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Rocca Press — Bodyweight Exercise For Muscled Shoulders

Written by shapeshifter

The Rocca Press is one of our staple exercises when it comes to sculpting impressive shoulders with bodyweight training only. Take a look…

As you can see, the Rocca looks a lot like doing a “shoulder press”, but upside down and using your body weight for resistance instead of using weights. You can change the amount of resistance by changing the angle of your body. Bringing your hands up off the ground using a prop will make it easier. Raising your feet onto a box, or even placing them against a wall, will increase the resistance.

Here are a few of the fine points of the Rocca press:

  • Start in a push up position and press the butt towards the sky
  • Drop your head down until your ears are by your biceps
  • Your hands, head and hips should form one straight line
  • Lower the top of your head to the ground between your hands
  • The head slides along the straight line from hands to hips

There you go, everything you need to build great shoulders, anywhere, anytime! Let’s be clear though. When it comes to getting hyooge, bodyweight training is NOT your tool of choice. For that, you’ll have to hit the gym — no two ways around it. But if you want that lean, sleek, muscular look — kinda like a male gymnast — bodyweight training has you covered.

Have you tried the Rocca? If not, give it a try now and let us know what you think…

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  • hey Adam and Ryan,

    Awesome exercise guys! Really enjoyed this one… have you ever tried an unstable version? Say Bosu ball to start for your feet, but maybe progress… ball against a wall… then just ball, in time?

    I think that would be killer version of this to really challenge core and scapular stability at the same time.

    thanks man! always great to see you at you getting more and more ripped doing cool bodyweight exercises.

    speak soon,


    • Hey Doc! Yeah, I’ve used a bunch of different unstable surface variations. Feet in suspension gear is also a great one — awesome for the core…

      But hey, sounds to me like a great guest video idea. 🙂

    • Thanks Dr. K for those additional suggestions! After trying the floor ones, I went to feet on bosu dome, then to feet on SB (supported by wall), and then tried feet on SB without support. That one definitely was challenging. Lot of core stabilization in there. Thanks, will be incorporating those!

  • Hi Adam, Thanks for this – looks awesome and I can’t wait to add it to my programme (as soon as I’ve shaken off this flu!) Thanks for all the great info – you guys rock!

  • i ve been doing that exercice for some time now and gained good shoulder strenght and stability.
    in addition to that i also do frog stands holds for about a minute and finish with a couple handstand push ups against the wall. bodyweight exerices are awesome!

  • How can one avoid overlasting the wrists? I have injured a bit the right side of my right wrist doing this kind of bodyweigth excersices that depend much on the wrist. Many of your excercises are wrist based so I wish you could you post a detailed video how to avoid wrist damage please?

    • Hey Ber,

      One simple trick is to use a set of hex dumbbells (8 sided rather than round) as handles on the floor. That way you can grip them and keep your wrists neutral instead of bent back.


      • Thanks Adam, I will try that.
        But anyway the best with bodyweight excercises are that one could do them anywhere, without taking dumbells with me (for example i am in the woods or taking a pause from the office).

        Isn’t there any other alternative to the dumbell?
        So I hope someday you post a detailed video on wrist technique to avoid injury. Pain free and portable gym that BER is supposed to be.

  • if you work up to one handed upside down bodyweight shoulder press i think your shoulders well get ‘hyooge’ just fine without weights!

  • I saw John Romanello doing something similar, but his feet were on a bench. I don’t remember if his toes were up like you showed. I’ll have to watch it again. Thanks, as always.

  • Love these! Bob Harper has a few sets of these in his Yoga for the Warrior DVD. He puts you into downward dog and then you drive your head to the mat. My shoulders are always sore the next day with these. I’m working up to handstand pushups now and I loved your crow to handstand move too. Keep it coming!

    • Ha! I guess I’ll take that as a compliment… 🙂
      No, that is indeed MY head on MY body.
      BTW, I’d be much more shredded if I hand picked a body to put my head on. LOL

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