Strength Training Tips for 40+ Healthy Shoulders

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Strength Training Tips for Healthy Shoulders

Why is resistance band training a safe and healthy way to train your shoulders??

Resistance bands provide those with shoulder issues a way to get strong and healthy shoulders without continual risk of re-injury.

Train in the scapular plane

Healthy ShouldersBands allow you to train in the scapular plane which is where the rotator cuff enjoys being.

Very often the scapula or shoulder blade gets stuck down and doesn’t move as well after years of lifting weights in a straight plane.

By training more in the scapular plane, it keeps the scapular mobile and moving well.

Exercises like overhead presses, bent over flies and upright rows will be far more tolerable and pain free using bands versus free weights.

Modify movement patterns easily

A band’s pliability allows it to be used in many different patterns of movement versus being locked into a single pattern with weights. Being able to modify the movement pattern slightly allows you to avoid restricted ranges that, when pushed through, typically lead to pain and injury.

Emphasize end range stability

Bands implement an ascending resistance. This automatically challenges muscles to stabilize the shoulder joint more aggressively the further the arm gets away from the body.

Creating better end range shoulder stability protects the shoulder cartilage and rotator cuff (which are the key shoulder stabilizers) from being over challenged when the arm is extended out away from the body (which is where it is most vulnerable to injury).

Use your hips to help the scapula

Bands are lightweight and therefore minimally influenced by gravity. This low influence of gravity allows you to incorporate secondary lower body movements with the primary shoulder movements.

An example of this would be adding a side step with an upright row or a forward step with a chest press. By adding in a secondary step, it creates a higher level of scapular and shoulder muscle integration.

Most shoulder injuries start because you are isolating the shoulder muscles to work by themselves. The shoulder does not work well in isolation. Therefore, by doing mostly isolated movements you are placing the shoulder in an unnatural movement pattern.

Unfortunately lifting weights requires more isolated training versus bands which allow for more integrated training.

Keep the shoulder strong

To get results you have to consistently get in your workouts. The shoulder is a joint that can easily become irritated if not exercised on a regular basis. Since bands travel well, they allow you to get in shoulder workouts as well as any other workouts anywhere.

Apply multiple resistance to warm up

Bands provide a variable resistance that can be modified by simply stretching out the band further at the start of the exercise. By doing this it allows anyone to optimally strength train with the best resistance immediately.

Often aging shoulders require a longer warm up period. Using bands to slowly warm the muscles up with a gradual increase in resistance is going to help you avoid any warm up related injuries to the shoulder (which is often when most shoulder injuries happen).

Change up exercises regularly to keep shoulders healthy

Most shoulder injuries are a result of overuse training. Since there are so many band exercises you can implement to strength train the shoulder, it eliminates overtraining by having to use the same exercise in the same pattern all the time.

Here are 8 shoulder exercises using 1 band with no attachment that demonstrate how versatile band training can be for the shoulder joint.

Implement band distraction

Resistance bands allow for distraction to the joint which is a movement the shoulder responds very well to. Distraction allows the shoulder, which is built for mobility, to avoid getting tight which is often what happens as the body ages or is injured.

Here is how to implement band distraction.


Traditional strength training with weights has its place as a valuable strength training tool. However, it also creates situations that can lead to shoulder joints and muscles being injured over time.

Changing things up by incorporating resistance bands into your strength training program will provide the shoulder with a safer and healthier strength training approach for the long-term.