Best Calisthenics Shoulder Workout (10 Exercises)

Calisthenics workout is an efficient and effective way to strengthen, tone, and build shoulder stability using your bodyweight only. If you’re trying to build a muscular shoulder without equipment, then you can do the best calisthenics shoulder exercises that I have shared in this article.

Why Should Do Shoulder Calisthenics Exercises?

Having stronger and flexible shoulders will help you excel in many athletic sports such as boxing and CrossFit. And with the help of calisthenics shoulder workouts, you’ll be able to increase your shoulders strength, stability, balance, and flexibility. 1Effect of Progressive Calisthenic Push-up Training on Muscle Strength and Thickness – Journal Strength of Conditioning Research

Also Read: Calisthenics Full Body Workout, Routine, And PDF

Here are some of the important reasons why you should incorporate calisthenics shoulder exercises in your general workout regime.

  1. To do calisthenics exercises for shoulder, you need no equipment. They are mostly bodyweight exercises that requires little to no equipment.
  2. The calisthenics shoulder exercises are adaptable, you can do it anywhere and anytime you like, even when you are on a vacation and have no equipment with you. Some people add resistance bands to improve the intensity of the Calisthenics Exercise, however, it is optional and you can add resistance bands only if you want.
  3. Calisthenics exercises do not only increase strength but also help you improve your posture and body composition demonstrated in a study published by the Isokinetics and Exercise Science. 2The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition – Isokinetics and Exercise Science (Research Gate)

So, all in all, you should do the calisthenics shoulder workouts at home to tone muscle, improve muscular endurance, stability, balance, and flexibility.

Also See: The Best Upper Body Dumbbell Workout (With PDF)

How to Build Strong Shoulder with Calisthenics Workout?

Building stronger and rounded shoulders with calisthenics workouts require great effort and consistency. To build defined shoulders, you need to target each muscle of the shoulder, such as the front, medial and rear deltoid.

Targeting all deltoid is easy with free weights dumbbell exercise and machine exercises, however, it’s difficult to activate each deltoid with bodyweight calisthenics workouts only (without equipment).  

Although, doing the right calisthenics exercises that target your front, medial, and rear delt can help you build stronger and stable shoulders.

Related: Calisthenics Ab Exercises (The 10 Best Workout)

What Are Calisthenics Workout for Shoulders?

Bodyweight IYT raises, Handstand pushup, Pike pushup, Planche pushup, Rear Delt Row and Fly, and Bodyweight Lateral Raises are some of the best calisthenics exercises you can do for building powerful shoulders.

calisthenic shoulder workout for beginners and professionals
calisthenic shoulder workout for beginners and professionals (Image by –

Although there are many other exercises, you can incorporate in your calisthenics shoulder workout routines, such as shoulder tap, carb walk, handstand walk, planche hold, back lever, Korean dip, and side plank rotation.

Depending on your fitness level and strength, you can include and exclude exercises from the above list.  

If you’re a beginner, do these calisthenics exercises for the shoulder:

  • Kneeling Pike Pushup (more knee pushups)
  • Bodyweight Standing IYT raises
  • Crab walk,
  • Handstand walk,
  • Bodyweight lateral raise
  • Bodyweight rear Delt row

 And, if you’re an elite or pro fitness enthusiast, perform the following calisthenics shoulder workouts:

  • Handstand pushup
  • Feet Elevated Pike pushup
  • Planche pushup
  • Shoulder Dip

You May Also Like: Calisthenics Push Workout For Beginner

The Best Calisthenic Shoulder Exercises

Here is the best calisthenics shoulder workout you can do at home without equipment.

  1. Standing IYT Raises
  2. Pike Pushup
  3. Handstand pushup
  4. Bodyweight Lateral Raises
  5. Bodyweight Rear Delt Row or Incline Row
  6. Planche pushup
  7. Feet Elevated Pike Pushup
  8. Wall Walk
  9. Static Handstand
  10. Shoulder Vertical Pulses

This is a combined list of calisthenics shoulder exercises for beginners and professionals.

So, let’s how to perform each calisthenics shoulder exercise with step-by-step instructions.

Also Check Out: Bodyweight Workout Plan To Get Ripped (WIth PDF)

1. Standing IYT Raises

The Standing IYT raises is a bodyweight compound movement that works on all three deltoids simultaneously.

It is an easy and effective workout. The standing IYT raises may not help you build muscle but improve shoulder mobility and strength.

Whether you’re a beginner or elite exerciser/athlete, you can incorporate it into your calisthenics shoulder workout routine.

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms straight at your sides, your palms are facing the body.
  2. Brace your core and maintain flat back. That’s the start.
  3. Raise your arms straight over your head until your fingertips are facing the ceiling, pause and then lower your arms to the start. That’s “I” raise.
  4. Now, keeping your arms straight, raise them slightly outward in “Y” shape until your fingers facing toward ceiling. Hold for a moment and then lower your arms to the start. That’s “Y” raise.
  5. To do the “T” raise, raise your arms straight out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground. Pause for a moment, squeeze deltoids and then return your arms to the start. Now, you have completed 1 repetition.
  6. Do three sets of 6 to 8 repetitions each with 1-2 minutes rest between set.

