If you search the internet for arm workouts, likely, most of them focus primarily on your triceps and biceps.   

These muscle groups deserve attention, but your shoulders can take your upper body physique to the next level.

So, how should we address our shoulders?

Dumbbells, barbells, and machines are very effective for helping you build and grow your shoulders. However, don’t forget resistance band shoulder exercises!

Developing workouts that use resistance bands ensures that you can get in a killer workout no matter where you are – no need to lug around awkward equipment or be near a gym. 

I have been a personal trainer for many years, but that doesn’t mean me and my clients live at the gym. I have helped multiple clients develop bigger, more shapely shoulders at home! 

Now it’s your turn. Here’s my list of all the shoulder exercises I recommend you start doing with resistance bands – no matter your location. 

These movements target your front, lateral, and rear deltoids, so there is no need to worry about one shoulder area getting more attention than the others.

In this article, we are going to cover:

  • What are the benefits of resistance band shoulder exercises?
  • Types of Resistance Bands to Use for Shoulder Exercises
  • 13 Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises
  • Resistance Band Shoulder Workout Program
  • 5 Resistance Band Stretches For Shoulders
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the benefits of resistance band shoulder exercises?

Related: Resistance Band Back Exercises

1. Builds Muscle

Resistance bands are an excellent tool for shaping and forming your shoulders. While most people use dumbbells for shoulder exercises, resistance bands can supply a similar tension. 

With many resistance band shoulder exercises, you are standing in the center of the band and are the anchor yourself. This gives you absolute control over just how much resistance the band has against the muscle fibers of your shoulders.

If you want to make an exercise more challenging, just allow less slack in the band. After following a regular workout routine, eating enough protein, and having a healthy sleep schedule, you should see increased muscle in your shoulders and the surrounding areas.

2. Improves Mobility

The shoulder is an essential ball-and-socket joint used for many activities, including throwing something and reaching for an item. 

Because you use your shoulder for so many different things every day, you want to do everything you can to prevent the loss of mobility and range of motion that comes along with age. 

Some resistance band exercises require you to be more flexible with your shoulders, so the joint can be consistently challenged and fluid. Doing these exercises combined with the stretches, we suggest regularly will help ensure your shoulder mobility is at its best!

3. Can Be Done Anywhere

Whether you want to train your shoulders or another muscle group, resistance bands are convenient for exercising at home, outdoors, in your hotel room, gym, or anywhere.

While exercise equipment like dumbbells and kettlebells can be taken with you anywhere, they can be a pain to haul around.

Resistance bands solve that issue by being extremely lightweight and easily stored. Even if you hop on a plane and want to get some shoulder resistance training on an island somewhere, you can because the bands could fit effortlessly in your suitcase!

Types of Resistance Bands to Use for Shoulder Exercises

Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

The main two types of resistance bands are bands that are in a loop and open bands with handles on the end. While you can certainly use both for shoulder exercises, you will need the bands with handles more often.

Here are a few examples of band loops we recommend you try:

Consider adding these bands with handles to your home gym or bringing them to your next gym session:

13 Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

The following exercises can effectively help you with improving the following:

  • Overall shoulder strength
  • Shoulder mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Injury prevention
  • Muscle mass
  • Weight loss

1. Front Raises

Front raises are a classic movement for building the anterior part of the shoulders. While it does slightly target other muscle groups, this exercise can be your go-to for an isolation movement!

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Builds the anterior deltoid
  • Teaches control with movement
  • Works the biceps and chest

How-To Perform Front Raises

  1. Stand on the center of a band with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab each handle with your palms facing behind you. 
  3. While keeping your arms extended, slowly raise them in front of you until they are in line with your shoulders. 
  4. Pause for a moment, then slowly bring them back down to your sides before repeating the movement.

Pro Tips

  • Hold your arms up for five seconds before releasing to increase the burn.
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows for injury prevention.

2. Lateral Raises

Similar to front raises, lateral raises are another great isolation exercise. If you want to add more mass to your lateral delts, use this movement as a finisher.

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Builds the lateral deltoids
  • Works your triceps and upper back
  • Great warm-up or finisher movement

How-To Perform Lateral Raises

  1. Stand on the center of a band with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab each handle with your palms facing in. 
  3. While keeping your arms extended, slowly raise them up to the sides until they align with your shoulders. 
  4. Pause for a moment, then slowly bring them back down to your sides before repeating the movement.

