Shoulder Exercises With Resistance Bands

Resistance bands can be used to give each of the muscles in your shoulders a great workout.

If you’ve been looking for a way to strengthen your shoulder muscles at home without needing weights, check out the humble resistance band. Despite being both cheap and portable, resistance bands can provide your shoulder with an effective and comprehensive strengthening workout. Each of the different muscle groups in the shoulder can be targeted using these versatile bands.

-strengthening workout, complete two to three sets of 10 repetitions of each resistance band exercise two to three times each week. None of the band exercises should cause increased pain. If you’ve had a recent shoulder injury or surgery, consult your doctor or physical therapist prior to beginning the exercises.

90/90 External Rotation

This exercise targets several different shoulder external rotator muscles, including the infraspinatus and the teres minor. These muscles help with many different activities like washing your hair or putting on a seat belt.

Sit in a chair with your right forearm and palm resting on a shoulder-level counter or table at your side. A rolled towel can be used under the elbow to raise the arm to an appropriate height.

Secure one end of a resistance band under your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Keeping the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle, slowly rotate your forearm backwards until it is vertical and your palm is facing forward.

Maintain the hold for 1 to 2 seconds and then slowly rotate your forearm and palm back to the counter. Complete 10 repetitions and then switch to the left arm.

Full Can

Full cans help strengthen your supraspinatus, one of the primary muscles used to lift your arm overhead.

While standing, secure one end of a resistance band under your right foot and hold the other end in your right hand.

Keeping your elbow straight and your thumb up, slowly raise the arm at a 45 degree angle with your body. Lift the arm as high as you can without shrugging your shoulders or arching your back.

Hold the arm at its highest point for 1 to 2 seconds and then slowly lower it back to your side. After doing this 10 times, repeat with your left arm.

Resisted Internal Rotation

This exercise activates the internal or medial rotation muscles of the shoulder. These muscles help with activities like tucking in a shirt, putting on a bra or throwing a ball.

Stand with a door on your right side. Secure one end of a resistance band in the door and hold onto the other end with your right hand. Your elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle and your palm should face inward.

Keeping the elbow bent and at your side, slowly rotate your forearm inwards toward your body until it reaches your abdomen.

Maintain this position for 1 to 2 seconds and then release the tension as you rotate your forearm back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times and then switch to the left side.

Rows using a resistance band target your postural muscles.


Rows target several different muscles, including the rhomboids and the middle trapezius. These muscles retract the shoulders and help to improve your posture.

With the middle of a resistance band secured in a door, grab one end of the band with each hand.

Pull away from the door with each hand as though you are rowing a boat. Your forearms should stay parallel to the floor throughout this exercise. As you pull, squeeze your shoulder blades down and back.

Hold the position for a second or two and then release the tension in the band as you relax your shoulder blades. Complete this exercise 10 times.

At the end of D2 flexion, the band will be stretched as your arm reaches slightly above ear level.

D2 flexion

D2 flexion gives the muscles that elevate and retract the shoulders are great workout.

Stand on one end of a resistance band with your left foot and hold the other end with your right hand.

Raise your arm along a diagonal starting near your left thigh and ending over your right shoulder with your palm facing forward and your elbow extended. As you reach the ending position, bring your right shoulder blade down and back.

Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds and then release the tension on the band as you slowly move back to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions and then repeat with the left arm.