You can also use a weight or resistance band to make this exercise more effective.

Also, Read: Calisthenics Pull Workout (The 9 Best Exercises)

2. Pike Pushup

The pike pushup is one of the best and standard calisthenics workouts for the shoulder that primarily works on your front deltoid. And it can help you increase strength and muscularity, if you do this exercise consistently and combine it with other shoulder calisthenics workouts.

The pike pushups do not only engage your shoulders but triceps also activate and chest muscle that makes it an effective upper body workout.

If you’re a beginner, you can do pike pushups on your knees and if you’re an intermediate, you should do the standard pike pushup.

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How to do regular pike pushup

calisthenic shoulder exercise – pike pushup
  1. Sit on your knees, place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart and lift your knees off the floor and hips upward so your body forms an inverted V position.
  2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight; hold up your hips and thighs. This is your starting position.
  3. Lower yourself toward the floor between your hands until your head nearly touches the ground. You’ll feel the contraction in your shoulders.k
  4. Hold for a couple of second, focus on your shoulders and then press through your arms to return to the starting position. That’s one rep!
  5. Do as many reps and sets as possible.

Related: The Best Calisthenics Chest Workout

3. Handstand pushup

One of the most advanced calisthenics workouts you can do for developing a strong shoulder is handstand pushup.

Best Shoulder Calisthenics Shoulder 
Handstand pushup

The handstand pushup is a superior upper body bodyweight workout that works on several muscles at once, such as the shoulder, triceps, and core.

This isn’t for all. If you’re good at static handstand, if you can hold yourself on your hand for 20-30 seconds against gravity, then you may be able to do a handstand pushup.

Here are steps to perform handstand pushup

  1. With the support of wall, stand on your hands (hip to shoulder-width apart and fingers pointing toward the wall) and keep your arms straight. That is your starting position.
  2. Keeping your core tight and feet on the ground, slowly lower your head toward the ground as low as possible.
  3. Pause for moment, and then press back to return to the start. That’s on rep.
  4. Do as many sets and reps as possible.
  5. Perform each repetition in a slow and controlled fashion.

Also, see: The Best Calisthenics Back Workout And Exercises

4. Bodyweight Lateral Raises

As the name suggests, the bodyweight lateral raises work on the side delt and help you build a tough shoulder.

 Usually, we do lateral raises with a dumbbell and cable, however, if you’re a calisthenics lover, you can do the same exercise with the help of your own bodyweight for increasing shoulder strength and stability.

The bodyweight lateral raise seems easy but it will challenge your strength when you do this.

How to do Bodyweight Lateral Raises

  1. First of all, grab a soft towel and place it over your right elbow.
  2. Stand straight with your right shoulder facing toward the wall.
  3. Slightly lean at your right side, bend your elbow and place it on the wall at your stomach level, your entire right arm will be on the wall. That’s the start.
  4. Engaging your lateral deltoid, slide your arms up to your shoulder height. You’ll feel the contraction on your deltoids.
  5. Pause for a moment at the top and slide reversely to return to the start. That’s one rep.
  6. Do three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions each.

Why Bodyweight? Check out the 10 Important Benefits Of Bodyweight Exercises

5. Bodyweight Rear Delt Row or Incline Row

Targeting each portion of the shoulder is important that’s why you need to include calisthenics exercises for rear delts, such as the bodyweight row.

The rear delt row or inverted row is one of the good calisthenics workouts for the shoulder that you can do with the help you towel to target your posterior delt.

How to do rear delt body row using a towel

  1. Anchor the towel firmly on top of the door (with the door closed)
  2. Standing in the hip-width stance, grab the ends of the towel with a neutral grip.
  3. Keeping your back straight, slightly lean backward with your arms straight in front of you and palms facing each other. This is starting position.
  4. Pull the towel as you row your body in the forward position. You’ll feel the contraction in your upper back and rear delt when pull yourself in a rowing motion.
  5. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then return your body to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Do three sets of 8 to 10 reps each with as little rest as possible between sets.

 Related: The Top 7 Dumbbell Rear Delt Exercises Of All Time

6. Planche pushup

The planche push-up is one of the advanced calisthenics exercises for the shoulders.

You shouldn’t do until you become good at pike pushup and isometric handstands. It requires a great deal of balance, arms and shoulder strength, balance as well as flexibility.

If done correctly, this will be one of your best upper body workouts.

How to do:

  1. Lie prone on the floor with your arms are straight at your sides, palms on the floor and hands besides your hips.
  2. Rotate your wrists so your fingers facing slightly outward.
  3. Press into the floor through your hands until your arms are straight and body is in an “up” position of pushup.
  4. Brace your abdominal muscle, and pressing into the floor, raise your legs off the floor. Now, you’re in planche position.
  5. Bend your elbows, and lower your torso toward the ground as low as possible.
  6. Pause for two second, feel the contraction and then press back until your arms are straight. That is your one repetition.
  7. Do as many sets and reps as possible.
  8. Perform each repetition in a slow and controlled fashion.

