WORST Bodyweight Exercises for the Shoulder

I am down here in Las Vegas at a Fitness Mastermind. Mike and I woke up early, so we decided to head outside and do some videos for you. In this video, I wanted to go through the Worst Bodyweight Exercises for your Shoulders.

The video we shared below is funny.

I got in trouble with security while filming videos in Las Vegas.

Enjoy the article and the very funny video.

Rick Kaselj, MS

WORST Bodyweight Exercises for the Shoulder – Part 1

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

Bodyweight exercises are becoming popular, and I see more and more people doing them in the gym or even working out at home without equipment. But there are three exercises that people are doing at home or in the gym, leading to injuries and damaging their shoulders. This becomes a big issue for many people, especially guys focusing on upper body work. And when you end up injuring your shoulder, it’s difficult to do upper body work, and often people abandon their workouts because they don’t want to do a lower body workout.

Watch this video and learn about the three bodyweight exercises you should avoid to decrease the likelihood of injuring your shoulders. Also, I will show you ways to correct those exercises. This is a continuation of the video I started in Las Vegas with Mike Whitfield. We had to stop filming because security informed us that we could not film on private property. Now I am back home and can continue with this video.

WORST Bodyweight Exercises for the Shoulder – Part 2

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

Bodyweight exercises are easy to do. You can do them anywhere because all you require is your body weight and perhaps some other props to assist with the movements. Today, I will share three exercises that put a lot of stress on the shoulders, increase your risk of a shoulder injury, and can irritate an old shoulder injury.

WORST Bodyweight Exercises for Shoulders 1. Tricep Dip

I will use a chair here, but this can often be done with a bench in a gym setting. You can go through this movement with your legs straight or slightly bent. When I go through this movement, I am lowering down and pushing back up, lowering down and pushing back up.

tricep Dip

Tricep Dip

Now with this exercise, the normal range of motion in the shoulder is from here to about 45 degrees.

Normal Movement of the Shoulders at 45 degrees

Normal movement of the shoulders at 45 degrees

Bringing those elbows further back and going past 45 degrees puts a lot more stress on the shoulders and takes the shoulder blades and tilts them forward. This ends up mashing up all the tissues in the shoulders, specifically the rotator cuffs.

Narrow Grip Push-Up (alternative)

An alternative that you can do is the Narrow Grip Push Up.

Narrow Grip Push Up

Narrow Grip Push Up

I place my hands underneath my shoulders. I can go from the knees or the feet, lower down and press up. The elbows are tight to me. My arms are tight to me. I have a good grip on my hands. And I am lowering down to the floor and pressing back up. I am working the chest, pushing and isolating the tricep muscles.

WORST Bodyweight Exercises for Shoulders 2. Crab Walk

This is a bodyweight cardio exercise that you often see people doing with the increased popularity of CrossFit. How it works is I am reaching back and walking backward with my hands.

Crab Walk

Crab Walk

I can have my fingers pointed wherever I want, but the Crab Walk is like the Tricep Dip. You know what a normal range of motion for most people is. When you start going past 45 degrees, it puts unnecessary stress on your shoulders. That unnecessary stress can lead to injuries. It can lead to re-injury and could increase the risk of a future injury, so it is not worth doing this exercise.

Now, there might be a sports performance reason that you do the exercise, but for the average person, it’s not an exercise that I recommend.

Bear Crawl (alternative)

This is a better exercise that you can do. I am in a four-point position. I will lift my knees slightly and alternate moving my arms and legs.

Bear Crawl

Bear Crawl

This is a far better exercise for the shoulders because now you are placing the load through the arms. The armload activates the rotator cuff muscles, which is what we want to do. By activating those scapular muscles, the shoulders are being put in a good position for strengthening. Plus, that alternating arms and legs movement is a pattern we want to promote and encourage because that is how the body naturally moves.

WORST Bodyweight Exercises for Shoulders 3. Kipping Pull Up

I am not going to be able to demonstrate this. It isn’t easy to describe it, but it has become very popular with the rise in CrossFit. It is a way of building momentum to do more pull-ups in a shorter period. This momentum puts a lot of stress on the shoulders. If you have a previous injury, it’s not exactly the best exercise to do.

Chin Up (alternative)

A better alternative is to go with the standard Chin Up. Grab the bar with your grip about shoulder-width apart and your palms facing inward. Keep your elbows close to your body. Pull yourself up and lower yourself back down.

Chin Up

Chin Up

With this exercise, you won’t be able to complete as many repetitions as you can with the Kipping Pull Up, but it is a lot better for your shoulders. Your arms are close to your body, which is a good power position for your shoulders. You can keep your body in good alignment.

There you go! Those are the 3 Worst Bodyweight Exercises for your Shoulders. If you are looking at doing any bodyweight Tricep exercises, like a Tricep Dip, make sure to switch it up with the Narrow Grip Push Up. If you are looking at doing any Crab walking, switch it up for that Bear Crawl. And then thirdly, if you are doing any Kipping Pull Ups, switch it up and give Chin Ups a go. Those better alternatives.

Now, if you are looking for more tips like the above, then check out Bodyweight Corrective Exercises here:

Bodyweight Corrective Exercises

Rick Kaselj, MS