10 Effective at Home Exercises to Build Strong Shoulders

at home shoulder workouts without weights

“Do I need dumbbells and a gigantic “Mega Shoulders 5000v GT RS” gym machine to strengthen my shoulders”

Absolutely not!

Have you ever seen gorilla shoulders? Do they own fancy a** gym equipment? -NO!

Have you ever seen gorilla shoulders? Do they own fancy a** gym equipment? The answer is NO! Click To Tweet

They eat bananas. 🙂

All you need is willpower, motivation, dedication and an arsenal of bodyweight exercises.

And the hometraininghero is here to help you along the way…

Today I’ve got 10 exercises and 1 workout routine to have you building strong shoulders at home in no time!

OK, lets check out how you can do at home shoulder workouts without weights:

No Equipment At Home Shoulder Exercises

Traditional Push-Ups

While this exercise tends to help your pectorals in the upper chest region, it also helps build up your deltoids.

You probably already know this timeless bodyweight exercise that both men and women should do regularly:

Simply lie face down and make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart with your legs stretched out behind you. Then use your chest to push yourself off the floor until your elbows are straight.

Build up gradually from a set of eight to 10, then 15.

You can always add more onto that to help add more muscle to your shoulder.

Jackknife Push-Up

If you want to do a version that works the shoulder more than the average push-up, then grab a chair. -But don’t sit down on it because the chair is going to be used as a prop.

Lean the chair against a wall, get down on your knees directly in front of the chair, then move your toes back onto the chair. Eventually, your feet are resting on the chair but you are raising yourself off the ground with your hands until your elbows are straight.

In this position, you are like an arch.

Gradually bend your elbows, but keep your hips up. You then lower your head towards the ground until it touches the floor. -Then, push yourself back up using your shoulders until your elbows are straight again to complete a rep.

This movement really works the deltoids making them burn as crazy. In addition your triceps will also get some hammering.

Forward Sliding Push-Up

Use two small towel cloths and make sure you are on a flat surface conducive to sliding.

Lay the two towels on the ground shoulder-width apart and place your hands on them. Bring your body to a push-up position with your hands still on the towels. Keep your arms stretched while your hands should be right below your shoulders.

Slide forward with one hand while the other remains in the same position. The sliding arm remains straight, but the supporting arm of behinds with the elbow close to the body. Your body gets lowered as if a regular push-up. Slide forward until your nose is close to the floor. Then, slide back to the original position.

Back at the starting position, slide the other hand forward and repeat the process. Do several alternating reps this way.


“Shoulders are the most commonly injured joints in the body. The unique and complex anatomy of the shoulder makes it the joint with the greatest range of motion but the least stability.”

Reference: rush.edu – 5 Facts About Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder Circles

A fairly simple exercise designed to strengthen your shoulders.

You stretch your arms apart in opposite directions and keep them parallel to the ground while standing up straight. Make small clockwise circles with your arms for 30-60 seconds. -Then reverse direction and repeat the motion counter-clockwise for another 30-60 seconds.

These motions help tone and stretch your deltoids. Given the use of your shoulder muscles, make sure to stretch them often to encourage blood circulation to the area.

Keep going until your shoulders feel soar as crazy!

Door Frame Shoulder Press

Crafted to build muscles in your shoulders, this exercise is a real gem!

Stand in a door frame and raise your arms over your head until they reach the top horizontal part of the frame. Push against the frame as hard as possible and hold the tension for at least 15-20 seconds. Release and bring the arms back down.

Pause for a few second, -then repeat the process a few times.

A variation of this is anterior shoulder stretch:

Stand just to the outside of the door frame. Spread your arms out to your elbows, but have your forearm and hands raised straight up. Your arms should be bent upwards at a 90 degree angle.

Press the elbows, forearms, and hands up against either side of the door frame. Lean forward, stretching parts of your shoulder muscle.

You feel that? That’s your shoulders and chest muscles begging for mercy…

Home Lateral Raise

Fill two large bottles with water or sand to serve as makeshift weights.

Stand with your feet apart at shoulder width. Hold each bottle in one hand by your sides. Raise the bottles laterally with your arms stretched out, but your elbows slightly bent. Raise until the bottles reach the height of your shoulders, then lower them for a rep.

Try to work up to eight to 12 reps at a time.

NB! To get a good workout, don’t start the motion with a swing. Also, breathe in as you raise your arms, then exhale until your arms are lowered.

