11 Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

A Complete At Home Shoulder Workout

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: May 20, 2021

Most bodybuilding and strength training shoulder workouts require the use of barbells, dumbbells, cables, and machines. But you can still get a killer shoulder workout even if you don’t have any of that equipment.

In fact, you can replicate most of that gym equipment with a simple set of resistance bands. In this article, I show you 11 resistance band shoulder exercises. Including a complete resistance band shoulder workout.

Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

Before we get into the exercises, it’s important to realize that the shoulder is divided into 3 muscles. The anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear) deltoid.

In addition, your shoulders include the trapezius muscles, also known as your traps. This is the muscle that runs along the top of your shoulders and upper back.

When training your shoulders, you should use exercises that target each of the three heads and your traps. This way you develop symmetry, proportion, and balanced strength in your shoulder muscles.

Shoulder Muscle Anatomy

To make it easier to plan your workouts, I’ve divided the resistance band shoulder exercises into 4 groups based on which part of your shoulder muscle they target. And I give you multiple variations to replicate exercises you might do with traditional equipment.

Anterior Deltoid Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

First up are resistance band exercises that target the anterior head or the front of your shoulder. This includes any upward pressing movement or raises to the front.

1. Resistance Band Internal Rotation

The resistance band internal rotation exercise is great for working the stabilizer muscles in the front of your shoulder. And it is a good warm-up for your rotator cuff.

To perform this exercise, start by looping the band around a sturdy object. Then grasp the end of the band in one hand and step out with your side facing the band.

With your arm bent 90 degrees, rotate your hand inward towards your body while keeping your elbow locked in place at your side. Then switch sides and perform the exercise with your other arm.

2. Resistance Band Shoulder Press

For the resistance band shoulder press, start by standing on the center of the band and grab one end in each hand. Then curl the weight up so your hands are at your shoulders with palms facing forward.

From this starting point, press the bands up above your head until your arms are straight. Then lower the bands back down to your shoulders. This exercise most closely resembles a dumbbell shoulder press.

3. Resistance Band Front Raise

To do resistance band front raises, start by standing on the center of the band and grab one end in each hand with your arms at your sides. Then raise both arms in front of you until you reach just above shoulder height.

When you perform this exercise with your palms down (supinated hand position) you work both the front and the side delts. While doing it with your palms facing in or up (pronated hand position) works more of the front delts.

This exercise most closely resembles a dumbbell front raise.

Lateral Delt Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

Next up is the side of your shoulder otherwise known as the lateral delt. This part of the muscle is what gives your shoulders width and a rounded appearance when viewed from the front or back.

4-5. Resistance Band Lateral Raise

For the resistance band lateral raises, there are two variations. One involves working both arms at the same time. And the second involves working one arm at a time.

Both Arms

Begin by standing on the center of the band and grab one end in each hand with your arms at your sides.

From here, raise your arms until they reach about even with your shoulders while keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Think about pushing your elbows towards the ceiling instead of pushing through your hands.

Also, keep your palms facing the floor. But as you come upward, tilt your thumbs down slightly. As if you’re pouring out a pitcher of water. This helps to activate the lateral delt more.

Single Arm

For this variation, you begin by standing with one foot on the end of the band. Then grab the other end with the opposite hand.

From here, raise your arm until it reaches about even with your shoulders while keeping a slight bend in your elbow. Again, think about pushing out and up through your elbow.

This exercise variation is similar to a cable lateral raise.

Rear Delt Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

This brings us to the third head of the shoulder, the rear deltoid. An often-overlooked shoulder muscle that adds roundness to the rear of your shoulder and really makes them stand out when viewed from the side.

6. Resistance Band External Rotation

As with the front of the shoulder, it’s a good idea to warm up your rear delt with an external rotation. This exercise strengthens the rotator cuff and stabilizer muscles of the shoulder.

To perform this exercise, start by looping the band around a sturdy object. Then grasp the end of the band in one hand and step out so the band crosses in front of you.

With your arm bent 90 degrees, rotate your hand outward away from your body while keeping your elbow locked in place at your side. Then switch sides and perform the exercise with your other arm.

7. Resistance Band Rear Delt Fly

To do a resistance band rear delt fly, start by standing on the center of the resistance band with feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend forward so your back is about 45 degrees to the floor.

With your arms relatively straight, push your elbows up and back, squeezing your shoulder blades. This most closely resembles a dumbbell or machine rear delt fly.

When performing this exercise with handles it also engages your upper back muscles. One way to isolate the rear delt more is by turning your palms down (pronation) so you’re pushing through your pinky.

8. Resistance Band Pull Apart

Another variation similar to rear delt flies is called the pull apart. You can do this exercise upright without standing on the band. Simply grab one end of the band in each hand and pull it apart while keeping your arms relatively straight.

With this exercise, your hands are in the pronated position which activates more rear delt.

9. Resistance Band Face Pull

For this exercise, loop one end of the band around a sturdy object at about eye level. Then grab the other end of the band and step back with your arms outstretched in front of you.

From here, pull your elbows up and back until the band is near your forehead. And slowly lower the band back to the starting position. This exercise is most similar to a cable face pull with the rope attachment.

10. Resistance Band Upright Row

To perform a resistance band upright row, start by standing in the middle of the band with feet about shoulder-width apart. Then pull the band straight up the front of your body by pulling your elbows up towards the ceiling.

This exercise most closely replicates a barbell or cable upright row.

Trap Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

To fully develop the shoulder muscle group, it’s good to include an exercise targeting the traps. This is the muscle that slopes down from your neck to your shoulders and connects to your upper back.

11. Resistance Band Shrugs

Start by standing in the middle of the band with feet about shoulder-width apart. Then shrug your shoulders up towards your ears while keeping your arms straight down at your sides.

This exercise most closely replicates a dumbbell shrug. Also, to make this exercise challenging, you may need to increase the resistance by doubling up on bands or using heavy-duty power bands.

Resistance Band Shoulder Workout Example

Now that you know these 11 resistance band shoulder exercises, you can create an almost infinite number of at-home shoulder workouts. But all those options could give you analysis paralysis, so here’s a sample resistance band shoulder workout to get you started.

Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises Workout

With this workout, you hit all three heads of your deltoids as well as your traps. And you replicate what you would get with barbells or dumbbells at a gym. So give this workout a try on your next shoulder day.

Also, if you’re using light tube bands and you can do more than the reps shown, then you can double up on bands to increase the resistance. Or invest in a set of power bands that can give you even more resistance.

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Best Resistance Bands For Shoulder Exercises

If you don’t have any bands yet, you can pick up a good quality set for $20-30 on Amazon. In the exercise videos, there are two kinds of bands; power bands and tube bands.

Power Bands

Power bands, also called loop bands, are sort of like giant rubber bands. They are simply a big loop of stretchy latex, which makes them super versatile. You can use them for tons of different exercises, stretches, and more.

In addition, power bands are a good choice for more experienced lifters who need more resistance to make the exercises challenging. Click below to see the top-selling brand on Amazon.

Tube Bands

Tube bands are more similar to a cable apparatus at a gym. They come with handles that attach to both ends. As well as attachments for connecting multiple bands or anchoring to a doorway.

These bands work best for lighter-weight movements like flies or for beginners. And they are more convenient for the anchored exercises. Click below to see the best-selling brand on Amazon.

Conclusion

These resistance band shoulder exercises will help give you full, round, and defined deltoids. But make sure you continue to challenge your muscles with progressive overload so you don’t hit a plateau.

And, of course, follow a healthy diet along with your training program. For more helpful information on workouts and nutrition, check out my related articles below!

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