Looking for more options? Check out the 10 best Bodyweight Exercises For Shoulder

7. Feet Elevated Pike Pushup

The feet elevated pike pushup is another pro-level calisthenics shoulder workout that effectively works on the front deltoid and helps you build defined shoulders at home.

Once you’ll be good at standard pike pushup, you can do declined or feet elevated version.

This will be challenging initially, but, if you do it consistently, it will help you improve strength, stability, balance, and posture.

How to do feet elevating pike pushup

  • Place your feet on an elevated surface and arms on the ground, and raise your hips high so your body forms an inverted V position.
  • Lower yourself towards the floor (feeling the tension in your shoulders) until your face nearly touches the floor.
  • Hold for a moment and rise back up, and repeat this movement for the desired number of sets and reps.
  • Perform each rep in a controlled manner and focus on your deltoids during the entire movement.

Also, Read: Isometric Exercises List And Examples With PDF

8. Wall Walks

The wall walks seem easy but requires a good amount of arms and shoulder strength, balance, and mobility.

With the help of wall walks, you can solidify your shoulders without the need for any equipment.

You can include it in your shoulder calisthenic workout plan so you can use it as a warm-up exercise before you do a handstand pushup.

How to do Wall walks

  1. Get into the high plank position with your feet against the wall (soles touching the wall surface).
  2. Start walking up on the wall as you bring your body closer to the wall.
  3. Walk until you’re in handstand position if possible.
  4. Reverse the steps to return to the start. That’s one rep!
  5. Do as many sets and reps as you like.
  6. Keep your entire body engaged, back straight and perform each rep slowly and efficiently.

Do You Know What’s The Best Time To Workout?

9. Isometric Handstand

The isometric handstand is one of the best callisthenic static exercises for the upper body, including the shoulders.

It helps you improve balance, muscular endurance, and flexibility.

You can use this move to scale up your handstand pushup.

To perform an isometric handstand

All you need to do is lift your body weight on your hands. You might not struggle with hand movement but you will struggle to hold your balance.

The best way to master a perfect handstand is by using support. Some people start with wall support or support from an individual while others can do it without support.

For better results, make sure to hold your position for at least 10 to 20 seconds.

10. Shoulder Vertical Pulses Calisthenic Workout

The vertical plus is one of the beginner-friendly calisthenics shoulder exercises you can use to tone and strengthen your shoulders.

This may not produce a significant result but you can do it as a warm-up exercise.

How to do vertical pulse

  • Stand upright with your feet hip to shoulder-width apart and keep your arms straight out to the sides, parallel to the ground.
  • Make a fist with your thumbs should be out and pointing upside.
  • Keeping your shoulder engaged, move your arms down for a several times.
  • Once you complete downward movement, perform upward.
  • Do as many times as possible.

How Do You Get Big Shoulders With Calisthenics Workouts?

The shoulder calisthenics exercises help you enhance your strength, stability, balance, and flexibility.

However, calisthenics shoulder exercises may be as effective as weight training for building bigger shoulders. Muscle grows when you incorporate progressive overload in your training. Progressive overload meaning increasing load and intensity over a period of time.

But you can also incorporate calisthenics shoulder exercises along with free weights dumbbell shoulders workouts for building both strength and mass.

Calisthenics Shoulder Workout Routine

It’s always a good thing to warm up before jumping onto the advanced exercises. Warming up can help you increase heart rate, improve blood flow and oxygen supply, and allows your muscle to get ready for the challenge.

Here, I’m sharing a sample of a shoulder calisthenics routine that you can use to build a muscular shoulder.

Day 1 (Week 1)

  • Shoulder Vertical Pulses – 2 sets x 15-20 seconds
  • Standing IYT Raises – 2 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Wall Walk – 2 sets x 15-20 seconds
  • Pike Pushup – 3 sets x 10, 8, 6 reps
  • Handstand pushup – 3 sets x 8, 6, 4 reps

Day 2 (Week 1)

  • Standing IYT Raises – 2 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Planche pushup – 2 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Feet Elevated Pike Pushup – 3 sets x 10, 8, 6 reps
  • Bodyweight Lateral Raises – 3 sets x 10, 8, 6 reps
  • Bodyweight Rear Delt Row – 3 sets x 10, 8, 6 reps

My Final Words on Calisthenics Shoulder Workout

If you’re a fitness enthusiast and work out at home with little to no equipment, then calisthenics exercises can be a good option. They’ll help you improve your strength, stability, balance, and flexibility. They are fun and gives you perform myriads of exercises.

If you’re trying to solidify your shoulders, a calisthenics workout is the best option.

The bodyweight calisthenics exercises aren’t as effective as weight training for building bigger shoulders but they will surely improve overall fitness.

However, you do not forget every good thing also comes with some drawbacks. For example, calisthenics exercises are good but if you do not focus on proper form, you’ll end up getting injured. So, when you’re not confident about doing the exercise properly, always seek help from your partners.

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Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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