Front Shoulder Raise With Towel


Go into your bathroom and grab yourself a towel.

Strange? Well, as a hometraininghero you use what you’ve got!

Hold towel at both ends shoulder-width apart and hold it out in front of you. Keep your feet apart and make sure knees are slightly bent throughout the exercise.

Pull the towel as hard as you can from both sides. Then, lower your arms slowly down before repeating and raising up again.

Once more, breathe in while raising -and exhale while lowering your arms.

A variation of this is the shoulder press. You hold the towel closer to your chest while stretching the ends. Then, you raise the towel and hands up over your head. Gain full extension with your arms, making them vertical with your body. Then, lower them back down to your chest.

Yes, I know. This exercise might sound silly… But the fact is that these exercises actually burn as he**. While pulling the towel to the sides you create resistance equal to a whole lot of lbs. Try for yourself!

There are a lot of different towel-exercises out there. For more inspiration, be sure to check out this article.

Reverse Plank With Chairs

A variation of the common exercise the plank, this exercise needs two chairs to serve as support.

Place the chairs side-by-side facing the same direction, shoulder-width apart. Sit down between the chairs and position the upper arms on the chair seats. The downside of your triceps area should be resting on the seats at a 90 degree angle with your forearms pointed to the ceiling.


Now, stretch out your legs in front of you. At this point, using your shoulder strength, lift your hips and bring your body up to a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds before lowering your hips to complete a rep.

Shoulder Pike Press

This exercise should not only strengthen your shoulders, but help your back and triceps.

Assume a push-up position, but with your knees on the ground as well as your feet. Then, lift your knees up and move your feet closer to your hands, Forming an upside-down V shape in relation to the ground. Make sure your back is straight while flexing your shoulder muscles.

Now bend your elbows slowly until your head almost touches the ground and hold for second. Then, extend your arms back out to complete a rep.

Eventually, you want to do about three sets of 10 reps. However, make sure you build up gradually to that point. To start, only do enough until you feel fatigue in your arms.

Forward Bear Crawl Down the Stairs

Be sure no one is home while doing this move. Just to warn you, it looks pretty darn silly…

Start at the top of the stairs.

Place both hands on the first step with your feet spread out behind you and your butt raised upward. Move one hand down a step with your feet in sync with your hand movements.

Then, move the second hand down while your feet still moving in sync with your movements. You can start by moving your hands down one step at a time, then advance downward one step by alternating your hands moving forward.

The reverse bear crawl up the stairs is exactly the reverse of this. You are in the same position starting at the bottom of the steps with your head facing away from the stairs. Move one feet backwards up a step with your hand mimicking the distance backward. Then, move your other foot one step farther up as if you are crawling backwards up the stairs.

If you have ever seen the movie “The Grudge”, that’s the movement you aim to mimic… 🙂

The at Home Shoulder Workouts Without Weights Routine

Okay, now that we have got some exercises going, lets mix some up and create an at home shoulder workout routine!

Were going for the usual myo-rep principle. -Heavy resistance, low amount of repetitions (4-6), and 10-20 seconds brakes between the sets.

Ok, here goes:

  • Front Shoulder Rise or Jack Knife Push-up 1 x 12-20, 5 x 3-6
  • Home Lateral Rise 1 x 12-15, 5 x 3-6
  • Forward Sliding Push-up 1 x 12-20, 5 x 3-6
  • Door Frame Shoulder Press 6 x press to failure (that means press until you cannot press anymore.

There you have it!

An easy, home-friendly shoulder routine to help strengthen up those shoulders of yours! If you’re a seasoned trainer these might not be enough to have your shoulders beg for mercy… In that case, I would recommenced adding a suspension trainer or a set of resistance bands to your equipment tool-pool.

By the way, here’s another strange looking,-yet effective 5-minute shoulder workout at home without weights routine. Enjoy:

Final Words – Weightless Shoulder Workouts is all You Need

Yeah, really.

A 10-15 minutes intensive at home shoulder workout once a week is all it takes to build a solid portion of beef in you shoulders. Excuses like “I do not have enough time”, or “it takes too much time to exercise” is all bull-sh**.

If you are ready to focus and give it your all, I can promise you that 10-15 minutes doing at home shoulder workouts without weights will be just as effective as 1 hour low-intensity at the gym…

Good luck!

Other Helpful Resources

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