Pro Tips

  • Hold your arms at the top of the movement for three seconds to increase the burn.
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows to prevent any shoulder injury.

3. Arnold Presses

If you need to work on rotation and mobility with your shoulders, Arnold presses can help! This exercise adds a twist to the classic overhead press that you do not want to neglect. 

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Improves shoulder mobility
  • Strengthens the lateral delts
  • Activates the front and rear delts

How-To Perform Arnold Presses

  1. Start by standing in the center of your band and holding the two handles against each other in front of your chest with your palms facing in. 
  2. Rotate your wrists so that your palms turn to face away from you as you turn the handles out and on either side of your head at shoulder height. 
  3. Press the handles up until your arms are fully extended. 
  4. Slowly bring them back down to shoulder height before rotating your wrists back so you return to the starting position.

Pro Tips

  • Feel free to add in a bicep curl at the starting position to target your biceps as well.
  • Try tapping your handles against each other at the top to maximize your shoulder range of motion.

4. Overhead Presses

Overhead presses encourage strength in functional movements, such as placing an item on a high shelf. These are a must for shaping the shoulders that you desire!

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Heavy

Benefits

  • Works the front and lateral delts
  • Strengthens the upper chest, triceps, and upper back
  • Functional movement

How-To Perform Overhead Presses

  1. Stand in the center of your band while holding each of the handles on either side of your shoulders with your palms facing forward. 
  2. Press up through the handles until your arms are fully extended. 
  3. Slowly let your elbows bend and your hands drop until they return to the original position.

Pro Tips

  • Try tapping your handles against each other at the top to maximize your shoulder mobility.
  • You can try alternating pushing up through each hand to really feel the burn!

5. Upright Rows

If you are trying to increase the weight you can lift during deadlifts, bench press, and pull-ups, upright rows are your friend. 

Performing compound exercises is vital for improving overall strength and body composition. Still, there are certain exercises you want to be sure to do to make those results come even easier!

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Heavy

Benefits

  • Helps with compound movements
  • Strengthens your upper back and triceps
  • Challenges the entirety of the shoulder

How-To Perform Upright Rows

  1. Stand in the center of your band with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. With your arms fully extended down in front of you, grab the band’s handles with your palms facing you. 
  3. Keeping your chest up and back straight, slowly bring the handles up until your hands are at your chest. A straight horizontal line should be formed from one elbow to the other. 
  4. Pause before releasing your arms back into the starting position.

Pro Tips

  • Try holding the bands at the top position for five seconds before releasing to increase the burn.
  • If you have any elbow pain with this movement, feel free to only bring the handles up as high as is comfortable.

6. Shrugs

Not many exercises effectively build your traps as shrugs. So, if you want to grow both your shoulders and your traps with one exercise, this is the one.

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Heavy

Benefits

  • Activates your shoulders
  • Builds mass on your upper back
  • Very simple movement that almost anyone can do

How-To Perform Shrugs

  1. Stand in the center of your band so there is minimal slack. 
  2. Grab each handle with your arms down by your sides and your palms facing in. 
  3. Shrug your shoulders up, hold for a moment, and then release them down before repeating.

Pro Tips

  • Go as heavy as you can with this exercise since the range of motion is very minimal.
  • Ensure that your shoulders are back when you do this exercise – not hunched forward.

7. Face Pulls

Face pulls are a classic back exercise, but they are amazing for targeting your rear delts as well. This movement works great as a warm-up or finisher.

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Strengthens the rear delts
  • Builds the upper back
  • Challenges the biceps

How-To Perform Face Pulls

  1. Anchor your band to be at face height. 
  2. Grab each handle and take a few steps back from the anchor. 
  3. Start with your arms fully extended in front of you. Then, pull the handles back toward you until they stop on either side of your face. 
  4. Pause for a moment, and then slowly release the handles back to the starting position.

Pro Tips

  • If you have difficulty with balance, try leaning back slightly while performing this exercise. If that is not helpful enough, you can perform this exercise seated.
  • Hold for three to five seconds at the top of the movement to increase the burn.

