Q: I’ve been training calisthenics for three years and making fantastic gains. My push-up, pull-up and pistol powers have gone through the roof. Now I’m looking to increase size and strength in my shoulders. How can I do that?

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The Kavadlo brothers (Al and Danny) are acclaimed fitness trainers and authors of the book >Next Level Strength.

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A: There are plenty of ways to build your shoulders using the power of progressive calisthenics. And if you aren’t training them with at least some calisthenics, then you could be short-changing your goals because they’re the perfect non-competing body part to train if you’re on a run or an outdoor cycle. Check out the workout below and you’re well on your way to sportin’ some boulder shoulders!


  1. Hindu Push-up
  2. A) Start in a plank, then lift your hips all the way in the air. Position your shoulders in a straight line with your hips and hands.
  3. B) Bend your elbows and lower your head towards the ground, while swooping your chest up and dropping your hips down. Reverse this motion to return to starting position.


  1. Pike Press-Up
  2. A) Begin like the Hindu push-up, with your hips in the air and shoulders in line with your hands and hips.
  3. B) Bend your elbows and lower your head toward the ground. This time, keep your hips in the air the entire time to place more weight on your shoulders. Extend your elbows and press yourself back to the top position.


  1. Handstand Push-up
  2. A) Kick up into a handstand, with your back against a wall.
  3. B) Bend at the elbow and lower your head to the ground, while keeping your body as straight as you can. Use your shoulders and arms to press yourself back to the start position.


  1. Dip
  2. A) Hold yourself upright between two parallel dip bars.
  3. B) Keep your chest up and lower yourself down, bending at the elbows and shoulders. Extend your elbows and press back to starting position.


The Workout

Hindu Push-up – 3 x 10

Pike Press-Up – 3 x 10

Handstand Push-up – 5 x 5

Dip – 3 x 15