Last Updated on August 10, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
If you’re wanting to focus on working your shoulder muscles, then you’re probably aware of how great bodyweight exercises are for this.
The great news is you don’t actually need to have a lot of weight to be able to see a difference in your shoulders.
There are plenty of exercises that you are probably are already familiar with that actually help to work your muscles without weights, such as push ups and planks.
Not only do bodyweight workouts improve your strength, but they also positively impact your appearance, too. No more slumping over at your desk or on the couch, and who doesn’t want to walk around with good posture?
We have put together a list of 15 bodyweight exercises that will assist you in getting your shoulders toned.
1. Incline Push Up
This exercise targets your deltoids, pectorals, and triceps. You will need to start in the plank position, keeping your hands at shoulder width apart. You will also need to elevate your hands using a bench, box, or another sturdy elevated surface.
Next, lower your chest to the surface and use your arms and chest to push yourself back up. Although you may not be aware of this, you will also be working your shoulders, too! We recommend doing 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps of this exercise.
2. Push Back Push Up
Start in the push up position but keep your feet a little wider than usual. Then, lower your core to the ground, leading with your chest. Next, you will need to push your upper body back to lean on your heels.
As your body goes back, bend at the knees and keep your hips raised. Do this motion backwards and repeat. We recommend doing 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps to start with, making sure you are taking most of the weight in your shoulders.
3. Crab Walk
This exercise targets many muscles beyond your shoulders, including your abs, quads, triceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lats. You will need to sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet placed shoulder width apart.
Next, place your palms on the floor behind you flat on the ground. Lift your hips off the floor so that you’re making a table shape. Then, walk your body forward and backward.
We recommend doing 2 or 3 sets of 15 to 20 steps to begin with.
4. Plank To Downward Dog
Start in a plank position and keep your arms straight as well as your core engaged.
While you lift your hips, make sure to exhale and transfer the weight backward. A straight line should be created from your hips to your wrists.
Repeat these motions for 5 sets of 20 reps to begin with until you feel ready to increase them.
5. Pike Push Up
Start in the traditional downward dog position, then walk your feet forwards to your hands so that your shoulders are straight above your hands.
Ensure that you keep your elbows tucked into your sides while your forehead is lowered to the ground.
You want to aim to touch the ground lightly with your forehead before coming back up. We recommend doing 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
6. Elevated Pike Push Up
This is the same as a pike push up, except you are going to raise your feet off the ground using blocks or a bench before doing the motions.
You want to bend at your elbows and inhale while you lower your head to the floor and repeat. This is quite intense, so we recommend starting off with 2 sets of 10 reps.
7. Wall Walk Up
To start this exercise you need to enter a push up position and get close to a sturdy wall. Then, walk your feet towards a wall followed by slowly walking them up the wall behind you.
You want to aim to move your arms backward at the same time so you end up in a handstand position.
After you have reached this position make sure to do the reverse so you end back up in your starting position.
We recommend doing this for 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps to start with.
8. Plank Up
Start this exercise in the plank position and then raise up onto the palms of your hands one at a time followed by lowering yourself back on the forearms one by one.
We recommend doing this exercise for 3 sets of 10 on each arm.
9. Bridge Push Up
To perform this exercise you will need to lie on your back and bend your knees so your feet are placed as close to your glutes as they can be.
Next, put your hands on the ground behind your head so your hands are facing behind you resting next to your ears. Then raise your hips and glutes off the ground so you are entering a table-like position.
Once you have gotten comfortable with this, you can gently lower yourself up and down for 3 sets of 5 reps.
10. Plank To Alternate Pike
You can start this in the plank position. It is similar to the push up to downward dog. This time you want to touch your hand to the opposite foot on your way up and interchange between sides.
We recommend you do this for 3 sets of 10 reps.
11. Prone T & Y
Do this exercise lying face down on the floor. Make sure you feel comfortable before extending your arms out to the sides in a T shape, then above you in a Y shape and lift your arms off the ground.
You will need to hold these each for a couple of seconds before moving on. Do this for 2 sets of 10 reps until you are comfortable.
12. Diving Push Up
Start this in downward dog position, then lower your chest down and forward toward the ground. Then, extend your chest upward into an upward dog position.
We recommend doing this for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
13. Side Plank With Lateral Raise
Rest your body weight onto your forearm facing sideways with your body facing outwards. Your body should be straight from head to toe. You can bend your knees if it’s easier.
Now lower your under hip until it barely touches the ground and then raise back up to a straight position. Raise your top arm straight above the side of your body for an extra push. We recommend doing this for 3 sets of 10 reps.
14. Kneeling Table Pullover
Do this exercise by kneeling in front of a table and placing your hands on the side of it.
Slide yourself backward onto your knees until you’re leaning forward. Then, press yourself upwards onto the front of your knees and repeat.
We recommend you do this for 2 sets of 7 to 10 reps to start with.
15. Inverted Row Face Pull
You can do this exercise by laying on your back underneath a table or other flat surface. Grab the table with your hands so they are placed a little narrower than your shoulders.
Next, pull yourself upwards bringing your face close to the table and then slowly returning down to your starting position. We recommend doing this for 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. Make sure you are using something very stable to pull yourself up.
The Bottom Line
These exercises are excellent additions to your daily workout routine. Oftentimes, our shoulders are abandoned during our targeted exercises and this can lead you to have weaker shoulder muscles and a little more trouble with your other regular exercises.
Adding these to your regime is bound to make a noticeable difference, and you don’t need any equipment! Enjoy these bodyweight exercises at your next session.