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Ultimate Shoulder Workout With No Weight

author image Sarka-Jonae Miller
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.
Ultimate Shoulder Workout With No Weight
Develop your shoulders without weights. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

An ultimate shoulder workout must hit all three portions of the shoulder or you risk a muscle imbalance. The main shoulder muscle group, the deltoids, possess front, side and back portions. You cannot target all three with a single exercise. However, when one part of the shoulder activates to lift weight, the other parts may activate to stabilize the joint. Use your body weight to target all three areas for a complete workout.


An ultimate shoulder workout requires specific variables. A repetition range of eight to 12 reps increases shoulder strength and size. Fewer repetitions are usually intended for very heavy weight training designed to improve maximal strength, which is the capability to lift something once. Start with two or three sets and work up to four. Work your shoulders two or three days a week to improve strength, but take at least one day to rest your shoulders between workouts.

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The scaption exercise is a modified lateral raise, which is a well-known exercise for the side deltoids. A 1999 study published in the "American Journal of Sports Medicine" found that scaption recruited muscle in the front and rear shoulders, serratus anterior, upper trapezius and middle trapezius, which are muscles in the upper back, chest and shoulders. The study did not test the side delts. To perform scaption, stand or lie with your stomach on a stability ball and extend your arms straight at a 30- to 45-degree angle in front of you, palms facing each other. Lift both arms to eye level.

Rear Delt Inverted Row

The rear delt inverted row targets the back portion of the deltoids, while muscles in the upper back, arms and rotator cuff assist. The exercise uses only your body weight and a fixed horizontal bar, similar to a pullup bar but lower to the ground. You can find a bar at a gym. Lie under the bar with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Grip the bar with your palms facing away from you. Adjust so that your arms are perpendicular to your body. Then, pull your upper torso toward the bar. Let your elbows flair out to the side.

Handstand Press

The handstand press targets the front of the shoulders. Muscles of the chest, arms, back and the side delts assist for this exercise. The handstand press uses your body weight and two exercise benches. Place the benches parallel to each other and slightly apart with one end next to a wall. Place your hands flat on the benches near the wall and kick your legs up into handstand position, letting your heels hit the wall. Keep your arms and legs are straight. Bend your arms to lower your head between the benches. Secure the benches so they don't slide.

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