Shoulders are complex joints and it is important to keep them at healthy mobility and flexibility by strengthening and stretching the rotator cuff and its surrounding muscles. Adding a Resistance Band to your shoulder exercise significantly improves your workout routine as they are effective in targeting specific joints and muscles in different degrees of rotation.

The further the band stretches, the higher the tension. Halfway through the movement,  that’s where your joints and muscles are at their strongest. Plus, resistance bands are safer than free weights. They are light and portable enough so you could perform your exercise virtually anywhere and anytime, regardless of your fitness level. We highly recommend getting the Resistance Band Wall Anchors and having them installed on the wall for those who prefer to have a safe and secure anchor point to perform the resistance band shoulder exercises at home.

This article will focus on the best resistance band shoulder exercises that you can use as a warm-up or cool-down or as the main focus of your exercise routine for an even toned-up, stronger shoulders.

Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises (Our 10 Recommendations)

1. Banded Reverse Fly

Do you want to use the Best Resistance Bands in targeting your middle back? Are you looking for exercises that also target your chests and shoulders? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, the banded reverse fly is an excellent option for you.

The banded reverse fly targets your posterior delts (rear shoulders) and major upper back muscles, namely your trapezoids and rhomboids. Working on these muscle groups can encourage proper posture, improve balance, and promote an upright stance. Higher reps of the banded reverse fly can also reduce disability and pain in these muscle groups. 

How to do it:

  • Anchor the center of the resistance band on a stationary post. 
  • Grab the bands by the handles, but make sure to stand back, feeling the slight taught on your band. 
  • Aim to keep your arms straight in front of you and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • As you exhale, move your arms to the side and back. Repeat the movement while making sure that both of your arms are fully extended to the sides.
  • Maintain the position for a few seconds and slowly return your arms to their starting position. 
  • Repeat the process for the desired number of reps. 

2. Single Arm Shoulder Press

Another shoulder workout you can try at home is the single-arm shoulder press. This workout increases your upper body strength, primarily your shoulder stability, evens out muscle imbalances, builds muscles, and aids fat loss. Doing the single-arm shoulder press in high reps can become your key to building bigger and stronger shoulder muscles!

How to do it:

  • Stand on a resistant band with one foot and hold the handle with the same side hand. This should be in line with your shoulders. 
  • Slowly lift the handle up until your arm is fully extended overhead and then slowly return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat on the other side. 

3. Banded Lateral Raise

Banded lateral raise is one of the best resistance band exercises because it allows you to build stronger and larger shoulders. As the name suggests, this workout also targets your lateral delts, making it easier for you to stabilize, strengthen, and tone your shoulder blades. 

Doing high reps of the banded lateral raise also benefits your core as your arms, neck, and upper back will also feel the strain. This exercise is easy on the shoulder joints, perfect for individuals who have shoulder issues or have recently recovered from a shoulder injury.

How to do it:  

  • Stand on a resistance band with a shoulder-width stance. Keep your shoulders hanging at your sides. 
  • As you inhale, raise your arms laterally to shoulder height using a pronated grip (your palms facing down) while making sure that the elbows are slightly bent. 
  • Lower slowly the band back to the starting position under control. 
  • Repeat the steps for the desired number of repetitions. 

4. Kneeling Superman

The banded kneeling superman exercise is effective for individuals of all fitness levels. When executed properly and regularly, the kneeling superman can tone and strengthen your lower back muscles, abs, hamstrings, and glutes. The kneeling superman also complements other core exercises, like situps and leg raises, that only focus on the abdominal muscles in the body. 

How to do it:

  • Kneel on your hands and knees with the resistance band hooked over one foot. 
  • Lift that foot as high as you can while keeping that foot and band straight. At the same time, slowly lift up the opposite arm and hold briefly the position for a few seconds. 
  • Repeat on the other side. 
  • Repeat the steps for the desired number of repetitions. 

5. Lunge Lift

Although challenging at first, you need to exert time and effort to try out (or even master) lunge lift using a resistance band. This workout improves your balance, increases your core strength, and boosts your hip flexibility. And unlike other resistance band exercises, the lunge lift can actually improve your spine health as it allows your spine to relax. 

How to do it:

  • Double up the resistance band and step on it using one foot. 
  • Step backward with the other foot. 
  • Grab the bands using both of your hands. 
  • Take a deep lunge by bending your front knee, simultaneously lifting your hands, stretching the band in front of you upwards.
  • Keep the back straight while performing the Lunge.
  • Slowly return to the start position for reps. Do the same with the other foot. 

6. Standing Row

Because it’s a pulling exercise, the standing row is effective in building your shoulders and upper back. The standing row will require you to pull the weight towards you, allowing you to target your posterior delts or the muscles located on the back portion of your body. 

Standing row can also encourage proper posture by shortening the upper back muscles while lengthening your front body muscles. This will make it easier to maintain a neutral position over time. 

How to do it:

  • Anchor the resistance band using a door anchor or wrap it around a heavy piece of furniture until you get some sort of resistance. 
  • Keep your back straight and shoulder blades together, and make sure your chest is sticking out. 
  • You can bend your knees slightly (as if you’re doing a shallow squat) to have better stability. 
  • Start pulling the band towards your upper body without moving your upper body. Focus on pulling your elbows back rather than aiming to bring the bands to your chest level. 
  • Repeat the steps for the desired number of repetitions. 

7. Upright Row

The upright row works the anterior delts (the front delts that allow your arm to move forward). This exercise also helps strengthen the rhomboids and trapezius and even the muscles in your biceps. 

