Shoulder strength is imperative with your contortion and flexibility program. We need shoulder strength for over head presses such as handstands. Theraband exercises for the shoulder allows us to increase the intensity as our strength levels continue to grow.

A contortion program is heavily focused on strength training with an increased range of motion. Without having the muscle power to engage the shoulders you are unable to move through a greater degree of motion.

Passive flexibility is not what we are looking for here. The strength from the muscles is how we increase our range of motion. The muscles are able to draw the shoulder up and away.

Therabands are used to increase lean muscle mass, they are also quiet popular in rehabilitation work too.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder is a complex collection of joints, tendons, and muscles that allow your arms to move in different directions. That includes simple things like scratching your back to more complex activities such as walkovers and c backs.

Your shoulder consists of three bones:

  • The humerus (the bone in your upper arm).
  • The scapula, (Shoulder blade).
  • The clavicle, (Collarbone).

Your upper arm has a rounded edge that fits into the ball socket in the shoulder blade. This is called the glenoid.

The muscles and tendons in your shoulder help to keep your upper arm in place inside the glenoid. All these muscles are called the rotator cuff, and they cover from the top of the humerus, and attach to the shoulder blade. 

If you are feeling like it is not just the shoulder you need to work on but perhaps the entire upper body you can head on over to 21 Relieving Upper Body Stretches once you have finished your strength training drills below.

What is a TheraBand?

A TheraBand is a thick elastic band that provides a means of resistance allowing the user to strengthening muscles with different levels of resistance..  

Benefits of Using TheraBand Exercises For The Shoulder

As a contortionist, Therabands will help you in two ways. First, to strengthen joints and muscles. Secondly, it will help you improve your flexibility when used to increase your range of motion. For instance you can use them for PNF stretching.  

The following are some advantages of doing exercises with TheraBand:

  • They suit all levels of strength training, from rehabilitation to the advanced contortionist.
  • The bands are affordable. You can easily get a set for under $20.
  • TheraBand is portable and easy to carry about. You can easily fold them up and throw them in your purse.
  • Thearabands come in sets. training your quads vs your shoulder are going to need a large variations in the levels of resistance. That means you can always find the kind that fits you the most and improve as you go on.

Lifestyle factors that affect the shoulders:

The majority of the risk factors that cause pain in the shoulders are similar to those that cause other Musculoskeletal issues. These include:

  • Genetics.
  • Hormonal influences.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Comorbidities.  
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Poor coping skills.

Mainly, people who carry excessive loads tend to have particular shoulder wear and tear in the rotator cuff.

The following are some contraindications that you might have a weak shoulder:

Activities that are prone to shoulder injuries include:

  • Rigging.
  • Aerial sports.
  • Gymnastics.
  • Moving house.
  • Construction and building employees.

TheraBand Exercises to improve your shoulders

The following are some exercises that I recommend. Before embarking on exercise get in touch with a local doctor to see if it is right for you!

Always warm up before you start any exercise.  


  1. Heart Starters! 3 minutes of activity that gets that heart going and starts to move that blood around to the body. Here are a few examples: Jumping jacks, running on the spot, high knees, dance, jumping rope, squat jumps, lunge jumps.
  2. 20 Shoulder circles forwards and backwards.
  3. 30 squats.
  4. 30 sit ups of your choice,

Now that you are warmed up, let’s get to the exercises! 

Bilateral Adduction of the shoulder with a Theraband

This is a strengthening exercise for your shoulder and rotator cuff muscles.

How to:

  • Standing with your hands shoulder width apart holding your theraband.
  • Staying in the same lateral line, begin to move the hands out and away from the body.
  • Bring the hands back to center.

Adduction Of The Shoulder Using A Theraband

How to:

  • Start with your arm up high and to your side
  • Now, pull a band downwards towards your opposite knee.

Active Pendulum Shoulder Exercise Using a Theraband

This is an active mobility exercise for your shoulders.

How to:

  • Leaning forwards, let both arms hang by your side.
  • Gently move your arms just a few inches away from each other
  • From there, return to the start position.
  • As you get more confident, you can keep increasing the distance between your arms until you can lift your arms to the horizontal.

Ascended 120 Degrees Shoulder External Rotation Exercise with a Theraband

This is a simple yet essential strengthening exercise for the rotator cuff shoulder muscles.

How to:

  • Lift your elbow to 120 degrees
  • Then, rotate your arm outwards, using the band for resistance.

Shoulder Flexion Exercise with a Theraband

There are three types of band flexion. The types vary depending on the degree to which you are lifting your arm. It could be 30 degrees, 45 degrees, or 90 degrees.

Either way, the band flexion is a strengthening exercise for the shoulder (mainly to the anterior deltoid or front shoulder muscle). The exercise will also help you improve mobility and strength to your shoulder.

Shoulder Flexion:

Band Flexion 45 Degrees:

Band Flexion 90 Degrees:

Band Flexion 30 Degrees:

How to:

  • Place an exercise band under your foot, and lift the other end upwards.
  • Take your arm out slightly to the side (30, 45 0r 90 degrees from the front).
  • When you have reached your limit, move your arm back down.

Bilateral Abduction of the Shoulder with a Theraband

This exercise strengthens the rotator cuff muscles and the deltoid.

How to:

  • Relax your arms by your side and hold the ends of an exercise band in each hand.
  • Stretch the band away from your body to create resistance.
  • You will feel muscle contraction in your upper arms and shoulders

Deltoid Theraband Stretch

This exercise stretches the deltoid muscle located in the upper arm and shoulder.

How to:

  • Place your arm across your chest
  • In that position, try to resist pulling your arm away from your body.
  • Try not to move your arm.

Shoulder Mobility Exercise with a Theraband.

Drawing the Sword:

This is an excellent mobility and strengthening exercise for your shoulder.

How to:

  • Start with your thumb pointing down, somewhere near your opposite knee
  • Taking the band, lift your arm above your head and to the side.
  • At the top of the movement, your thumb should be pointing upwards (that is, your arm should be turned out). Imagine you are drawing a sword out of its sheath.
  • Return to the start position.

Shoulder Injuries:

The girl doing gymnastics dance on blue background

We all hate injuries but then, they happen anyway. Shoulder injuries occur when you are not careful enough or if the shoulders are weak. A few commons signs that you may be suffering from a shoulder injury:

  • Abnormal movement, stiff or painful shoulders
  • Feeling like the shoulder could pop out from its socket
  • Weakness in the shoulder

How to treat shoulder injuries

If you are having some shoulder pain, you can try the following to help get better:

  • Cold compress: Wrap ice in cloth and place on the affected area 3 to 4 times for 2 to 3 days. The cloth wrap is essential because putting the ice directly on your skin might cause frostbite.
  • You could also rest the shoulder for a few days. During the period of pain, try to avoid all contortion activities as this will allow the place to heal up. Gradually return to your sessions with the supervision of your physical therapist. 

Prevention is always better than a cure

Check out my guide on: 15 ways that prevent shoulder pain.

Until next time, stay strong and limber,

Vanessa Barthelmes.

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Flexibility, Contortion & Yoga Instructor.


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