Using a resistance band to do a shoulder press is a beneficial strength training exercise for anyone who reaches up to place objects on shelves, like groceries, dishes, etc. Strengthening the shoulder muscles prepares them to reach up with confidence and strength when needed.

The resistance band is a versatile and dynamic piece of gym equipment, especially concerning your clients in the age group of 40-60 years. Resistance band work is perfect for those clients that can’t or don’t want to perform heavy weight bearing exercises, who need to strengthen stabilizing muscles, and for overall joint and connective tissue health.

Resistance bands are a great way to progress from doing shoulder presses on a guided machine. They allow a little more freedom in range of motion while still providing a guided path of motion.

Practice this motion without any weight first and rule out any possible shoulder issues or asymmetries. Then, give it a try with a light resistance band to start.


  1. Lay the band along the length of a bench.
  2. Sit in the center of the band so an end is exposed on either side of you.
  3. Be sure the length of each end on either side is equal.
  4. Gripping the handholds, bring hands to just above shoulder height, thumbs pointing towards the body, sitting up straight, elbows out to the side, and feet flat on the ground. This is the starting position.
  5. Extend elbows, raising hands up overhead.
  6. Be sure that the shoulders are not shrugging when hands are overhead.


*Depending on what feels more natural for your client you can start with the band behind the elbows (first picture) or start with the band in front of the elbows (third picture).

10 repetitions: 3 sets: 15-second rest between sets

Try this exercise yourself and then with clients who are ready for this level of shoulder exercises. Resistance band exercises are great homework to give your clients to do when they’re away from you or while traveling because all they need is one band for all their resistance exercises.

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Alex has her A.S in Exercise Science and is a certified Personal Trainer with NFPT and NSCF. She recently traveled to India to gain her 200 hr yoga teacher certification where she studied the ancient practice at its origins. Alex has spent time teaching yoga in Spain while volunteering at a yoga retreat and is currently working at her local college instructing two fitness courses. Alex wants to share with her clients and students the mental, physical and emotionally healing qualities of exercise and movement. She believes everyone should have a healthy relationship with their bodies and strives to thread that concept throughout her career.