Fitness & Health, Strength & Conditioning
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Resistance band exercises to strengthen your shoulders and back

Resistance Bands Exercises

Whether you’re looking to strengthen muscle or tone up, these resistance band exercises for shoulders and back from Nick Tumminello will help do the trick.

Resistance bands can help improve your strength, flexibility and endurance. This makes them a great addition to any strength training workout. Since they’re compact, taking them wherever you go gives you the chance to maintain fitness wherever you are. In this blog, adapted from Nick Tumminello’s Your Workout PERFECTEDwe’ve put together some great resistance band exercises for shoulders and back.

Strength Training with Resistance Bands

The secret to using resistance bands for strength training is simple. As you stretch the band, the resistance increases. This resistance allows the muscle to build strength and helps increase muscle mass.

Training with resistance bands allows you to do the same types of exercises that you’d normally perform on expensive gym equipment. By simply changing the level of resistance, number of repetitions and speed of the exercise, you can tailor your strength training programme to meet your fitness goals.

Benefits of Resistance Band Exercises

More and more of us are turning to resistance bands as part of our workouts. They’re very lightweight and extremely portable, meaning you can effectively train anytime, anywhere. If you want to continue your strength training routine whilst on holiday, resistance bands could be the answer. For more information on maintaining fitness while on a break you can read our post from June 2017, Maintain muscle and fitness levels while on a break which features handy nutrition tips.

The bands also challenge muscles by creating resistance in multiple directions. They can be used to increase strength in specific muscles. Additionally, resistance bands can help strengthen stabiliser and support muscles, both of which are often neglected during traditional strength training.

Resistance bands can also be used to train all components of fitness and performance including power, cardio, core, fat loss, mobility, balance, coordination, agility and speed.

Resistance Band Exercises for Shoulders and Back

These exercises all require the use of a resistance band and are designed to help you strengthen and build muscle in your arms.

Resistance Band Side Shoulder Raise


Stand tall your feet hip-width apart. The middle of the resistance band should be placed underneath the middle of your feet. Cross the resistance band in front of you by grabbing the handle on your right-hand side with your left hand. Grab the handle on your left-hand side with your right hand. Hold the handles by your sides with your elbows slightly bent (see figure a).

Action and Coaching Tips

With your elbows slightly bent, raise your arms out to the side at about a 30-degree angle in front of your torso until your elbows are above your forehead (see figure b).

Don’t overextend at your lower back to raise the weight up. Slowly lower the handles back to your side.

Supine Resistance Band Shoulder L


Lie supine on the floor, with your knees slightly bent and your legs raised. Wrap the centre of the resistance band behind your feet and hold one handle of the resistance band in each hand. Place your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, bending your elbows 90 degrees and keeping your elbows and backs of your arms in contact with the ground (see figure a).

Action and Coaching Tips

Without moving your elbows or allowing your arms to lift off the ground, rotate your arms down. Bring your hands toward the floor as far as you can (see figure b). Pause for 1-2 seconds at the bottom of each rep. Slowly reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

Resistance Band Loop Pull-Apart


Stand tall while holding a resistance band loop with both hands just outside shoulder-width. Keep your arms extended out in front of you at shoulder height (see figure a). There should be some tension in the band before starting each rep.

Action and Coaching Tips

With your elbows slightly bent, pull the band apart until it lightly touches the top of your chest (see figure b). As you pull the band apart, don’t extend at your lower back or allow your shoulders to round forward. Slowly reverse the motion, until your arms come back to the width they started at. Keep tension in the band throughout. 

To reduce the resistance, you can either begin with your hands positioned wider or hold one layer of the band instead of both layers as shown.

Resistance Band Bent-Over Row


Stand tall, facing a resistance band that’s attached at a low position (just above the ground) to a stable structure. Holding one handle in each hand, lean at a 45-degree angle, keeping your knees soft and your back straight (see figure a).

Action and Coaching Tips

Pull the band towards your body so that your wrists come up by your ribs. Ensure you squeeze your shoulder blades together every time you pull your arms in without allowing the fronts of your shoulders to round forward (see figure b). Reverse the motion by extending your arms back out, without allowing your lower back to round out or losing your stance.

Further reading

For more resistance band exercises for shoulders and back and other upper body exercises check out Nick Tumminello’s Your Workout PERFECTED

Other resources include:

This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health, Strength & Conditioning


Hi, I’m Hannah, marketing assistant and one of the bloggers here at Human Kinetics Europe. I wasn’t blessed with the coordination to play most sports, but that’s not stopped me becoming a great watcher of them. Particularly when it comes to football! So I’m here to bring you all you need to know about exciting new product releases and the latest in sport, fitness and PE.

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