Resistance bands such as pull up assist bands are ideal for training and developing the shoulder muscles, as they allow for a greater range of movement than using weights alone. We've looked at some of the most effective workouts you can do to develop strength in this area, and some of the specific advantages of resistance band training for shoulder strength.
Resistance band shoulder workout
We've put together a short program of five different shoulder band exercises you can do to build strength and improve mobility. In combination, these resistance band shoulder exercises target the whole shoulder and upper back area for an all-over workout.
Resistance band pull apart
Start by holding your resistance band in both fists, with your arms extended in front of you slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Your elbows should be locked, and your core tense, with your feet planted firmly on the floor shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Now, pull your fists apart, keeping your arms straight and extend until your arms are stretched out to the sides of your body, with your fists slightly behind your shoulders, and the band resting across your chest. Bring your arms slowly back together in a controlled fashion, making sure you don't allow the band to snap back, to complete one rep.
Resistance band front raise
Start this exercise with your feet together, and a resistance band looped under the arches of your feet. Hold the other end in an overarm grip, arms down by your sides. Now, keeping your arms locked straight at the elbow, raise your arms in front of you until they are parallel with the ground. Ensure you maintain correct posture, without bowing or hunching your shoulders. When you reach the full extent of the movement, return your arms slowly to the start position, keeping full control of the band at all times. That's one rep.
Resistance band lateral raise
Standing with your feet planted at shoulder-width apart, loop one end of a resistance band around your left foot, just below the arch. Take the other end of the looped resistance band in your right hand, with your arm down, and your hand resting near your right hip. Now, making sure that you keep your arm straight throughout, lift your right arm up and out, laterally to your body until your arm is fully extended and level with the floor as if you were making one side of a "T" shape. In the same gradual and controlled movement, return your arm to the starting position to complete one rep. When you've finished your set, switch which foot the band is looped around and train your left shoulder.
Resistance band shoulder stretch
This stretch is ideal for correcting hunched or rounded shoulders. Hold a resistance band in two fists, stretching it so that your arms are at around a 30 to 45-degree angle away from your body. The band should be tense, but not excessively stretched. Now, keeping the same grip, bring the band up and over your head, keeping your head and neck in a straight alignment, taking care not to stoop your head forward. Now, twist your body from side to side a few times to loosen up and relax the muscles, before moving the band further over your head and down your back until the band is level with your glutes. Start slow, taking care not to overstretch, and ensure that you are moving both shoulders together as you lift the band up and over your head.
Resistance band shoulder press
For this exercise, you'll need a long resistance band. Begin with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You can tweak the difficulty of this exercise by placing your feet wider for higher resistance, or closer together for lower resistance. Gripping the band in both hands, stretch it up your body until your fists are in front of your shoulders, palms facing out. Your elbows ought to be tucked in to your sides as if you were holding a barbell across your chest. Now, extend your arms upwards and out at a slight angle until they are entirely straight, then, keeping full control of the band, return them to chest height for one rep.
These exercises, when incorporated into your workout routine together, provide a comprehensive shoulder workout, which will help you to develop your strength and range of movement. As you progress, you may want to switch to a higher band resistance to maintain your muscle development.
How do you strengthen your shoulders with resistance bands?
As with weight training, the principles involved in strength training with resistance bands are simple. You're merely applying extra resistance to a particular movement or set of actions to work your muscles harder, and therefore promote muscle growth.
Working the shoulders involves combining several different exercises to train separate muscles, and resistance bands are ideal for isolating these muscles, enabling you to target each group in turn.
How do resistance bands improve posture?
Unlike using free weights or gym equipment for shoulder exercises, with resistance band workouts, you can maintain a much more natural posture throughout each movement.
The critical difference is that the resistance is based on elasticity rather than on gravity, which allows for a more considerable variation in the direction of each exercise. In essence, you're not restricted solely to the vertical plane.
The exercises listed below are designed to work individual muscles within the shoulder group while maintaining correct form and posture, which avoids the risk of injury from straining or jerking muscles or tendons, or putting unnecessary pressure on joints.