How To Build Broader Shoulders With Bodyweight Calisthenics!

If you want to know how to build broader shoulders with calisthenics, you’re in the right place.

In this article I’m going to show you:

  1. The secret to looking broader with bodyweight calistheincs

  2. How to build your shoulders with bodyweight training

  3. The top bodyweight shoulder building exercises

The Secret To Building Broader Shoulders With Your Bodyweight

You’re here because like me, you probably have narrow shoulders.

And if you were born with narrow shoulders, there’s only one thing you can do about it:

You MUST build a V-taper.

The V-taper isn’t just about building broader shoulders, it comes from building a wide back as well as capped delts.

The V-taper gives the illusion of a narrow waist and broad shoulders, and gives you that wide look from the front and the back.

So how do you build the V-taper?

Simple – build your shoulders and your build back!

It is the back that will give you the wide look, while the shoulders are the icing on the cake!

Whats’s great is that calisthenics back exercises also build the shoulders, so working on one also builds the other.

Thus working your back and shoulders have a synergistic effect that will give you the coveted V-taper that you and I are looking for.

In this article, we’ll only talk about building cannonball delts. But if you want to know how to build a wide back as well, check out my article listed below.

Read More: Weighted Chin Ups – How To Build A Cobra Back And Python Arms!

What You Need To Know About Building Broader Shoulders

In order to build wide shoulders, you must get stronger!

For natural trainees like you and me, there is no other way!

Here’s why:

Your shoulder muscles (or deltoid) is made up of 3 different parts (or heads):

  1. Front (or anterior) delt – is highly involved in several pressing (or pushing) movements. It is responsible for lifting heavy weights – The Strong Head.

  2. Side (or lateral) delt – doesn’t get involved in many calisthenics movements. It is responsible for giving your shoulders that wider look – The Good Looking Head.

  3. Rear (or posterior) delt – is involved in all calisthenics pulling movements (rows, chin ups and pull ups). It is responsible for shoulder stability – The Wise Head.

In order to build huge shoulders, you’ll need to work all 3 heads.

The front and rear delts get worked during basic calisthenics pushing and pulling movements.

Thus, getting stronger these movements will give you most of your shoulder growth!

What’s more is these basic calisthenics movements will also work your chest, back, arms and abs!

But, just doing pushing and pulling movements will not give you the complete shoulder development you require.

Most calisthenics movements don’t effectively work the side delts. And it is the side delts that give your shoulders their width!

But, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.

Now that you know that just performing regular pushing and pulling movements will grow your front and rear delts, all we have to do is to focus on building the sides.

The following is your complete plan to building fully developed shoulders with calisthenics:

  1. Get yourself a pair of gymnastics rings.

  2. Work on your pushing movements.

  3. Work on your pulling movements.

  4. After you’ve done your pushing and pulling movements – work on your side delts.

Now you might be wondering, why I’ve mentioned the side delts last.

The answer is simple – pushing and pulling exercises are more taxing than side delt exercises.

Pushing and pulling exercises will build the rest of your upper body while giving you 2/3rd of your shoulder development.

Pulling movements will also build your lats, which are responsible for that coveted V-taper.

So always finish your pushing and pulling movements first, then work on your side delts.

But do NOT neglect building your side delts! They are extremely important when it comes to building broader shoulders!

So which pushing, pulling and side delt bodyweight exercise do I suggest performing?

Read on to find out!

The Best Bodyweight Exercises For Building Broader Shoulders

The following exercises are the best bodyweight shoulder building exercises that will also build your chest, arms, back and abs!

I have listed them in order of difficulty for your to follow based on your abilities:

Best Bodyweight Front Delt Exercises

The handstand push up is one of the best bodyweight shoulder exercises.

Handstand push ups work the entire shoulder, with emphasis on the front delt, followed by the side and rear delts respectively.


Pike push ups are direct regression of handstand push ups and target the same muscles.

Do these if you cannot perform handstand push ups.

If you cannot perform handstand push ups, any old push up variation will do just fine!

But make sure you are working your way up to performing handstand push ups!

Read more: Push Up Progressions For The Beginner, Intermediate And Advanced

But, if the side delts are what we should be focusing on, so why perform push ups?

Push up variations scale well, a lot of progressive overload can be placed on the shoulder muscles over time in order to stimulate growth.

Read More: Calisthenics Progression Systems – The Secret To Superhuman Strength

The other exercises mentioned on this list will be very hard to scale with time.

You won’t be able to make as much progress with them as you will with your pushing variations.

So make sure to put in maximum effort when it comes to this movement.

As I’ve already mentioned above, push ups will also work your chest, arms and abs, so no negotiation here.

Dips are another pushing movement that works the front delts well!

Like push ups, dips will also build your chest and triceps, in fact dips will place more tension on the shoulder than push ups.

Best Bodyweight Rear Delt Exercises

Any bodyweight pulling movement you perform will work the rear delts.

This means rows, pull ups and chin ups all work the rear delts quite well.

What’s more is that these exercises will also build your lats, thus contributing to that V-taper.


The rear delts complete the three dimensional shoulder look.

So, if you really want to work on your rear delts (and you should), then rear delt flys and face pulls on rings are your best friends.

Ring face pulls are a pulling exercise that works the rear delts and upper back. It is one of my favorite rear delt exercises.

You can make good progress with this exercise as well, although not to the level that you can progress with your pushing movements.

Ring flys are great too!


Best Bodyweight Exercises For Side Delts

Y-raises and dolphin push ups aren’t well known bodyweight exercises.

This is because the bodyweight y-raise is mostly done on gymnastics rings, while dolphin push ups come from yoga.

But these two bodyweight exercises can place immense tension on the side delts. thus building broader shoulders with just your bodyweight!

Pick any one, or do both of these exercises after you’ve done your main pushing movements.

If you’re performing y-raises, then you will need a good pair of gymnastics rings, while dolphin push ups can be done without any equipment.

Out of these two exercises, I prefer the y-raise because it targets all heads of the shoulder well!

Y-raises also also an excellent trap exercise.


To make Y-raises harder, reduce the angle of inclination of your body.

Dolphin push ups also build the traps while building the side delts.


To make dolphin push ups harder, place your feet on an elevated surface. Decline dolphin push ups will really place a lot of tension on the side delts.

Remember, perform your side delt exercise after your pushing and pulling movements for best results!


Building a V-taper is the best way to look like you have broader shoulders.

The great thing about building broader shoulders with bodyweight training is that all the exercises work together to build a better physique!

Bodyweight pulling exercises help build your rear delts, while bodyweight pushing exercises help build the front.

The only part of the shoulders that need proper stimulation with bodyweight training is the side delts.

Using the bodyweight exercises mentioned above will help build broader shoulders, while building a wider back, bigger arms and a thicker chest at the same time!

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