How To: Theraband work for shoulder strengthening

I’ve been picking up pain in my left shoulder for the past couple of weeks again, so I’ve just started doing a little Theraband work, good old swimmer’s shoulder.

Therabands are just large elastic (latex) bands, categorised according to resistance/strength, which can be used to isolate and work specific muscles. The colour indicates the amount of resistance. Their great advantages over using dumbbells or free weights are the muscle isolation ability and not least their portability and vast flexibility in isolating muscles.

I’m just using a medium green band and I’m concentrating on shoulder adduction (inward), abduction (outward), internal and external rotation and rotator cuff. Door handles make great anchor points when needed, and many exercises don’t need any anchor.

Here are some examples of great swimming specific Theraband exercises. One of the great things is you will see the muscles being worked and may find a more suitable way of doing these for yourself.

Rotator cuff strengthening:

External rotation (also for rotator cuff strengthening).

Internal rotation:

Shoulder adduction. You can also reverse the direction of this (abduction) by using a door handle, and going diagonally up and out.

Shoulder abduction.

Triceps stretch (the latter half of the front crawl pull is a triceps extension). Another variation of this is put the lower had as high up the centre of your back as possible and extend the overhead arm.

Shoulder dislocation, one of my favourite exercises, when I remember to do it. I used to do this one with a rolled up towel also.




Related articles:

Shoulders, the swimmer’s bane. (

Stretching for swimming. (


9 thoughts on “How To: Theraband work for shoulder strengthening

  1. How often do you recommend this routine? Really need to strengthen my shoulders but don’t want to overdo it. Thanks!


    • Hi Allan, For stabilisation work, a few minutes up to three times a day should be fine. I go through periods of doing it, then stopping for a long time. Recently I was doing it before work and sleep.


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  3. I’ve had very similar issues with both shoulders and done very similar exercises, work very well. There are a couple new ones in here I will definitely throw into my routine. Thanks!


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