8. Incline Reverse Flys

Related: Best Rear Delt Exercises

While standard reverse flys can undoubtedly target your shoulders, incline flys ensure that you hit your rear delts even harder.

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Builds your rear delts
  • Strengthens your upper back
  • Improves mobility   

How-To Perform Incline Reverse Flys

  1. Set a bench to an incline and anchor the center of your band below where your head will be.  
  2. Lay on your stomach on the bench so that your chin rests on the very top of the bench. 
  3. Grab each of the handles with your arms extended and palms facing in. 
  4. Bring the handles up and back until your hands are nearly in line with your shoulders. 
  5. Pause for a moment, and then slowly release your arms back to the starting position before repeating the movement.

Pro Tips

  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows to prevent injury.
  • Hold the top position for three seconds to really feel a burn.

9. Banded Push-Ups

Do you love push-ups and want to take them to the next level? Add some more tension with resistance bands to target nearly every muscle in your upper body even more.

This exercise is a must for any workout that you do because it is both functional and effective.

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Strengthen the entirety of the shoulders
  • Challenges the chest and triceps
  • Adds resistance to an essential, functional movement

How-To Perform Banded Push-Ups

  1. Start by lying on your stomach with your palms on the ground on either side of your chest. 
  2. Place your band loop across your back and then under each palm. 
  3. Press up through your hands to bring your body up to the top of a push-up position. 
  4. Keep your body straight as you bend at the elbows and bring your body down until your nose touches the floor. 
  5. Push back up before repeating the movement.

Pro Tips

  • Make sure you adjust your band so that you are feeling enough resistance when you are at the top of the push-up.
  • Your upper arms should be at a 45-degree angle to target your shoulders and triceps effectively.

10. Arm Circles

While this may be a simple exercise, it should still be included in your routine! Use arm circles as a warm-up exercise or finisher to torch all the muscles in your arms!

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Light

Benefits

  • Targets all areas of the shoulder with the lateral deltoid being the primary focus
  • Works your biceps, triceps, and upper back
  • Improves shoulder mobility 

How-To Perform Arm Circles

  1. Stand in the center of your band and wrap the ends around your wrists securely. 
  2. While keeping them straight, raise your arms up to shoulder height so your body forms a T. 
  3. Slowly start to draw circles with your hands by moving them clockwise. 
  4. Perform this continuous movement for the desired time before drawing the circles counterclockwise.

Pro Tips

  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows if you have any pain in that area.
  • If you want to increase the intensity of this exercise, hold your arms straight out for 15 seconds before transitioning from clockwise to counterclockwise.

11. Overhead Hold

If you are looking to add an isometric exercise to your routine, give the overhead hold a try. When done consistently, it has the potential to help you build mass in your arms and shoulders!

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Light

Benefits

  • Lower risk of joint pain
  • Strengthens the shoulders
  • Challenges the biceps, triceps, and forearms

How-To Perform Overhead Hold

  1. Stand tall, holding each end of a band with minimal slack. 
  2. Bring the band above your head so that your arms are fully extended. 
  3. Try to pull the band as tight as you can while keeping your arms above your head. Hold this position for a predetermined amount of time before releasing.

Pro Tips

  • Try to keep your arms as straight as possible to increase the intensity.
  • If you want to take the exercise down a notch, you can skip the step where you focus on pulling the band in addition to holding it above your head.

12. Reverse-Grip Front Raises

This exercise will effectively target the anterior deltoid while improving your shoulder mobility. 

What Level Resistance Band?

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Strengthens anterior deltoid
  • Improves shoulder mobility
  • Challenges biceps and triceps

How-To Perform Reverse-Grip Front Raises

  1. Stand on the center of a band with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab each handle with your palms facing behind you. 
  3. While keeping your arms extended, slowly raise them up in front of you until they are in line with your shoulders. 
  4. Pause for a moment, and then slowly bring them back down to your sides before repeating the movement.

Pro Tips

  • To increase the burn, hold your arms up for five seconds before releasing.
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows for injury prevention.

13. Band Pull-Aparts

If you need to work on your shoulder mobility while challenging the shoulders, upper back, and chest, give these band pull-aparts a go! You also do not need an anchor to perform this exercise.

What Level Resistance Band? 

