3 At-Home Exercises to Develop Boulder Shoulders


Equipment required: Pair of light dumbbells (5 lbs. - 20 lbs.) would be ideal. But you can still work your shoulders at home without them.

Boulder shoulders - one of the cornerstones of a well-rounded physique. 

But besides the aesthetic benefits, and the way it indicates strength and vitality, strong shoulders are also vital for functionality.

By developing your shoulders, you’ll find it easier to do everyday tasks, whether that's playing sports or throwing heavy stuff around at work. Or even carrying your kids around the house. 

But can you work on your shoulders at home?

Yes, you definitely can.

Let’s take a look at three simple, yet effective shoulder exercises you can do at home. With the results you’ll see, you may just want to continue doing them even when/if you do get back to the gym.


3 shoulder exercises you can do from home

Let’s get to it. 



Before jumping into the main workouts, you need to warm up your shoulders first.

You can start with some push-ups.

Push-ups mainly work your chest and triceps. But your shoulders are also involved. 

The point here isn’t to do push-ups till you fail. You just want to do enough to get some blood pumping, your heart racing, and your shoulders muscles activated.

If you can, you can also go for a quick jog around the block, or at the neighborhood park.

The point of the warmup is to get your body “primed” for the main workout.

Pike Pushups

Pike push ups are typically taught as a foundational calisthenics movement for those looking to learn how to do a free-standing handstand, or free-standing handstand pushups.

Pike push-ups are an incredible exercise when it comes to developing shoulder strength. And not only for your shoulders, but entire upper body functional strength.

You can think of them like elevated push ups. 


You start in the “downward dog” position, if you’re familiar with yoga. Essentially you start in a plank position, and walk your hands and feet closer to each other to form an inverted V.

Then keeping the V, you lower your nose to the ground and press back up. 

If that sounds confusing, here is a great video tutorial from Global Bodyweight Training.


If you’re just getting started, aim for 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps. 

If you don’t have the shoulder mobility to perform this exercise, consider starting a yoga practice to improve shoulder mobility.

Incidentally, practicing yoga is another great way to build shoulder (and overall) strength from home. 

Lateral raises


If all you did was push ups and pike push ups, and yoga a couple times a week, you’d notice that your shoulders are getting stronger and more defined over time.

But if you really want to take it to the next level, especially from an aesthetic point of view, you need to add lateral raises to the mix. 

This exercise works the side of the shoulders, and when you develop this muscle, it really adds to the “boulder shoulders” look that we all want.

But for lateral raises, you’ll need to invest in some dumbbells. You could also get the job done with a backpack full of water bottles, but really, some dumbbells are ideal.

As far as how to do them, you’re most likely already familiar with these if you’ve spent any time at a gym.

You grab a pair of dumbbells and raise them laterally. But many people do them wrong.

They try to go too heavy, and end up having to use other muscles besides the shoulders to compensate for the excessive load.

For most people, a weight between 5-20 lbs. is plenty. Keep your shoulders down, your lats and core engaged, and think of extending your arms away laterally towards the sides of the room.

So, you’re not raising them “up” but rather “away” from your torso.

Here’s a great video from Men’s Health on the lateral raise.

Reverse fly

And finally, there’s the reverse fly.

This exercise is to target the rear deltoids to round out the shoulder and give your shoulders and upper body a well balanced look.

Same as the lateral raise, keep the weights low so you can focus on form. 

Once again, the focus should be on extending the arms away from your body, not necessarily raising them as high as possible.

Here’s another great video from Men’s Health on the reverse fly. Watch till the end for the no-bench option. 


Nutrition for shoulder development

Once you’re done with the exercises, you can’t neglect nutrition. Exercise stimulates the muscle recovery process. When you support that recovery with the right nutrition, you’ll see your muscles get bigger and stronger.


Try a protein shake with our grass-fed whey protein powder for a post-workout snack to support optimal recovery.

If you’re on a plant based diet, you can switch whey protein with our Vegan Naked Mass to make sure you get all nine essential amino acids needed for muscle recovery and growth.