5 Best Shoulder Push-Ups To Build Strength & Mass

 The push-up is one of the best bodyweight exercises for targeting muscles of the upper body. While most people are familiar with the standard push-up, but some people want to push up variations that train the shoulder muscles.

This article details which push-ups work on the shoulder, how to perform them, common mistakes.

What is Shoulder Push-Ups

Shoulder push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise for building upper body strength. Despite its name, the benefits of practicing shoulder push-ups extend beyond the shoulders—this exercise helps build muscles in your triceps, glutes, and pecs.

Shoulder Push-up is one of the greatest general conditioning exercises for the outdoor athlete, it can be performed, regardless of where you are and, best of all, they are completely free—no expensive equipment or no annual gym fees required!

Practicing shoulder push-ups with proper form can improve your shoulder joint health and reduce shoulder pain.

5 Best Push-ups for Shoulder

1. Pike Push Up

Pike Push-ups aka shoulder push up is a variation of the push-up that increases strength and stability in the shoulders and triceps. 

Performing the exercise in a more upright position will target the shoulders more than the chest.

Pike Push Up

How to do Pike Push-Ups

  1. Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and elbows completely locked out.
  2. Lift the hips up and back until your body forms an inverted V shape. Keep arms and legs as straight as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the top of your head towards the ground. Once your head is about to make contact with the ground, pause for a second.
  4. Then slowly push back until your arms are straight, and you’re in the inverted V position.
Tips
  • Make sure you maintain control throughout the movement.

2. Hindu push-up

The Hindu push up is common in Indian physical culture and Indian martial arts, particularly Pehlwani. Bruce Lee also used it in his training regime.

Hindu push-up is an incredible exercise to develop stronger shoulders, pectoral, arms, core, and spine.

Each repetition includes going from a downward dog position to a cobra pose, swooping by holding the head and body close to the ground.

Hindu pushup

How to do Hindu Push-Ups

  1. Start in a downward dog pose, with your hands shoulder-width apart, your body in a V shape, and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest until it’s just above the floor, going into low plank pose.
  3. In a scooping motion, scoop your head upward while arching your lower and upper back and go into cobra pose.
  4. Return to the starting position, you do not need to reverse back through the sweeping, arching motion. Simply push back into the starting position.
Tips
  • Engage your core, relax the spine and neck, open the shoulders and keep the movement smooth.
  • Remember to breathe correctly as you do the push-ups.

3. Clapping push-up

Clapping Push-ups aka Plyometric push up, with this type of push up, a “jumping” element is added to the exercise to make it more challenging and explosive.

Many athletes perform them to help improve their athletic performance by building strength, endurance, and speed.

Clapping push-up

How to do Clapping Push-Ups

  1. Start in a standard Push-Ups with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you.
  2. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Brace your core by contracting your abs.
  3. Start to lower your body as if you’re going to do a push-up until your chest is almost touching the floor.
  4. Reverse the motion by pushing hard through the palms, just as your arms reach full extension, pull your hands up off the floor. Rapidly clapping the hands together and placing them back in the original position before your body falls back to the ground.
Tips
  • Be sure to exhale when exploding off the ground and inhaling on the way down.
  • Do not let the elbows flare out. Keep the elbows close to your sides throughout.
  • Keep the core tight and back flat throughout the movement.

4. Elevated pike push-up

By elevating your feet on a box, you advance these holds because you are now stabilizing a heavier percentage of your bodyweight on your arms.

Each of the setups steps from above still applies. This step allows you to make greater strength gains while also eliminating the fear of falling over.

Elevated pike push-up

How to do Elevated pike push-up

  1. Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and elbows completely locked out. Elevate your feet to an appropriate height for your current strength.
  2. Lift the hips up and back until your body forms an inverted V shape. Keep arms and legs as straight as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the top of your head towards the ground. Once your head is about to make contact with the ground, pause for a second.
  4. Then slowly push back until your arms are straight, and you’re in the inverted V position.
Tips
  • Be sure to have first mastered the pike press before trying the elevated pike press.
  • Make sure you maintain control throughout the movement.
  • Keep your back neutral and knees straight throughout the exercise.

5. Handstand Push Up

The handstand push-up also called the vertical push-up is a type of push-up exercise where the body is positioned in a handstand.

It requires significant strength, as well as balance and control if performed freestanding.

Handstand push-ups increase the load on the shoulder and triceps brachii muscles significantly over regular push-ups.

Handstand Push Up

How to do Handstand Push-Ups

  1. Place hands about 6-12 inches away from the wall and slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Make sure palms are facing forward, or slightly turned out 5-10 degrees.
  2. Kick up into a handstand, with your heels touching the wall. Once you have kicked up, establish a strong, rigid midline position.
  3. While maintaining this position, lower yourself until the top of your head touches the floor/mat. Try to keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle as you lower.
  4. Once your head touches the floor, press up with the same tightness you had lowering yourself, until your elbows reach full extension.
Tips
  • Not to arch your back and keep contract your abs.
  • Do not do this move on consecutive days. Rest for at least 2 days before trying this move again to give your body time to recover.
  • Point your toes, squeeze your glutes, and grip the ground with your fingertips for a better feeling of stability.

Training Tips

  • For the shoulder push-ups, begin by performing 2–3 sets of 8–15 repetitions. Choose the exercises as per your fitness levels. And also choice your sets and repetitions based on your ability to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions.
  • To see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.

Takeaways

Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of push-ups, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs.

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