Best Bodyweight Exercises For Shoulders And Back

Strengthening your shoulders and back at home isn’t as difficult as many people think. We will help you find the best bodyweight exercises for shoulders and back that you can do at home.

Even if you don’t have access to various machines like a cable machine, a pull-up machine, or a shoulder press, you can still increase shoulder strength, durability, and balance using your body weight.

The best bodyweight exercises mimic everyday movements of your back and shoulders like lifting, reaching, and supporting your weight. And when done regularly, they can improve your overall strength.

Below, I will share the best bodyweight exercises for shoulders and back, so let’s begin.

Best Bodyweight Exercises For Back

Back problems have become a common issue because of today’s way of life. Everyone spends too much time sitting and that’s what paralyzes hips, shortens hamstrings, and causes overall body pain.

All of this leads to back issues for many people. Fortunately, you can resolve back problems over time by “attacking” your core region with exercises that open your hips and stretch your whole body.

The following bodyweight exercises for the back will also prevent developing back pain down the road. They will help strengthen your ligaments, tendons, and muscles, providing you a more flexible back.

90/90 stretch

The 90/90 stretch affects various muscles around your hip abductors and flexors, piriformis, psoas, and adductors. It’s great for improving mobility and reducing pain in your upper and middle back.

I like it because it counteracts the effects of sitting and doesn’t require any equipment. Take a lying position on the floor on your left side. Keep your legs tucked into your torso at a 90-degree angle.

Make sure your arms are straight and parallel to your knees. Keep your knees together, then rotate your chest and right arm to the right, placing your back on the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, then let go.

Watch this Video: This I How To Perform The 90/90 Stretch Properly


Everyone can enjoy the benefits of this effective exercise. It’s excellent for stretching hamstrings, glutes, lower back muscles, and abs. It also complements exercises like sit ups and leg raises.

Take a lying position as your chest faces the floor and make sure your arms reach straight out in front of you. Then, squeeze your lower back and glutes to lift your arms and chest off the ground.

Watch this Video: Tutorial On How To Do Superman The Right Way

Hand walk

The hand walk resembles the bear crawl and spider crawl. It’s perfect for working out the core. Although this simple exercise targets every part of your body, it’s especially beneficial for your abs.

The hand walk activates the lower back, glutes, legs, upper torso, and shoulders. If you lack balance and stability, this exercise is for you. It’s also excellent for lengthening the lower back muscles.

Watch this Video: Learn How To Do Hand Walk in 5 Minutes


There’s no other exercise like pull ups. It’s perfect for developing and maintaining that V-shaped back. It’s also great for strengthening shoulder and arm muscles if done properly and consistently.

Pull ups affect the upper back, shoulders, forearms, biceps, and chest. When performing pull ups, ensure you’re not kicking your legs. Keep them straight and pointing a bit forward as you go up.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Perfect Pullup

Inverted row

When you’re done with all the exercises I’ve mentioned so far, it’s time for something that will improve your grip and upper body strength, boost your biceps, and activate your glutes.

The inverted row complements any full-body training. Just place a barbell at hip height on a power rack. Then, get under the barbell and grab it with both your hands at shoulder-width apart.

I suggest that you straighten out your legs for even better results. You will feel that this exercise makes your body engage many muscle groups at the same time as you execute the pull.

Watch this Video: Everything You Need To Know About The Inverted Row

The cobra pose

The cobra pose comes with a bunch of benefits. It’s excellent for back pain and relief and mobilizing the spine. Thanks to the strong muscular engagement, it activates and improves the spine, arms, shoulders, legs, and buttocks. If you want to keep your back healthy, this is the pose for you.

It doesn’t require any equipment and also tones your spinal nerves and whole body. If you do the cobra pose regularly, you will also improve your liver and kidney functions, and digestion.

Watch this Video: Beginner’s Guide To The Popular Cobra Pose

Glute bridge

Creator: Kelli Wholey

If you’re looking for a bodyweight exercise that will strengthen your lower back, look no further than the glute bridge. It’s the perfect warm-up that also tones your glutes.

This exercise will add pressure to your glute bridge motion, improving your whole training. It also boosts your core muscles which help in regular everyday activities and moving, in general.

Keep in mind that every bridging provides benefits for your back. However, it’s never good when you lift very high. Otherwise, you will overwork your low back muscles.

