The best part of this workout is feeling your muscles come to life and burn! I love that!
13. Lateral Raises 3-4 Sets Of 10-12 Reps 3 Times A Week
To perform this exercise, start by standing with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides with your palms facing inwards. Engage your abdominal muscles and tighten your glutes to maintain a stable base, then raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor.
At the top of the movement, your arms should be slightly in front of your torso and your elbows should be slightly bent. Pause briefly before slowly lowering the weights back down to the starting position.
14. Arm Circles 15-20 Reps (Front AND Backwards) 3-4 Times A Week
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended straight out to your sides.
- Begin by making small circles with your arms, starting with a clockwise motion.
- Gradually increase the size of the circles, using your shoulder movements to move your arms.
- After 10-15 seconds, reverse the direction of the circles to a counterclockwise motion.
- Gradually decrease the size of the circles until you are back to the starting position.
Arm circles are an effective way to improve shoulder mobility and flexibility, and can also help to strengthen your shoulder muscles.
15. Handstand Shoulder Taps 20 Reps Of Shoulder Taps, 2 Sets
Handstand shoulder taps are a challenging exercise that requires significant upper body and core strength, as well as good balance and body control. Here are some steps to perform proper handstand shoulder taps:
- Start in a handstand position with your hands firmly planted on the ground, arms straight, and shoulders stacked over your wrists.
- Engage your core and glutes to keep your body straight and stable.
- Lift one hand slightly off the ground and tap your opposite shoulder with it. Focus on keeping your body straight and avoiding any wobbling or twisting.
- Return your hand to the ground and repeat the movement on the other side.
As you become more comfortable with the exercise, try to increase the speed and number of taps you can perform without losing your balance. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise, inhaling deeply as you lift your hand and exhaling as you tap your shoulder.
If you are struggling to maintain your balance, you can practice against a wall or with a partner to provide support and help you stay upright.
16. Knee Push-Ups 2-3 Sets Of 12-20 Reps
The best way to do this is to assume a kneeling position on the ground and place your hands shoulder-width apart in front of you, with arms extended. Engage your core muscles as you bend your arms, gradually lowering your torso until your chest touches the floor. Using a slow and controlled motion, straighten your arms to push your torso back up to the starting position. Repeat 2-3 times.
17. Arm Raises 3 Sets Of 8-15 Reps
I think this is one of the best bodyweight shoulder exercises because it is easier to do and anyone can do it. This is one of my favorite calisthenics shoulder workouts. Assume a standing position with your feet separated at shoulder width and your palms facing forward, while keeping your arms at your sides. Proceed to raise your arms out to the sides until they are at shoulder height, and then lower them back down to the starting position in a smooth and continuous motion, completing the set.
For best results, as you perform the exercise, maintain a steady and consistent breathing pattern, and ensure that your spine is straight and your hips are facing forward.
18. Scapular Push-ups 2-3 Sets Of 8-10 Reps
It is recommended to perform this exercise with a moderate outward rotation of your fingers, rather than having them positioned straight up and down.
To perform the exercise, stand facing a wall or other surface that you can hold onto. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and gradually bend your elbows to bring your face towards the wall, ensuring that your back and hips remain straight. Return to the starting position by pushing yourself away from the wall.
19. Quadruped Shoulder Circles 2 Sets of 10 Reps Each Way
To assume the starting position, get into the quadruped position, where both hands and feet are in contact with the ground. Ensure that your hands are positioned under your shoulders, and your knees are aligned under your hips. Take a deep breath to generate tension throughout your entire body.
To perform the movement, begin by lifting one arm slightly off the ground. Extend the arm forward as far as possible, gradually circling it upwards until you reach your highest point. Then, slowly move the arm back to complete the movement and return to the starting position.
Repeat the same movement in reverse, gradually lowering the arm backward, and then circling it downwards to complete the full range of motion.
20. Reverse Plank Shoulder Taps 2-3 Sets Of 10-15 Reps
Start in a plank position. Lift your hand from the ground and reach it diagonally to touch your opposite shoulder, then replicate the action with your other hand. While performing this exercise, stay focused on your movements and activate your core and glute muscles to maintain stability and prevent your hips from moving. Keep the remainder of your body as motionless as possible during the arm movements.
21. Up Down Plank 2-3 Sets Of 15-20 Reps
To do the up-down plank, you need to start in a plank position with your forearms shoulder-width apart and the balls of your feet hip-width apart. Activate your core muscles and maintain a neutral head position while tightening up your glutes.
Then, lift yourself up onto your right hand until it’s completely straight, then do the same to your other arm, assuming a high plank posture. Then, gradually lower yourself back down to the starting position using your right arm, followed by your left. Be sure to keep your spine in a neutral position and your core engaged throughout to prevent any lateral movement.
In conclusion, incorporating calisthenics shoulder workouts into your fitness routine can have numerous benefits for your overall strength, mobility, and aesthetics. The various exercises can target different areas of your shoulder muscles, allowing for a well-rounded and effective workout. Additionally, combining calisthenics shoulder workouts with other exercises and a balanced diet can help you achieve your fitness goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With dedication and consistency, calisthenics shoulder workouts can be a valuable addition to your fitness regimen.
I hope you enjoyed my blog post about calisthenics shoulder workouts! Please feel free to share this article with a friend or relative that you think might find these exercises helpful. Thank you!
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog post, calisthenics shoulder workouts, is not a substitute for medical advice. The information provided above should not be used as a basis for diagnosing, treating, or preventing any medical condition or disease. Before making any modifications to your diet, sleep regimen, daily routine, or exercise program, consult your physician. My Fitness Routines is not liable for any physical harm or injury that may result from the suggestions, opinions, or recommendations provided in this article.
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