The complex joints targeted by the upright row will make it easier and safer for you to do pulling and lifting exercises. This means that you won’t have any problems lifting heavy grocery bags or using free weights when working out. 

How to do it:

  • Stand on a resistance band and firmly grip the handles with your palms facing inwards and resting on your thighs. 
  • Keep your back in a straight line and aim to lift the band towards your chin. You should be able to do this while keeping your elbows higher than your forearms. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat steps. 

8. Frontal Raises

Frontal raises primarily work on several shoulder muscles, such as your lateral deltoids and anterior delts, as well as your pectoral muscles and rotator cuffs. Frontal raises are an isolation exercise for your shoulder flexion that enables you to define and strengthen the front and back of your shoulder blades. The stronger your shoulder muscles are, the easier it’ll be for you to perform daily activities. 

How to do it:

  • Hold the resistance bands in each hand while stepping on the middle of the band with both feet.
  • Stand up straight with a tight core. 
  • Lift your hands in front of you with an overhand grip. Keep your elbows slightly bent all the time. 
  • Pause at the top to feel the resistance or contraction from the bands, then lower slowly the bands until you reach the starting position. 

9. Squat Press

Although it can stress your right and left foot at first, squat presses are actually effective and excellent exercises. Squat press increases your shoulders and arms’ anaerobic and aerobic strength, increases your full range of motion, and boosts flexibility. 

Aside from using a resistance band, you can also do the squat press using free weights, such as dumbbells or kettlebells. Olympic barbells are also great options if you want more versatility in your squat presses. But starting the exercise with a resistance band that is low-impact, it will avoid sudden shoulder pain. 

How to do it:

  • Stand on a resistance band with both handles on your hand. 
  • Bring the handles of the band up to your shoulders while making sure that the band continues to lie on the back of your arms. 
  • Execute a squat as you press the handles over your head. 
  • Slowly lower the handles as you stand up. 

10. Banded Face Pulls

Looking for a workout that aims to activate and improve your shoulders and back? Then banded face pull is an excellent option for you. Banded face pulls are highly effective as a warmup and strength-building exercise as it effectively targets the lateral delts and anterior delts. 

Banded face pulls can also improve your shoulder strength, enhance posture, and ensure that your shoulders and back are worked hard in different angles. Banded face pulls also improve your performance in other workouts, such as sled pulls, pull-ups, and rows. 

How to do it:

  • Wrap a resistance band of your desired resistance level around your feet while slightly bending your legs to hold the handles above your knees.
  • Pull the band towards your face, while keeping your elbows higher than your forearms. Your knuckles should eventually face your face. 
  • Lower your arms back down and repeat the steps.

Workout Sets

Your shoulder workout will not be as effective if you’re only doing one or two routines regularly. To build stronger and bigger shoulder muscles, you need to incorporate several workout sets into your daily routine. These sets are essential to target your shoulder muscles and other muscles in your upper body. 

Set #1

The first workout set focuses primarily on shoulder hypertrophy and high reps to help you expedite your muscle growth. This high-volume workout set will require a lighter resistance band but don’t worry because the high reps will make up for the weight. 

Execute the exercises below for three sets of 15-20 reps each. Don’t forget to rest for no more than 60 seconds between each set. 

  • Banded reverse fly
  • Frontal Raise
  • Single-arm lateral raise
  • Single-arm shoulder press
  • Upright row

Set #2

This second workout set is a blend of shoulder hypertrophy and strength. For this workout set, it’s best if you use a heavier band for the first two routines, as these have low reps. The final exercises on the list should be done with a lighter resistance band to ensure that you’ll end up on the set with pumped-up shoulder muscles. 

  • Shoulder Press – three sets for eight reps, rest for two minutes.
  • Upright row – three sets for eight reps, rest for two minutes.
  • Frontal raises – three sets for ten reps
  • Banded reverse fly – three sets for ten reps
  • Banded Y-Fly – three sets for ten reps

Set #3

This final workout is a combination of high and low reps. You’ll need to use a thicker and lighter resistance band to complete this workout set. 

  • Shoulder Press – five sets for five reps, rest for two minutes
  • Upright row – five sets for five reps, rest for two minutes

Superset (rest for 60-90 seconds):

  • Band Pull Aparts – three sets for 15 reps
  • Shrugs – three sets for 15 reps

Frequently Asked Questions

Resistance band training offers several benefits, namely improving flexibility, building strength, and keeping you balanced. Resistance band exercises also support your fitness level as you age and allow you to vary your workouts’ intensity. 

One of the most important things you should look for when buying a resistance band is its ease of use. It’ll be challenging for you to execute routines in full range if the resistant band you’ll buy is too difficult or complex to use. This will only discourage you from working out. 

It’s also important to buy a variety of bands that come in different resistance levels (lighter resistance band to heavier band). In this way, you’ll know which resistance level is appropriate for your fitness level and the shoulder workout you want to master.

To remain safe when doing resistance band training, take note of the following:

  • Never release a resistant band while under tension. This will cause the resistance band to snap back towards you and cause injuries. 
  • Visually check the bands before using. Look for any signs of nicks, cuts, scratches, cracks, discoloration, or anything that might make the band weaker. If you notice any flaws or issues with the resistance band, discard it immediately. Never attempt to use a damaged band, as this will cause injuries. 
  • Never overstretch a resistance band (over 2.5 times their ideal length) to avoid injuries when working out. 
  • Refrain from using resistance bands as a toy. These bands should only be used for specific workouts, nothing else.

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