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20 Hardest Shoulder Exercises without Weights

by Todd Kuslikis on November 07, 2011

hardest shoulder exercise 150x150 20 Hardest Shoulder Exercises without WeightsBelow you’ll find some of the hardest shoulder exercises imaginable, all without using weights. There is something to be said about being able to do a one handed handstand pushup that is more impressive than being able to lift 100 lbs over your head. They both take great strength and it takes incredible commitment to be able to do both, but there just seems to be something more impressive about the first one. It takes more coordination, more whole body strength.

What Makes A Shoulder Exercise Hard?

The angle of the exercise is essentially what makes a shoulder exercise difficult. The shoulder muscle is made up of the anterior, middle and poster deltoid. Its function is to move the arm upward. So naturally, you may think that there couldn’t really be too many variations to a shoulder exercise. Yet as the below 20 hardest shoulder exercises prove, there can be many, many variations. Also, there was a Harvard Study that showed a simple thing to make exercising more effective. Here a link the article. It’s called: 1 Obscure Trick to Make ANY Exercise Program More Effective. You may want to think about incorporating it to the program.

Which Hard Shoulder Exercise Can I Do?

Shoulder strength is definitely something I need to work on more. I can do a One Arm Pushup but that is about as far down on the list that I can get. How about you? I am so impressed by the people that can do the shoulder exercises toward the bottom. This takes incredible strength and so many years to be able to do. I definitely want to work up this list of shoulder exercises so some day I can do a one handed handstand pushup.

So…I know you’ve been waiting for…

20 Hardest Shoulder Exercises without Weights

20. Single Arm Plank


19. Shoulder Pushups


18. TRX Shoulder Pushups


17. Handstand Pushup with Wall


16. Bucket Circles


15. One Arm Pushup


14. Nakayama-Planche


13. Human Flag


12. Human Flag Push Up


11. Manna


10. Handstand on Bosu Ball


9. Supported One Arm Handstand Pushup


8. Full Planche


7. Planche Pushups


6. 90 Degree Handstand Pushups


5. Straddle Planche


4. One Arm Handstand


3. Straddle Planche Clap Pushups


2. Hand Hops


1. Iron Cross


Insane Bonus! – One Arm Handstand On Canes


  1. Devon
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    I like the song for hand hops.=-)

    • Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:19 am


      • jerwin
        Posted February 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

        Hi todd this is jerwin from india im new to bodyweight before trying bodyweight I was harcore weight training person . Well im plagued from back pains I mean doctor told me anymore nonsense weightlifting you will be in wheel chair I can do standard push up and pull up now seeing there are advavanced moves in bodyweight movements is it safe for my back .pls advice

  2. Devon
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    How about bucket circles without the bucket?

  3. Tysen
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Hello Mr.Kuslikis I was wondering if you knew of any Trap exercises? Im having a hard time hitting my traps with bodyweight exercises…

    • Posted September 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Hi Tysen,

      Try getting in a dip position (arms straight) and doing reverse shoulder shrugs. Also, handstands will help with trap strength too.

  4. tysen
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for your help

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