Watch this Video: The Right Way Of Doing The Glute Bridge

Reverse snow angel

Remember the snow angels you used to do when you were a child? Well, this exercise resembles those movements and targets your lats. It’s great for improving posture and stability.

To perform this exercise, all you have to do is take a lying position with your face down, legs extended, and feet together. It’s a pretty straightforward but still super effective back exercise.

You will notice that this motion targets the external rotators of your shoulders and helps you build great strength in your shoulder area. Thus, your upper body mobility will also improve.

Watch this Video: Tutorial On How To Do The Reverse Snow Angel

Band pulldown

The band pulldown seems like a straightforward and effortless move, however, it’s effective for working out your back. All you need is a resistance band and your body weight.

This exercise targets not only your upper back but also your abs, forearms, biceps, deltoids. Therefore, if you want to build a muscular back while tackling other muscles, do band pulldown.

When you’re piecing together your bodyweight training routine, include this exercise for your back. It’s perfect for strengthening your latissimus dorsi, the broad back muscle.

Watch this Video: Learn How To Do A Banded Lat Pulldown At Home


I will close off this section with one of the hardest exercises that’s popular among fitness junkies. If you can perform over 10 pullups, you can also do a muscle-up, so don’t worry.

Keep in mind that it’s a more advanced exercise that requires your upper body to do pulling and pushing movements. Your core strength should be solid for you to do this exercise properly.

I highly recommend muscle-up for everyone who trains at home because it adds a lot of benefits such as strengthening your upper body strength, deltoids, pectorals, lats, and triceps.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Perform A Muscle-Up At Home

Best Bodyweight Exercises For Shoulders

The largest shoulder muscle, the deltoid, expands across the front and back of your acromioclavicular joint (AC) and the top of the humerus, providing your shoulder that rounded shape.

Therefore, you should aim to strengthen this muscle along with every surrounding muscle such as your traps, lats, triceps, and rhomboids. Using machines, weights, and resistance bands can deliver noticeable results. However, utilizing the best bodyweight exercises for shoulders can also develop and build shoulder muscles.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most effective bodyweight exercises for shoulders. They don’t require any equipment. However, make sure to gear up with persistence.


This pose improves the flexibility of your shoulders, neck, and spine. It also activates the muscles of your hips, abdomen, back, and chest. In the process, you also activate the tailbone.

Meaning, cat-cow makes a great exercise for releasing tension in your upper back and neck. It’s ideal for people who sit around all day but I usually perform this exercise as a warm-up.

The cat position stretches your neck and back, relaxes your spine, and improves focus, whereas the cow pose stretches your chest and torso, relaxes shoulders, and improves flexibility.

Watch this Video: Guide On How To Do The Cat-Cow Exercise


I like the inchworm exercise because it’s a full-body exercise that improves flexibility and strength. It’s a great exercise for activating your torso and shoulder muscles.

The only equipment you need for this exercise is your weight. It’s a highly effective and dynamic exercise inspired by the unique and rhythmic movements of inchworms.

The inchworm exercise targets your whole core, chest, arms, and upper back. However, it’s also good for boosting strength within your shoulders, deltoids, and chest.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Perform The Inchworm

Downward dog and pushup

The pushup version of this exercise activates both your shoulders and upper back as you switch between the two poses. If you’re having a hard time, drop to your knees for the pushup.

Keep in mind that with constant and proper practice, your whole body will get used to this movement. If you have a larger body, you might experience some pain in some sections of your body.

However, don’t forget that this exercise comes with a lot of benefits such as stretching your lower body, strengthening your upper body, stimulating your blood flow, and improving your posture.

The name comes from the resemblance to the manner a dog stretches when getting up. It’s a demanding pose that can result in certain injuries due to a lack of spine stability, so stay cautious.

Watch this Video: Tutorial On How To Do The Perfect Down Dog Push-Up

Side planks

The side planks don’t only activate your obliques but also strengthen your shoulder joints as you keep a steady position with your arm. You can mix side planks with pushups for better results.

I highly recommend side planks for everyone who trains at home because it’s great for producing strong obliques that can improve your posture, protect your spine, and decrease the risk of back pain.

As you will notice if you try this exercise, side planks will also activate your shoulder muscles, glutes, and the lat muscles in your upper back. It’s a basic but effective exercise for your whole body.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Perfect Side Plank


The commandos seem like a simple exercise but they’re very challenging. I like this exercise because it’s great for strengthening arms and shoulders by challenging the stabilizing shoulder muscles.

