Calisthenics Shoulder Workout: Get Bigger Shoulders

Calisthenics shoulder workout

Calisthenics is a great way to train your shoulders for multiple reasons, like that you can do it anywhere, you don’t need equipment, and calisthenics works your shoulders in most of the exercises. So, in this article, I will take you through a calisthenics shoulder workout and give you some of my top shoulder-building exercises.

When I started calisthenics, I did not really know how to properly train my shoulders, but as the time went on, I learned how to properly train them, and I increased my shoulder strength to the point where I am now able to do handstand push-ups. The exercises I am going to give you are some of the exercises that benefited me the most in my journey.

In this article, I will cover:

  • What is calisthenics?
  • How to Warm Up Your Shoulders
  • Can You Build Shoulder Muscle with Calisthenics?
  • Calisthenics Shoulder Workout

Let’s get into it!

What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a style of training that uses your bodyweight as resistance. It involves a bunch of bodyweight movements like push-ups, pull-ups, dips, planks, and much more. The great thing about calisthenics is that you can do it almost anywhere, and you don’t really need any fancy equipment. Although certain calisthenics equipment like chalk bars or parallettes can help you, it is not something that you can’t go without.

The way to increase resistance and progress in calisthenics is very different from weights. With weights, you just add more weight; with calisthenics, it is a bit more difficult. To progress in calisthenics, you should either add more reps and sets or move on to more advanced variations. With certain exercises, you can actually still make it harder by adding weight, using something like a dip belt or weighted vest.

How to Warm Up Your Shoulders

Calisthenics shoulder workout warm up

Before you do this calisthenics shoulder workout, it is very important that you properly warm up your shoulders. If you do not warm them up properly, you might get injured, and then you can be out of training for weeks or even months.

You don’t want to warm up your shoulder with static stretches; instead, you want to warm it up with some light shoulder exercises and dynamic stretches. Here is a great article on a shoulder warm-up: 9 Shoulder Warm Up Mobility Exercises | Prevent Shoulder Injury (

Can You Build Shoulder Muscle with Calisthenics?

Yes, you can build shoulder muscle with calisthenics as long as you make proper use of progressive overload, which is basically just gradually making it more difficult for you. And not only does calisthenics build muscle, but it is also known for building a lot of strength.

You can increase the difficulty in a couple of different ways:

  • Increasing the sets
  • Increasing the reps
  • Doing more difficult variations
  • Adding weight

Calisthenics Shoulder Workout

First, I am going to give you all the exercises and then I will give you a sample calisthenics shoulder workout.

Pike Push-Ups:

Pike push-ups are a fantastic calisthenics exercise that really puts the focus on your shoulder muscles, doing wonders for building strength and stability in this area.

How to do it:

  1. Begin in a push-up position, but elevate your hips so that your body forms an inverted V shape.
  2. While keeping your core engaged, lower your head toward the ground.
  3. Push back up to the starting position.


Dips are challenging calisthenics exercise that target not just your shoulders, but also your triceps and chest, making it a superb addition to your upper-body routine.

How to do it:

  1. Find a pair of parallel bars or sturdy surfaces, like dip bars or the backs of two chairs.
  2. With your hands on the bars or surfaces, supporting your body weight, lower your body by bending your arms until your elbows form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Push yourself back up to the starting position.

Decline Push-Up:

The decline push-up is a solid choice for those aiming to work their shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. It’s a top-notch exercise for enhancing your upper body strength.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a push-up position with your feet elevated on a bench or another sturdy surface.
  2. Execute push-ups just as you would in a standard push-up, ensuring your body maintains a straight line.
  3. Lower your chest toward the ground and then push back up to the starting position.

Pike Hold:

The pike hold is a no-nonsense isometric calisthenics exercise that will give your shoulder muscles and core a good run for their money, helping you boost strength and stability.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a push-up position but form an inverted V shape with your body.
  2. Maintain this position, making sure to keep your core engaged and shoulders activated for the desired duration.

Shoulder Taps:

Shoulder taps add a dynamic twist to your workout, challenging your shoulder stability and core strength, making them a valuable exercise in your fitness routine.

How to do it:

  1. Begin in a push-up position.
  2. Lift one hand and touch the opposite shoulder.
  3. Return your hand to the ground and repeat the movement with the other hand.

Wall Walk-Up:

Wall walk-ups, an advanced calisthenics exercise, pull your shoulders, chest, and core into action, improving strength and stability.

How to do it:

  1. Get into in a plank position, facing away from a wall.
  2. Begin walking your feet up the wall while simultaneously moving your hands closer to the wall.
  3. Keep moving upward until you reach an inverted position.
  4. To return to the starting position, reverse the movement.

Sample calisthenics shoulder workout:

  1. Pike push-ups: 3×10
  2. Wall walk-up: 3×5
  3. Decline push-ups: 3 x 12
  4. Pike hold: 3×fail
  5. Shoulder taps: 3 x 12 per side
  6. Dips: 3 x 10

Other articles you can check out:

7 day calisthenics workout plan for amazing results

Weighted calisthenics: How to unlock super strength

Ultimate Calisthenics Bicep Workout To get bigger biceps

35 Best Calisthenics Exercises from Beginner to Advanced

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