Top 5 Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

Shrug it off! The Top 5 Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

It may go without saying, but it’s also worth repeating: resistance bands are a valuable, practical, and efficient training tool to helping you master various core body areas. Resistance bands are light-weight, easily packable and they provide versatile workout options wherever you are––at home, at the office, even on-the-go. And best of all, they are relatively inexpensive accessories when compared to a full-time gym membership or drop-in studio.

Resistance bands are ideal for a full-body workout as they can help tone and build muscle in just about every area. And while your entire body can benefit, we’re looking specifically at the shoulders: five invigorating resistance band shoulder exercises that you can do just about anywhere.

Working the shoulder muscles is great for building and maintaining overall strength and flexibility while sculpting a chiseled upper arm look. Incorporating resistance bands to these types of shoulder workouts simply adds another level of versatility and effectiveness.

Note: depending on which type of bands you are using, you may need to try out a few to find your preferred tension. Resistance bands shoulder exercise typically run from minimal resistance to heavy. Start with a medium resistance band and go from there.

The banded shoulder press

The banded shoulder press exercise

The shoulder press is one of the more popular shoulder exercise machines at the gym. However, you don’t need to rely on bulky equipment to get in the same basic resistance band shoulder exercise as long as you’ve got yourself a durable resistance band. The banded shoulder press is great for conveniently and effectively working the anterior and medial deltoids, and also for building optimal core stability and strength.

To start:

  • Get into position by standing in place and slipping the band under both of your feet. Grab the other end of the band and bring it up to about chest-level, with your palms facing up
  • Maintain a straight posture and unshakeable balance, turn your head up and begin pushing the band in an upward direction until your elbows are locked. Slowly bring your arms back down to complete one rep. Aim for completing about four sets of 15 – 20 reps

The banded shrug

This move is similar to the shoulder press except for this time you are pulling up instead of pushing out. Best of all, it involves utilizing a very simple movement––one that we are all likely familiar with: a basic shrug of the shoulders. Depending on the tautness of your band, you can make this versatile shoulder exercise very simple, or extremely challenging and get a great result in both cases.

To start:

  • Get into position by standing in place and slipping the resistance band under both of your feet, directly in the middle
  • Take the ends of the bands in both hands and hold them like handles; relax your arms
  • Now, shrug your shoulders as high as possible and hold for a second––let the contraction within your deltoid muscles really come through. Return your shoulders to complete one rep. Aim for about four sets of 15 – 20 reps

The front AND lateral banded raise

The front AND lateral banded raise

Another simple resistance band shoulder exercise that can be maximized with a decent tension. This move comes as a one-two punch––you start with the same basic foot placement and recovery, but you can lift one of two ways: front and laterally. Here are both maneuvers. 

To start:

  • Get into position by standing in place and slipping the resistance band under both of your feet, directly in the middle––shoulder-width apart
  • Take the ends of the bands in both hands and lift your arms straight in front of you, raising them towards the sky (don't shrug your shoulders during this movement)
  • Return your arms to their starting position to complete one rep. Aim for about three sets of 10 – 15 reps

(Lateral)

  • Get into position by standing in place and slipping the resistance band under both of your feet, directly in the middle––shoulder-width apart
  • Take the ends of the bands in both hands and lift your arms outwards to the sides––again, don’t shrug your shoulders
  • Return your arms to their starting position to complete one rep. Aim for about three sets of 10 – 15 reps

The banded pull apart

There’s simple, and then there is the banded pull apart shoulder exercise. You can literally do this move anywhere, and it is super effective at working the delts and upper arm muscles––and, it’s incredibly easy to master.

To start:

  • Start by standing with your feet flat on the ground, about shoulder-width apart. Grab hold of the band (near the ends) with both hands, your arms horizontally out in front of you
  • While keeping your elbows unlocked and your balance and posture steady, pull the band apart as far as possible and hold for a moment, making sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Return your arms to the starting position to complete one rep. Repeat. Aim for about three sets of 15 – 20 reps

The banded lunge lift

The banded lunge lift exercise

The banded lunge lift is not only a great way to work your anterior and posterior deltoids, but you also get the added benefits of a rigorous lunge shoulder exercise––that includes the stretching of your glutes and toning your calf and thigh muscles.

To start:

  • Get into position by standing with one end of the band looped around your front foot while holding the other end in front of you
  • Step forward into a deep lunge position while simultaneously lifting your arms straight up in front of you, pulling the band upwards. Make sure to keep your back straight and your core steady
  • Return the band into the starting position to complete one rep. Aim for about three sets of 10 – 15 reps

There you have it. Five of the simplest and most effective resistance band shoulder exercises that you can do just about anywhere to strengthen your deltoid muscles, cultivate your upper arms, and look and feel great.

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