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3 Shoulder Calisthenics Workouts for All Fitness Levels

A calisthenics shoulder workout is an effective way to increase shoulder strength, boost mobility and improve muscle tone all without needing any equipment. Shoulder calisthenics are efficient, effective and incredibly beneficial when it comes to increasing upper body strength.

What are shoulder calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a type of strength training that uses resistance from body weight to strengthen the muscles, improve mobility and boost endurance. Shoulder calisthenics simply means using this type of strength training to target the shoulders.

A calisthenics shoulder workout is composed of various bodyweight, resistance training exercises that target the shoulder muscles.

Can you build shoulders with calisthenics?

Shoulder calisthenics are an excellent way to boost muscle mass, improve tone and gain strength in the shoulders. This type of exercise uses bodyweight to create resistance, as opposed to weight and other exercise materials – however, a calisthenics shoulder workout is just as effective as one that requires a gym.

Benefits of Shoulder Calisthenics

Check out just a few of the many benefits of calisthenics shoulder workouts. Strengthening and toning the shoulders is beneficial for athletes of all kinds, and can help improve the ease at which day to day activities are completed as well.

  • Helps reduce neck and back pain by decreasing the unnecessary strain on other muscles that leads to chronic fatigue
  • Improves strength for functional activities such as pushing, pulling, lifting, etc.
  • Increases mobility and improves ability to complete other upper body exercises
  • Supports improved performance in other sports and fitness activities

Luckily, creating a calisthenics shoulder workout on your own or at home is easy, since it doesn’t require any extra equipment. Combining different shoulder calisthenics exercises is all it takes to feel the burn and improve mobility, strength and tone in the shoulders.

When combining multiple shoulder calisthenics, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Completing each exercise with proper form is much more important than the number of repetitions you complete.

Try combining different styles of exercises to create a well-rounded shoulder workout and prevent burnout or fatigue. Here are some of the best, most effective calisthenics shoulder exercises.

10 Best Calisthenics Shoulder Exercises

  • Push ups
  • Commandos (elbow to high plank)
  • Mountain climbers
  • Dips
  • Pull ups
  • Decline push ups
  • Hand stands
  • Row
  • Plank to down dog
  • Shoulder taps

Push Ups

Begin on your knees, and reach down to place your hands on the floor. Lift your knees from the floor and distribute your weight evenly between your hands and toes. Keeping your back flat, bend at the elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Rise up and repeat.

>> Try this 30 Day Push Up Challenge for Beginners!


Begin in an elbow plank position, with your weight distributed evenly between your elbows and toes. Keeping your knees off the floor, rise up to a straight arm plank position, lifting one arm at a time. Once in a straight arm plank, lower back down to an elbow plank.

Mountain Climbers

Lower down to a straight arm plank position, with knees off the floor. Bend at the knee to bring one foot up near your waist, as if you were taking a step up a mountain. In quick succession, alternate feet, stepping one up toward your waist while bringing the other to its original position.


Stand in front of a bench, chair, or other sturdy surface that is about waist height. Reach behind you to place your hands on the edge of the bench. Extend your legs out in front of you as you bend at the elbows to lower your upper body towards the floor. Straighten your arms to lift back up, and continue to dip.

Pull Ups

Find a pull up bar and reach above with both hands, grabbing the bar about shoulder width apart. Avoid straining the neck as you bend your arms to lift your body up towards the bar. Lower with control back to a straight arm hanging position and continue to repeat.

Decline Push Ups

This calisthenics shoulder exercise is similar to a regular push up, but your feet are balanced on an elevated surface instead of the floor. Place your feet on a bench, stool, chair or other sturdy surface and reach your hands down to the floor to complete a push up.

Hand Stands

Begin in front of a wall, and bend down to place your hands on the floor. Walk your feet up the wall if necessary, or if advanced, raise both feet into the air while balancing on both hands. Lift your feet off the wall and balance.


This shoulder calisthenics can be completed in a couple different ways – either with a rowing machine, with weights, or in a plank position. If using weights, bend forward at the waist with a dumbbell in each hand. Let your hands drop towards the floor in a straight arm position, and then bend at the elbow to lift your weights towards your sides. Lower and repeat.

Plank to Down Dog

Begin in a straight arm plank position. In a single motion, lift your hips into the air and maintain a flat back as you rise into downward dog. Lower back down to return to plank position and repeat.

Shoulder Taps

Start in a straight arm plank position, maintaining a flat back and straight hips. Lift one hand and reach up to tap the opposite shoulder while staying in plank position. Lower your hand back to the floor and repeat with the opposite hand.

3 Shoulder Calisthenics Workouts

Try one or all of these calisthenics shoulder workouts to improve your shoulder strength and boost mobility. Each workout is broken down based on ability; starting with the beginner workout and progressing as quickly as you feel comfortable is a great strategy to avoid injury.

These 3 calisthenics shoulder workouts are suitable for all fitness levels. Plus the best 10 shoulder calisthenics exercises!

Beginner Calisthenics Shoulder Workout

  • Push ups x 15
  • Mountain climbers x 30
  • Dips x 20
  • Shoulder taps x 20
  • Plank to down dog x 10

Repeat x 3

Intermediate Calisthenics Shoulder Workout

  • Commandos x 20
  • Pull ups x 10
  • Row x 20
  • Mountain climbers x 30
  • Shoulder taps x 20

Repeat x 3

Advanced Calisthenics Shoulder Workout

  • Decline push ups x 15
  • Pull ups x 20
  • Hand stand x 30 seconds
  • Shoulder taps x 30
  • Dips x 30

Repeat x 3

These calisthenics shoulder workouts and exercises are suitable for all fitness levels, and easy to adapt to any workout environment. With no equipment required, they’re convenient to add on to any workout or training plan.

Try adding some of these shoulder calisthenics to your weekly training routine to improve full body fitness, mobility and reduce upper back and neck pain.

More shoulder exercises: