The back and shoulder are important upper body muscles that are involved in various pushing and pulling activities. They are also responsible for upright posture and a defined torso.
You can train these muscles with various exercises using dumbbells, barbells, machines, and even your own body weight. However, if you want to forge them with resistance bands, this article is for you.
I’ve shared the best resistance band exercises for the back and shoulders that you can do at home to improve upper body strength, flexibility, and composition.
I’ve also shared a few samples of 30-minute shoulder and back workouts that you can integrate into your resistance band training program.
10 Best Resistance Band Exercises for Back and Shoulders
- Overhead Press
- Front Raises
- Lateral Raises
- Pull Apart
- Bent-over Row
- Seated Row
- Facepull (upper back)
- Reverse Fly (upper back)
1. Overhead Press
The overhead press is an excellent exercise to bolster the front deltoid, improve shoulder health, and enhance pushing ability.
You can do the following steps to perform overhead presses with a band.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
- Position the band under your glutes and grab the opposite ends with your hands.
- Hold your hands above your shoulders and keep your elbows about 45° in from the front.
- Press the band overhead until your arms are straight.
- Pause for a moment to feel the contraction, then return to the start and repeat.
Try not to flare your elbows out to the sides.
You can also perform a one-arm shoulder press to target each side specifically.
2. Front Delt Raises
The front raise is an isolation exercise to hit the anterior deltoid and enhance shoulder strength. It also increases shoulder mobility and minimizes the risk of injuries.
Steps to do a front raise:
- Stand upright with your hip-width apart and position one end of the band below your feet.
- Grab the opposite end firmly and keep your arms straight against your thighs, palms facing in.
- Raise the band in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Pause for a moment and feel the work in your front deltoids, then return to the start.
- Do as many reps and sets as required.
Single-arm front raises can be more helpful when prioritizing the weaker side.
3. Lateral Delt Raises
The lateral raise works on the side of your shoulders and improves strength and appearance.
How to do a lateral delt raise:
- Stand in the split stance and place one end of the band under your leading foot.
- Grab the opposite ends firmly and keep your arms straight by your sides, palms facing in.
- Raise your arms to your sides until they are parallel to the ground.
- Pause for a moment to feel the work in your lateral delts, then return to the start.
4. Banded Shoulder Shrug
Shrug strengthens muscles around the neck, enhances shoulder mobility, and improves posture.
Here are the steps to perform a shrug:
- Place the one end of the band under your feet and stand upright in the hip-width stance.
- Grab the opposite ends firmly and hold your arms straight beside your thighs, palms facing your body.
- Lift your shoulder toward your ears until the shoulder and upper traps fully engage.
- Contracting your muscles, pause at the top for a few seconds, then return to the start.
5. Banded Pull Apart
Resistance band pull-apart is an excellent exercise to bolster shoulder and upper back muscles.
You can use two different grips (overhand grip, where your palms will point down, and neutral grip, where your palms will face each other) to specifically target your rear delt and trapezius muscles.1 Fukunaga T, Fedge C, Tyler T, et al. Band Pull-Apart Exercise: Effects of Movement Direction and Hand Position on Shoulder Muscle Activity. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2022;17(3):400-408. Published 2022 Apr 2. doi:10.26603/001c.33026
Steps to perform overhand grip pull-apart:
- Stand upright and grab the band with your hands hip-width apart and palms pointing down.
- Raise your arms straight and keep them parallel to the floor in front of your chest. That’s the start.
- Pull the band apart until your arms are completely out.
- Pause for a moment and bring your arms to the start.
6. Banded Deadlift
Deadlift engages multiple muscles simultaneously, including the lats and shoulder, and helps increase strength and lean mass and build a solid physique.
Steps to perform a deadlift with bands:
- Place the middle of the band under your feet and stand in the hip-width stance.
- Grab the opposite ends firmly with your palms facing in.
- Keeping your back straight, bend at the hip and knees until your shoulders are over your feet. Pressing your feet onto the floor, pull the band until you are in a standing position.
- You’ll feel the contraction in your lats during the movement.
You can also perform as many as nine deadlift variations with resistance bands to strengthen and tone your entire body.
7. Bent-over Reverse Fly
The reverse fly targets the shoulder and back and improves strength and muscle definition.
Steps to do it:
- Sit on the edge of a flat bench with your feet firmly on the ground.
- Wrap the band around your feet and grab the opposite ends with a neutral grip.
- Slightly bend forward and maintain a neutral spine position.
- Raise your arms to your sides until you feel the full contraction in your posterior delt.
8. Bent-Over Rowing
The bent-over rowing hits the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and posterior delt and helps develop a strong back.
How to do banded bent-over row:
- Stand in the hip-width stance and wrap the band around your feet.
- Grip the opposite ends firmly with a neutral grip and bend your torso forward.
- Driving your elbows up, pull the band at your sides until you feel the full contraction in your back muscles.
- Stay there for a moment, then return to the beginning and repeat for the desired times.
9. Face Pull
The facepull targets the upper back and rear shoulder and improves pulling strength.
Steps to perform a banded Facepull:
- Sit on a flat bench with your legs straight, heels on the ground, and toes pointing forward.
- Wrap the band around your feet and grip the opposite ends with your hands hip-width apart.
- Pull the band toward your face until your upper back and traps are fully engaged.
- Hold there for a moment, then return to the start and perform as many reps as needed.
10. Seated Banded Rowing
The seated band row can be as effective as the seated cable machine row for targeting the back muscles. It engages the arms, legs, core, and back, almost every muscle throughout the body.
How to do it:
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight, heels on the ground, and your toes pointing up.
- Wrap the middle of the band around your feet and grab the ends of the band with a neutral grip.
- Keep your back straight and slightly lean back. That’s the start.
- Drive your elbows in until your lats and traps are entirely engaged.
- Return to the start and repeat for the desired times.
30-Minute Resistance Band Shoulder and Back Workout Routine
|Seated Banded Rowing||12-15||4||90-sec|
|Front Delt Raises||8-10||3||60-sec|
|Lateral Delt Raises||12-15||3||60-sec|
Download Workout PDF
- 1Fukunaga T, Fedge C, Tyler T, et al. Band Pull-Apart Exercise: Effects of Movement Direction and Hand Position on Shoulder Muscle Activity. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2022;17(3):400-408. Published 2022 Apr 2. doi:10.26603/001c.33026