Tip: Build Big Shoulders With Bodyweight

Develop this skill and you'll not only build your delts and triceps, you'll also improve your shoulder health. You might even have some fun.


The handstand walk is a long-term skill to acquire, but it's definitely worth learning. The progressions are quite attainable and provide a unique pump that'll make your triceps and shoulders burn like nothing else.

An added bonus is the open shoulder position, which helps with thoracic mobility. Plus, having your weight on your hands builds a crazy amount of shoulder stability that you just don't get with barbells.

All you need is something to elevate your feet. This could be a box, bench, sofa, bed, chair, etc. Then you have five different exercises:

  1. Holding the handstand position, aiming for a vertical torso
  2. Shoulder taps
  3. Walking from side to side
  4. Feet elevated push-ups
  5. Pike push-ups

Which exercises you use will be based on your individual level and skillset. I recommend practicing each exercise individually until you're confident. Set markers to hit for each exercise such as:

  • 30 second holds
  • 20 shoulder taps unbroken
  • A 360-degree walk around (both directions)
  • 10 elevated push-ups
  • 5 pike push-ups

If you can do these easily then you can start having fun. For example, try using a set of 20-30 shoulder taps as a drop set after heavy presses!

One of my favorite rep schemes for these movements is a five-round descending ladder:

Round 1

  • 10 shoulder taps
  • Walk halfway around the box
  • 5 pike push-ups or elevated push-ups
  • Walk back to where you started (if you initially walked to the right, walk left to go back)

Round 2

  • 8 shoulder taps
  • Walk halfway
  • 4 pike push-ups or elevated push-ups
  • Walk back

Round 3

  • 6 shoulder taps
  • Walk halfway
  • 3 pike push-ups or elevated push-ups
  • Walk back

Round 4

  • 4 shoulder taps
  • Walk halfway
  • 2 pike push-ups or elevated push-ups
  • Walk back

Round 5

  • 2 shoulder taps
  • Walk halfway
  • 1 pike push-up or elevated push-up
  • Walk back

Aim to break up your sets as little as possible. If you can do all five rounds unbroken – without coming down between the sets – you win! The prize is shoulder gains and a massive pump.

Tom Morrison is a British weightlifting coach, martial artist, and CrossFit trainer and competitor. Tom works with athletes on prerequisite movement capabilities for optimal strength, performance, and reduced risk of injury.  Follow Tom Morrison on Facebook