Resistance bands are a convenient option to free weights. They are especially beneficial for the shoulders because they allow you to move your arms through the various ranges of motion allowed by your shoulder joint. You can perform many kinds of shoulders exercises with resistance bands.
Shoulder presses strengthen the anterior and middle sections of your deltoid muscles on your shoulders. To perform the exercise with a resistance band, stand on the middle of the band and hold one end in each hand about an inch in front of your shoulders. Extend your arms to stretch the bands upward and slowly lower your hands back down. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Front raises focus on your anterior deltoid through shoulder flexion -- lifting your hands forward in front of your body. To perform the exercise, stand on the middle of the band and hold one end in each hand at your sides with your palms facing backward. While keeping your arms straight, repeatedly raise your hands forward to shoulder height and slowly lower them back down.
Lateral raises strengthen the middle part of your deltoid muscles through shoulder abduction and adduction -- moving your arms sideways away from and toward your body, respectively. To perform lateral raises such as front raises, stand on the middle of the band and hold one end in each hand at your sides, turning your hands so your palms face your body. Then repeatedly abduct your arms to shoulder height and slowly let them back down. Keep your arms as straight as possible throughout the movement.
The reverse fly exercise works on the posterior, or back, aspect of your deltoid muscles. To perform the exercise, first attach the middle of the band to a sturdy object. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should then hold one end of the band in each hand, drop to your knees, and extend your arms in front of your chest. Arc your hands away from each other to stretch the resistance band. When your arms are extended sideways away from your shoulders, slowly reverse the movement. Repeat for as many repetitions as you desire.
External rotation strengthens the shoulder muscles responsible for turning your upper arm clockwise, away from your body; these are called your rotator cuff muscles. This is an effective exercise to prevent and treat rotator cuff injuries, according to Sports Injury Therapist Mike Walden. To do the exercise, attach one end of the band to a fixed object at about waist level. Next, stand so the band crosses your waist and hold the free end with your hand furthest from the fixed object. While keeping your elbow fixed by your side, turn your arm to stretch the band as far as possible and slowly reverse back to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of repetitions and then do the exercise with your other arm.
Internal rotation works the rotator cuff muscles that turn your upper arm counter-clockwise -- toward your body. Perform this exercise just like external rotation, but hold the free end of the band with your hand closest to the fixed object and pull it across your waistline. Be sure to do internal rotation with both arms.