Commandos strengthen your shoulders, core, arms, and chest, all in one! It’s also excellent for boosting stability and balance by activating your glutes, back, shoulders, arms, core, quads, and calves.

Another thing I like about this exercise is that it increases your heart rate. It also helps burn belly fat and improves the strength of your whole body. The best part? It doesn’t require any equipment.

Watch this Video: Learn How To Do A Commando Properly

Bear crawl

The only thing that this exercise requires is free space where you can extend your body. It’s a movement that strengthens your shoulders, core, and overall stability.

In my opinion, the bear crawl is a full-body exercise that puts different muscle groups to work and offers a great core challenge. Thus, find a wider space and get on all fours!

Adding this exercise to your bodyweight training is a sure way to get more power and strength as well as improving metabolism and enhancing your cardio fitness immensely.

The reason why I like this exercise is that it’s pretty straightforward. Its one of the best bodyweight exercises for shoulders. And you can do it anywhere. It uses and increases the strength in your shoulders, abs, and quads.

Watch this Video: Guide On How To Perform Bear Crawl Correctly

Elevated pike pushup

If you really want to build shoulder strength and improve your core stability, try elevated pike pushups. They target your shoulders, chest, core, back, and arms, and help tone your upper body.

You can perform this exercise on a bench, table, chair, or box. Take the downward dog position and put your hands broader than shoulder-width and fingers pointing forward. It’s pretty straightforward.

Then, bend your elbows and inhale as you decrease your head until it almost touches the floor in a slow manner. As you slowly push back up, strengthen your arms by not locking your elbows. To activate your shoulders more, put your hands broader than shoulder distance and you will notice great results.

However, if you want to activate your triceps, set your hands at shoulder distance apart. This movement can provide major strength. It’s challenging but adds additional weight to your shoulders.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Pike Pushup Properly

Triceps dips

Dips, in general, can help you build and maintain bigger arms. However, if you want to step up your dips game, try triceps dips. They’re also known as chair dips and target your tricep muscles.

According to studies, chair dips make a perfect choice for tricep muscles because they’re super effective. Therefore, if you want to build bulky arms and put your shoulders to work, do triceps dips.

Just get onto the parallel bars and keep your arms straight. Make sure your body moves forward slightly, and hold your shoulders down. Cross your legs and bend your knees in a comfortable pose.

You can also use a band for assistance. Lastly, bend your elbows and decrease your body down until your arms become parallel to the ground. Additionally, keep your elbows close to your body.

Watch this Video: Tutorial On How To Execute Triceps Dips Correctly

Mountain climbers

Since this exercise uses different muscle groups, it’s a very effective way of activating and strengthening your shoulders, arms, back, core, and legs.

The mountain climbers can improve your joint movement, reflex speed, and stability. However, if you’re a beginner, perform only 10-15 mountain climbers in a row.

And if you’re a more advanced fitness junkie, begin with sets of 25-30 mountain climbers in a row. I also want to mention that this exercise is also good for endurance.

You will develop excellent agility and core strength. But here’s the kicker. Since it’s a cardio exercise, you will also burn calories and enjoy heart health benefits.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Mountain Climbers Exercise Right

Incline pushups

Last but certainly not least, I would suggest doing incline pushups. They’re a beneficial exercise for chest muscles but also put deltoids to work.

So, if you haven’t already included this exercise in your training, now it’s time to do it and enjoy various benefits such as increased upper body strength.

Incline pushups also help you build muscle in the arms, chest, and core if you do them properly. Simply place yourself behind a stable, elevated surface.

Then, put your hands about shoulder-width apart and create a straight line with your body from head to toe. Keep your neck neutral and start exercising.

Make sure to keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle and go down as much as you can. Finally, push back up to start. It’s a super-effective exercise.

Watch this Video: Guide On How To Perform Incline Pushups The Right Way

Best Bodyweight Exercises For Shoulders And Back – Final Tips

My last tip is that you make a concise plan and stick to it if you want to see positive results.

Meaning, if you want to train your back and shoulders at home but don’t have a lot of free time on your hands, perform a partial bodyweight training routine. Start small and work your way up as you go!

Over time, you will notice positive results and improvement. Additionally, talk to your doctor if you take some medications or have any health issues that may cause complications in your training routine.

Share your advice and questions in the comments and let’s continue the discussion below. What are your best bodyweight exercises for shoulders and back from this post?