Top 5 Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises [Ultimate Guide]

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

You want to know the best bodyweight shoulder exercises?


Well, you're at the right place.


Top 5 Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises:

  1. Pike Pushup

  2. Wall Walk Up

  3. Side Plank w/ Lateral Raise

  4. Inverted Row Face Pull

  5. Plank To Down Dog


Scroll down for a breakdown of each shoulder exercise.


You can add these bodyweight exercises to your home workout or add these into it's own bodyweight shoulder workout.

1) Pike Pushup


The pike pushup is an alternative to the push up, it is an effective bodyweight shoulder exercise.


See the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions.



How To Do A Pike Pushup:

  1. To start, get in a plank position on the floor, keep your hands on the floor and press your feet into the ground.

  2. Then engage your core and keep your body from hip to head locked in a straight line.

  3. Lift your hips up until your body takes the shape of an inverted "V".

  4. Lower your entire body by bending at the elbows.

  5. Pause at the bottom, then slowly push yourself back up to your starting position.

  6. Repeat this for your desired number of reps.


Including the pike push up into your home workouts is a great way of activating the front deltoid muscles as well as various other supporting muscles.


How To Make The Pike Pushup Harder:


There are a couple of ways to make the pike push up harder:

  • Do more reps or hold at the bottom for longer.

  • Going into a steeper incline will make the pike push up harder (higher "V").


How To Make The Pike Pushup Easier:


There are also a couple of ways to make a pike push up easier:

  • Do less reps or hold for less time.

  • Using less incline (lower "V").


Pike Push Variations:


There are multiple variations of the pike push ups, the best ones are:

  • Incline Push Ups

  • Elevated Pike Push Ups


2) Wall Walk Up


The wall walk up is also one of the best bodyweight shoulder exercises - it activates most of the deltoid as well as many other assisting muscles.


See the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions.



How To Do The Wall Walk Up:

  1. To begin, squat down with your back to a solid wall, place your hands around shoulder width apart 2-3 feet from the wall.

  2. Then, keeping your hands on the ground, start lifting your hips up and begin to walk your feet up the wall.

  3. Walk up the wall as high as you can control, then hold at the top.

  4. Slowly walk your feet back down to the starting position.

  5. Repeat this for your desired number of repetitions.


This could be another shoulder exercise to add to your bodyweight workouts.


How To Make The Wall Walk Up Harder:


There are quite a couple of ways to make the wall walk up harder:

  • Doing more reps or holding for longer at the top.

  • Going at a steeper angle (higher up the wall and further back)

How To Make The Wall Walk Up Easier:


There are also a couple of ways to make this exercise easier:

  • Do less reps or hold for less time.

  • Not going as steep may make it a bit easier

3) Side Plank With Lateral Raise


See the full guide here.


The side plank with lateral raise is a great shoulder and overall workout - it activates mainly the side deltoid and also many other supporting muscles.


See the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions.



How To Do The Side Plank With Lateral Raise:

  1. To begin, hold your body in a straight line from head to feet with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder.

  2. Then push yourself up into a side plank.

  3. Maintain the plank position while slowly raising and lowering your arm, you can also use a weight if you have one.

  4. Hold for 1-3 seconds when at the top of the rep.

  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.


Adding this bodyweight shoulder exercise into your home workout can help you get bigger and stronger shoulders.


How To Make The Side Plank w/ Lateral Raise Harder:


You can make this exercise harder in a couple of ways, such as:

  • Doing more reps or slowing down your repetitions.

  • Adding resistance by holding a weight such as a dumbbell, filled water jug etc.


How To Make The Side Plank w/ Lateral Raise Easier:


There are also a couple of ways to make the crunch easier:

  • Do less repetitions or hold for less time.

  • Doing the side raises without being in the side plank will make it easier.

4) Inverted Row Face Pull


The inverted row face pull is another bodyweight shoulder exercise, it is a more advanced one though.

See the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions.



How To Do The Inverted Row Face Pull:

  1. To start, find a strong surface (such as a table, bench, racked bar or something that can hold your weight).

  2. Then, being very careful, slide under it and get a grip on it.

  3. Pull yourself up towards the object and squeeze your back while doing so - hold for 1-3 seconds.

  4. Slowly come back down to the floor.

  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.


Be careful with this exercise, if you have no suitable object or surface to do it on, then skip it.


How To Make The Inverted Row Harder:


You can make the inverted row exercise more difficult in a couple ways, such as:

  • Holding for longer or doing more reps.

  • Adding resistance by wearing a weighted backpack for example.


How To Make The Inverted Row Easier:


There are a couple of ways to make the inverted row easier:

  • Hold for less time or do less reps.

  • Getting someone else to gently push on your upper back to help you!

5) Plank To Dog Down


The plank to down dog, also known as plank to downward dog, is another good bodyweight shoulder exercise


See the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions.



How To Do The Plank To Down Dog:

  1. To start, get on your hands and knees - make sure your shoulders are directly above your wrists and that your hips are over your knees.

  2. Straighten your legs, engage your core and don’t let your back or shoulders sag, relax your head and neck.

  3. Press your hips and glutes back and up, push away slightly with your arms as you engage your core. You’ll form an inverted "V" shape. This is the downward dog position.

  4. Slowly come back down to the starting position.

  5. Repeat this for your desired number of repetitions.


This shoulder exercise will activate the deltoids and other assisting muscles, and it will work with just your bodyweight.


How To Make The Plank To Dog Down Harder:


You can make this bodyweight shoulder exercise harder by:

  • Holding for longer or doing more reps.


How To Make The Plank To Dog Down Easier:


You can make it easier by:

  • Holding the reps for less time.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Q: What bodyweight exercises work shoulders?

A: The best bodyweight shoulder exercises are:

  1. Pike Pushup

  2. Wall Walk Up

  3. Side Plank With Lateral Raise

  4. Inverted Row Face Pull

  5. Plank To Down Dog


Q: How can I build my shoulders with bodyweight?

A: Doing the bodyweight exercises in this article (pike push up, wall walk up etc) should help improve shoulder strength and size - without the need for weights.


Q: How can I build my shoulders without weights?

A: It's possible to build your shoulders without weights using the bodyweight shoulder exercises in this article, such as the pike push up, wall walk up etc.


Q: Can you build muscle mass with bodyweight exercises?

A: Yes you can, bodyweight exercises are capable of building muscle if you increase your reps, decrease your rest time, train to failure, alternate your exercises and increase time under tension.

Summary Of The Best Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises:


These top 5 bodyweight exercises are great for training the shoulders at home.


You can see more exercises with our exercise guides.


They do also work other muscles too, such as the glutes, legs, arms, abs etc.


You can incorporate these exercises into your home workouts, if you want to see more shoulder exercises then check out our top 3 shoulder exercises.

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