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10 Resistance Band Exercises For Shoulders

Resistance band workouts can offer you impressive benefits but what are some resistance band exercises you can do for bigger shoulder muscles?

Resistance bands are an inexpensive type of fitness equipment that are basically elastic cords. You can use this piece of exercise equipment to modify regular exercises like squats or to do specific resistance band exercises.

Most people think about dumbbells and barbells when talking about shoulder exercises but you can definitely get big shoulders with resistance bands if you choose the right exercises.

Keep in mind that even though there are many benefits, your injury risk is generally also higher when you do exercises with more weight/resistance. You may want to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new workout routine.

1. Resistance band pull-apart

To do a resistance band pull-apart take the following steps:

  1. Stand upright with your feet at about shoulder width. Point your arms which are slightly less than stretched horizontally forward. Hold a resistance band in your hands.
  2. Pull the resistance band apart by moving your hand horizontally outward until your arms are in one horizontal line.
  3. Move your hands back into starting position in a controlled motion.

This resistance band exercise is great for engaging the back of your shoulders, your posterior deltoids, without an anchor.

2. Shoulder press

To do a shoulder press take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Anchor one or two resistance bands under your feet. Hold one or part of the resistance band in each hand at about shoulder height with your hand palms facing forward. Your elbows can point slightly more forward than just a horizontal line with your shoulders.
  2. Slowly move your hands up until your arms are slightly less than stretched.
  3. Lower your hands back into starting position in a controlled motion.

The shoulder press with a barbell or dumbbells is one of the most popular exercises for growing shoulder muscles. These other types of equipment may be more popular but resistance bands can definitely help you grow your shoulder muscles too.

3. Bent-over reverse fly

To do a bent-over reverse fly take the following steps:

  1. Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart and an upright posture. Anchor the resistance band(s) below your feet. Hold the resistance band on the opposite side with your hands. So your right hand holds the resistance band coming from under your left foot.
  2. While keeping your back straight bend your knees and slightly bend forward until your upper body is as close as horizontal to the ground while keeping your posture good. Let gravity do its work on your arms so that they point vertically to the ground. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the exercise.
  3. Slowly raise your hands out to the side until they are at shoulder height.
  4. Move your hands back into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.

This exercise will focus on your posterior, your back, deltoid muscles. If you have posture issues this exercise may help you out.

You can also do a reverse fly standing up straight if you anchor your resistance band at about shoulder height.

4. Front raise

To do a front raise take the following steps:

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Anchor your resistance band(s) under your feet and hold one or one end with each of your hands. In starting position you just let your arms rest beside your body. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the exercise.
  2. Slowly move your hands upward to the front until your arms are horizontal.
  3. Lower your hands back into starting position in a controlled movement.

The resistance band front raise exercise focuses on your anterior, your front, deltoids.

5. Lateral raise

To do a lateral raise take the following steps:

  1. Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart and in an upright posture. Anchor your resistance band(s) under your feet and hold one or one end with each of your hands. In starting position you just let your arms rest beside your body your hand palms should face your body. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the exercise.
  2. Slowly raise your hands out to the side until they are at shoulder height.
  3. Lower your hands back into starting position in a controlled motion.

The lateral raise is another exercise that engages your middle deltoid shoulder muscles.

6. Upward row

As the name implies the resistance band upright row is similar to a resistance training row but standing up straight. To do an upright row take the following steps:

  1. Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Anchor your resistance band(s) under your feet and hold one or one end with each of your hands. In starting position you just let your arms rest beside your body. Your hand palms should point backward. Your arms start stretched.
  2. Raise your hands straight upward in a controlled manner until your hands are at about shoulder height.
  3. Slowly lower your hands back into starting position.

Because of this change in position the resistance band upward row targets your middle deltoid muscles instead of your back like with the regular row.

7. Shrug

To do a shrug take the following steps:

  1. Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Anchor your resistance band(s) under your feet and hold one or one end with each of your hands. Your arms start stretched and your hand palms should face your body. Let gravity do its work on your arms so they point downward. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the exercise.
  2. Raise your shoulders as far as you can in a controlled manner.
  3. Slowly lower your shoulders again.

The shrug does not look like the most impressive motion but this resistance band exercise can be great to help you improve your trap muscles.

8. Arnold press

To do an Arnold press take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Anchor your resistance band(s) under your feet and hold one or one end with each of your hands. Keep your hands at about chest height with your hand palms facing toward your body.
  2. Move your hands upward by stretching your arms. Twist your wrists 180 degrees throughout the exercise. At the top of the movement, you should stand straight up with stretched arms holding up the resistance bands with your hand palms facing forward.
  3. Lower your hands back into starting position in a controlled motion. This means twisting your wrists 180 degrees back.

The Arnold press engages all three of your deltoid muscles.

9. Resistance band Y fly

To do a resistance band Y fly take the following steps:

  1. Anchor your resistance band(s) at about hip height or lower and hold one or one end with each of your hands.
  2. Take a step back. Stand up straight with one leg forward and one leg backward. Your arms are slightly less than stretched, point forward, and make a V angle.
  3. Raise your hands upward in a controlled manner until your body makes a Y shape.
  4. Slowly lower your hands back into the position of step 2.

10. Face pull

To do a face pull take the following steps:

  1. Anchor the resistance band at about the height of the bottom of your face. Grip the resistance bands in your hands with your face towards the anchor.
  2. Walk back with your arms stretched forward until you encounter the desired resistance. Stand with your 2 feet at about shoulder width.
  3. Move your arms in a smooth motion towards a position where your upper arms are at a 90-degree angle with your body and your lower arms are pointing up and are at a 45-degree angle with your upper arms. Keep your feet in the same position and your back straight during the exercise.
  4. Slowly move your arms back into the position of step 2.

The face pull is a great resistance band exercise to work out your rear deltoid muscle and trapezius muscle.