Calisthenics Workout and Exercises for Bigger Shoulders

Shoulders are one of the most sought-after muscle groups that people want to improve.

Having bigger shoulders gives people that v shape for their upper body, and it is one of the muscles that have a significant impact on your overall physique. 

There is a common misconception that calisthenics workouts can’t provide enough stimulus for shoulders to grow. However, that is just a myth.

This article will share with you some calisthenics workouts and exercises that will get you bigger shoulders.

Decline and Handstand Push-ups

You can’t go wrong with push-ups. If you are looking to build an overall impressive and robust physique through calisthenics, then push-ups are the way to go.

Even the standard push-ups will provide enough resistance on the shoulder to make them grow, but if you genuinely want to get boulder shoulders, there are better options. 

If you are a beginner to intermediate calisthenics practitioner, then decline push-ups will be the best way to get bigger shoulders. To perform decline push-ups, find a way to elevate your legs when you are in a regular push-up position. 

For example, a chair or a table would work perfectly. The steeper the decline, the more the focus will be on your shoulders. 

However, if you can do more than 12 reps per set of decline push-ups, there is a better alternative. Handstand push-ups. 

Handstand push-ups provide a tremendous amount of strain on your shoulders, as you have to lift your whole body. Because of this, handstand push-ups are by far the best exercise for building bigger shoulders.

Let’s look at a simple workout routine that progresses for both the decline and handstand push up.

Once you can complete one level of the routine, you should move to the next level.

Note: If you are new to handstand push-ups then make sure you start by practising them against a wall.


  • Level 1: Five sets of as many decline push-ups that you can do (up to 12 per set)
  • Level 2: Five sets x 12 reps decline push-ups


  • Level 3: Five sets x 12 reps decline push-ups and also attempting to do one handstand push up
  • Level 4: Five sets x 12 reps weighted decline push up with a steep decline and performing 1-3 handstand push-ups at the end of the workout


  • Level 5: Five sets of as many handstands push-ups that you can do (up to 12 per set)
  • Level 6: Five sets x 12 reps of handstand push-ups
  • Level 7: Handstand push-ups with a weighted vest (as many as possible)

If you get to the point where you can do 12 reps of handstand push-ups, you will have an extraordinary level of strength that few people will ever possess. Not to mention shoulders that are huge too. 


Man performing dips

Another fantastic compound exercise. Dips work almost every muscle in the upper body, with the shoulders being one of the primary muscles involved with the movement. 

Like push-ups, dips can also be altered in many different ways to change the difficulty of the exercise.

For beginners, box dips are a great way to start building bigger shoulders. To perform box dips, get a box or chair, put it behind you, and then place your arms on it while facing forward and then lower your body to the ground. Again, the steeper the angle, the more difficult this exercise becomes.

If you have already been doing calisthenics for a while and you already have a good level of strength built up, then standard dips will work just fine for you. To do a normal dip, get two parallel bars and place them around shoulder-width apart. From then, hold them facing forward and lower your body, and then up again. You can also experiment with different hand positions to see which one you feel works your shoulders the most. 

For people who can already perform up to 12 reps of dips, weighted dips are your best friend. 

You can either use a weight belt and attach weights to increase the load or use resistance bands to achieve the same effect. 

A simple workout progression for dips would look like this; 


  • Level 1: Five sets of as many box dips that you can do (up to 12 per set)
  • Level 2: Five sets x 12 reps of box dips


  • Level 3: Five sets of as many regular dips that you can do (up to 12 per set)
  • Level 4: Five sets x 12 reps of regular dips


  • Level 5: Five sets of as many weighted dips that you can do (up to 12 per set)
  • Level 6: Five sets x 12 reps of weighted dips
  • Level 7: Increase weight as high as possible

With either of these calisthenics workouts and exercises, you can build truly impressive shoulders.

Both of these exercises are great for building shoulders, so pick which one you prefer and follow the workout we have given you. By the time you are on the last step of either one of them, you will have massive shoulders.

You could also utilise them both by making a workout routine that includes both exercises if you would prefer. 

Not only will both of these exercises build massive shoulders, but because they are both compound movements, they will build an incredible all-around physique

After you have followed either of our shoulder workouts for over a month, feel free to come back to this page and comment about your results.

Good luck!

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