  • Medium

Benefits

  • Improves shoulder mobility
  • Challenges the rear delts
  • Strengthens your upper back and chest

How-To Perform Band Pull-Aparts

  1. Stand tall and maintain good posture while you grip either side of a band. 
  2. Hold the band out in front of you at chest level with your arms extended. 
  3. Pull on either side of the band while bringing your shoulder blades together. 
  4. Hold for a moment and then release before repeating, putting tension on the band.

Pro Tips

  • If you need help with maintaining good posture during this exercise, stand with your back against a wall.
  • A variation of the exercise would be to attach one end of the band to an anchor and then pull with one arm at a time.

Resistance Band Shoulder Workout Program

Choose to follow either our beginner or advanced workout (or both!) one to two times a week. You should start to see results within a month or so.

If you combine these exercises with proper rest and a healthy diet consisting of a sufficient amount of calories and protein, this will only accelerate your results!

Beginner Workout

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Arm Circles212-1530 seconds
Overhead Presses38-101 minute
Upright Rows310-1230 seconds
Front Raises212-1530 seconds
Overhead Hold230 seconds30 seconds

Advanced Workout

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Incline Reverse Flys410-121 minute
Arnold Presses48-101 minute
Face Pulls310-121 minute
Lateral Raises312-1530 seconds
Reverse-Grip Front Raises312-1530 seconds
Banded Push-Ups215-2030 seconds
Shrugs212-1530 seconds

5 Resistance Band Stretches For Shoulders

Resistance Band Shoulder Stretches

1. Single-Arm Front Stretch

Anchor a band so that it is higher than your head. 

Grab the other end of the band with one hand and take a few steps away from the anchor. There should be no slack in the band and your arm should be fully extended. 

Slowly start to turn your body away from the arm that is holding the band to feel a nice stretch along the front of your shoulder and your chest. 

Hold for ten seconds before performing this stretch on the other arm.

2. Upper-Body Stretch

Attach a band to an anchor at waist level. Hinge at your hips, grip the band, and slowly take a few steps back until you feel a nice stretch in the lateral and posterior delts. 

Keep your arms extended and your gaze on the floor for the entirety of this stretch. You should really feel it in your back and chest as well!

3. Hanging Stretch

Throw a band over a pull-up bar and secure both your hands on either end. While keeping your arms fully extended above your head, slowly take a few steps forward.

The further away you get from the bar, the more you should start to feel a release in tension as your anterior delts are lengthening and being stretched out.

4. Cross-Body Stretch

Anchor a band at chest level and grab the other end of the band with one hand. Start with that arm fully extended straight in front of you.  

Slowly start to turn your body toward the arm that is attached to the band so that arm starts to come across your chest. 

Keep turning until you feel a nice stretch along the back of your shoulder. Hold here for ten seconds and then repeat with your other arm.

5. Runner’s Lunge With Shoulder Stretch

Anchor your band above your head and grab the other end of the band with one hand. 

Get into a runner’s lunge position with your front toe pointing toward the anchor. The hand holding the anchor should be the opposite arm of your front leg. 

Lean your other forearm on your front leg and rotate your chest out so that the arm holding the band becomes fully extended and comes up so that your bicep rests against your face. 

Hold here for ten seconds and switch to the other side. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you strengthen your shoulders with resistance bands?

Resistance bands do just what the name describes – they provide resistance. Resistance is a key way to build muscle. 

While many people reach for dumbbells to work their shoulders, resistance bands are another versatile piece of equipment to use and travel with.

Can resistance bands help the rotator cuff?   

Because there are multiple stretches for the shoulder that can be done with resistance bands, this piece of equipment can help your rotator cuff

These stretches keep the tendons of the shoulder limber and strong to better handle any sudden movements or strain.

Can you build shoulders with resistance bands?

Because resistance bands provide tension, they can be very helpful for building your shoulders. 

Muscle development takes time, but if you follow a regular workout routine consisting of the resistance band exercises that we suggest, you can certainly build muscle on your shoulders!

Final Tips

We hope that you enjoyed our list of shoulder exercises, stretches, and recommended workouts! 

It can be difficult to know exactly what you need to be doing to effectively add mass to each muscle group. But if you follow our guidelines, you will be sure to shape up the shoulders in no time.

Please let us know what you thought of our suggestions in the comments, and don’t forget to share this article with anyone else you know who wants to improve their shoulders!