How to Do Shoulder Extension Properly

The shoulder extension, also known as bilateral shoulder extension, is a shoulder workout that uses elastic resistance bands to work the shoulder muscles and improve mobility.

The shoulder extension strengthens the shoulder blades and trains the posterior deltoids thereby improving body posture. This exercise is versatile, easy to learn, and beginner-friendly. Perfect your technique by beginning with light resistance bands. Maintain a slow and controlled pace and remember to avoid swinging, using momentum, or rocking.

For this workout, perform 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps, or modify the sets and reps as instructed by a certified trainer.

Also known as Bilateral Shoulder Extension

Targeted Muscles: Deltoids, Upper Back, Rotator Cuff Muscles, Biceps, and Triceps

Required Equipment: Resistance Band

Exercise Type: Hypertrophy

Exercise Mechanics: Compound

Difficulty Level: Intermediate


  • Set a resistance band around a steady object or a pole at hip height.
  • Assume a hip-width stance as you face the pole and hold both ends of the resistance bands in each hand. Ensure you keep your hands at your sides.
  • Take a step, or a few steps backward from the anchor point to create tension in the resistance band.
  • Stretch your arms back as far as you comfortably can while keeping your arms straight. Contract your shoulder blades as you do this.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and resume the starting position in a controlled motion.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.


  • To ensure the effectiveness of shoulder extension, ensure:
  • You begin slowly. If you are a beginner, don’t attempt to do too much at the beginning stages.
  • Breathing helps to reduce tension and alleviate stress and will also help you work out longer than you normally would.
  • If you feel any pain, stop immediately. Feeling a little discomfort is normal with regular workouts, but if you feel a sharp pain, stop immediately.
  • Ensure you check with your therapist or personal trainer before you settle on shoulder extension if you have existing shoulder problems or had surgery.


The three muscles that act as the prime movers include Delts, Latissimus dorsi, and the pectoralis major.

The rotator cuff muscles- Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Teres minor, and subscapularis, are responsible for reinforcing the ball and socket shoulder joint to prevent humerus dislocation. They also act as synergist muscles to foster rotational or angular arm movements.


People often experience shoulder tightness as a result of issues ranging from posture to age. Many individuals don’t often focus on maintaining shoulder mobility until the pain or stiffness impacts them. For this reason, it is important to train your shoulders using shoulder extension exercises to keep them strong and active for longer.

The benefits of shoulder extension include:


The probability of sustaining shoulder injuries when you have limited shoulder mobility is high when working out and even carrying out the normal daily activities. Any normal activity like reaching for objects or lifting items overhead might put stress on your shoulders. You can alleviate these issues by training your shoulders to keep them flexible and mobile.


Limited shoulder mobility makes physical activities like free weightlifting or climbing difficult. This is why training to increase your shoulder mobility is important. If you’re looking to enjoy an active lifestyle without ay shoulder restraints, consider shoulder extension as part of your regular workout routine.


With increased shoulder mobility comes a better motion range which translates to more entire body workouts and movements that target only specific parts. There are compound exercises that work the entire body. The only way to guarantee benefits from these workouts is to ensure your shoulder joints can keep up with the motion involved.

Limited shoulder mobility can slow you down. For that reason, train your shoulders to ensure the maximum effectiveness of these drills.



This is a perfect alternative to shoulder extension since it will work your anterior and lateral delts. Likewise, it works the traps, and upper back and develops shoulder stability.

Requirements: Dumbbells


  • Assume a hip-width stance holding light dumbbells in each hand. Rest your arms on your sides with your palms facing the legs.
  • Arch your elbows slightly and raise your arms frontwards to your shoulder level. Lower the dumbbells back gently to resume the starting position.
  • Maintaining the bend in your elbows, lift your arms out sideways to the shoulder level and gently lower them. That’s one rep, keep going!


Requirements: Dumbbells

  • Stand with your hips shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp a dumbbell, gripping it at both ends, and hold it to your chest level. This is your starting position.
  • Raise the dumbbell to eye level and circle it around your head in an anticlockwise motion assuming a halo shape.
  • Resume the starting position and repeat in a clockwise direction. That’s a complete rep.

This is an ideal option if you’re looking to increase your shoulder mobility since it works the front and rear delts equally. Likewise, this drill will improve your postural alignment.



Beginners often tend to rush the workout and generate momentum in the process. The delt heads are small. Therefore, to isolate them, you need to avoid recruiting other muscles and using momentum. You don’t want to hurt your ego by using very light weights, but if that is what it takes to isolate your delts, go for it. Consider executing the workouts while standing and take a slight pause at the bottom of each rep.


Focusing on the band resistance and not the muscle stimulation, often as a result of rushing the workout makes you execute the workout by any possible means. Some exercisers perform with the wrong technique while others just develop bad habits. Other people may just never learn the proper technique that stimulates the muscles correctly. Working out using the correct technique is key, to reducing injury risks that might be imposed on the joints, especially since the ball and socket joints are susceptible to injuries.


If you’re looking to improve the strength, mobility, and health of your shoulder muscles, consider the shoulder extension workout. Performing this exercise has many benefits including alleviating shoulder tension, increasing your motion range, and preventing injury.

Focus on working your middle delts more than your front delts. Execute the workout in a slow and controlled manner to avoid using momentum.

Focus on the correct technique to avoid cheating and consider a wide variety of shoulder workouts to train your delts effectively and get the most from shoulder mobility workouts.

Give it a try!