5 Resistance Band Exercises For Shoulder Strength and Mobility

5 Resistance Band Exercises For Shoulder Strength and Mobility

Whether it's a daily task like carrying grocery bags, playing sports, or even training your upper body - strong shoulders are essential in providing the support and strength required by your arms and overall body. 

Shoulder joints are one of the most versatile parts of your body. But, due to their mobile nature, they are also quite susceptible to injury. If you're an avid sports fan, you will know how devastating shoulder injuries are. One such injury would put a stop to any sort of lifting, racket sports, climbing, and more. If not taken care of, even common chores become painful.  

So, what's the solution? One of the best ways to prevent shoulder injuries is to strengthen your shoulder muscles and exercise regularly. Gretchen Raddatz, Master Coach at Row House explains: “when you build stability, mobility, and flexibility in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joints, it keeps you injury-free”. [1]

Why are Resistance Bands Great for Your Shoulders? 

Resistance bands are the perfect tool and ideal for exercising complex joints like shoulders, which are prone to injury [2]. Unlike free weights, they don't put strain or added pressure on your joints.

Furthermore, if you aim to prevent injury, resistance bands are a safe option for you to grow/strengthen your muscles and build flexibility at the same time. Since they don't require gravity, resistance can be applied at any angle. Consequently, this gives you more space to focus on specific shoulder parts and a wide range of rotation [3].

They are not only portable & light-weight but also improve your shoulder function and stimulate muscle growth - both of which your shoulders need to gain size, strength, and mobility. Moreover,  they can be easily utilized on their own in your fitness routine or be incorporated into your existing fitness plan alongside using weights or gym equipment.


5 Resistance Band Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders

Keep scrolling below to try our five most recommended exercises for training your shoulders using resistance bands:

1) Pass Through (warm up)

Hold the resistance band in front of your body. Hands more than shoulder-width apart.

With locked elbows, lift the resistance band upwards then lower the band behind your back. Reverse the movement to bring the resistance band in front of your body again.

Pro tip: Keep your arms straight. Shoulders stay down. Keep the resistance band under tension. 

Level: Easy 

The Pass Through exercise in action

2) High Pull

Put your feet on the band, shoulder-width apart. Standing in an upright position, keep your palms facing downwards (pronated), fist-width apart.

As you jump outwards, widen your stance while completing a high pull. Lead with your elbows and pull the band towards your chest. While you jump inwards, bring your arms back to the neutral position you began in.

Pro tip: Make sure you are on your toes to use explosive power from the bottom of your kinetic chain. Keep your ankles aligned with your knees. Elbows should be above your shoulders when at the peak of the movement. Use control in all movements, from pulling the band to releasing the band.

Level: Hard

The High Pull exercise in action

3) External Rotation

Hold the band with an upper hand grip, closer than shoulder-width.

Keep your elbows fixed to your body and your hands at the height of your stomach. Pull the band apart while exhaling. The movement comes from the arms and rotation of the shoulders.

Pro tip: Concentrate on slow movement. Keep your elbows tight to your body. Keep your body and your wrists straight.

Level: Medium 

The External Rotation exercise in action

4) Front Raise

Put your feet on the band, shoulder-width apart. Hold the band with your thighs. 

Slowly lift the band up until it is in line with your head. Keep your arms straight and knees slightly bent.

Pro tip: Keep the band under tension and your core engaged. Release in a slow and controlled motion with every repetition.

Level: Hard 

The Front Raise exercise in action

5) Standing Side Bend

Place the band between your thumb and index finger. Lift the band. 

Push your arm towards the sky. When your arm is fully extended, slightly lift your shoulder upwards. Keep your body axis straight. Slowly return to the starting position. 

Pro tip: Knees slightly bent. Straight pelvis and upper body. Keep your wrist engaged and straight. Keep your arm straight at the top position. 

Level: Medium

The Standing Side Bend exercise in action

Area of Focus: Shoulders

How many reps?

15 reps of each exercise and repeat the whole set 2 times.

This workout routine can be done anywhere, be it your home, gym, or even if you're on the go.

Get Started with STRAFFR: Your Personalized Home Gym

Even if you're a beginner at using resistance bands, you can slowly build up your strength and increase your resistance level. But that isn't always easy to measure accurately, with a standard (or traditional) resistance band.

So, to fulfill this need, we developed STRAFFR, the smart resistance band. 

The main benefit here is that you can adjust the resistance level according to your individual fitness needs, all without risking injury.

As your fitness and ability improve, it’s easy to increase the resistance level and intensity by narrowing your grip on the band, and the STRAFFR app will follow. 

In addition to that, the app records the power, velocity, and repetitions of your session, providing you with real-time feedback and post-training analytics.

Both these features enable you to avoid the hassle of going to the gym or paying a personal trainer. Now, who wouldn't want that?!

Thanks for reading! To find out more about STRAFFR, the smart resistance band, head over to our website and pick one up for yourself.


[1] Row House 

[2] Evaluation of elastic band exercises - neck and shoulder muscle activation 

[3] Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning