Band Pull Aparts | Great Tips For Proper Execution

band pull aparts
Resistance Band Pull Aparts

Resistance band pull aparts are a terrific tool to incorporate for strength, muscle building, injury rehab, minimal equipment workouts, and warming up before a training session. No matter what level of fitness you are in, this exercise has benefits that can be reaped, given enough time, and proper execution.

Band Pulls Aparts | Basics

As someone who struggled with shoulder impingement early in my fitness journey, adding resistance band exercises greatly increased my overall shoulder mobility, strength, and resilience. Band pull aparts in particular, have become a staple at the beginning of every workout, along with banded upright rows, and side raises.

Below are some of the major benefits of pull aparts:

  1. Improved shoulder strength and mobility (injury rehab)
  2. It can be performed anywhere with nothing more than a resistance band
  3. Improved upper back strength
  4. Benefits carry over to other exercises
  5. Great way to warm up the shoulders and upper back
  6. Inexpensive in comparison to weight equipment
  7. Can build muscle using progressive overload

How To Do Banded Pull Aparts

There are three common grips used when performing the banded pull apart, including:

  1. Pronated Grip (palms of the hands facing downwards)
    • Primarily upper back/trap focused
    • Rear deltoid secondary focus
  2. Parallel Grip (palms of the hands facing inwards)
    • Primarily upper back/trap focused
    • Rear deltoid secondary focus
  3. Supinated Grip (palms of the hands facing upwards)
    • Primarily rear delt focused
    • Upper back/trap secondary focus

No matter what grip is used to perform a pull apart, the execution will remain similar among each of them.

Once a grip has been chosen here are some tips to assist with proper form:

  1. Stand straight up with arms out in front (about shoulder width)
  2. Tighten your core and pull the band apart while keeping your arms relatively straight
    • Try to pull apart far enough so that the middle of the band touches your chest
    • Pull far enough apart to fully contract the muscles of focus
    • Try to keep your chest held high
  3. To avoid overuse of the bicep/tricep focus on pulling with the elbows and shoulders
  4. Pick a hand spacing on the band that allows for a full range of motion
Band Pull Aparts | Video Demonstration

Here are some example rep ranges:

  1. 2×10
    • A good rep range to warmup
  2. 3×25
    • A suitable rep range to burn out the upper back/rear delts

Band Pull Aparts Muscles Worked

The primary body parts involved in this movement are the shoulders and back. More specifically the upper back and rear deltoids. No matter which of the three grips is used, all of these muscles will be stimulated when done properly. However, grip choice will determine which muscles get the majority of the stimuli.

Primary Shoulder Muscles Worked:

  • Rear delts

Primary Back Muscles Worked:

  • Rhomboids
  • Traps

Resistance Band Pull Apart | Types Of Bands

Two common types of bands used for pull aparts are resistance bands with handles and loops. The type you choose depends on preference, budget, and what other functions you intend to use them for. Loop bands are generally more expensive than handle bands. Both types of bands are available in a variety of sizes and resistance levels. This is convenient for progressive overload.

Some commercial gyms are equipped with both types. Experimenting with each will help decide which ones are right for you. Personally, the handle bands tend to flop around more, so I like using loop bands when available. However, some bands offer the capability to detach the handles.

band pull aparts handle bands
Handle Bands
resistance band pull aparts loop bands
Loop Bands

Banded pull aparts are the perfect tool for building up the rear delts and upper back with minimal equipment on a limited budget. Give them a try and see how they work for you!

Eric Decremer
Eric Decremer

Eric is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and competes in the USPA Powerlifting Association. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!

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