Pull Apart With Resistance Bands

Pull Aparts are an exercise that you can do to build your upper back, especially your rear shoulders and can also be used as a great warm up and stretching exercise for shoulder care as well – and by doing it with a resistance band you have the perfect setup.

In the first part of this article, I will show you how to pull aparts with resistance bands properly and in the second part, you find some tips and variations for pull apart that you should really try out.

Pull Aparts With Resistance Band

Let’s jump right into how you do the basic pull apart with resistance bands.

Pull Aparts can only be done with resistance bands and there’s no way to do this exercise with weights or a cable machine because of the angle that you need to set up.

A resistance band has several advantages for training, as we described here, especially when training joint-friendly and getting more controlled movement during your exercises.

Many people focus so much on pressing movements that they start creating a disbalance by not actively training the opposing muscles properly, the pull part is a great exercise that will help you close that gap, especially if you start feeling pain in your shoulders during classical pressing exercises.

How To Pull Apart The Right Way

Get into an upright position with a neutral spine and hold the band in front of your body at the height of your chest.

Pull Apart gif

Now you will pull the band apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull back. Focus more on pulling your hands out instead of pulling them back and you will feel this exercise fully.

You really want to use a light band here because the movement will not use any big muscles.

Important Do’s & Don’ts!!!

Head Position
No Slack
Back Position

pull apart head position⓵ Head Position – do not move your head forward during the pull apart. Your head should always be in a neutral position. It helps looking forward and not downward, this will automatically prevent you from rolling your head forward.

pull apart no slack⓶ No Slack – avoid slack in the band. As I said, you really want to use a really light band here and you should already have some pre-stretching in the resistance band at the starting of the movement so keep your muscles under tension all the time (even if that’s a small tension).

If you can’t do it properly without slack, you’re using a resistance band that’s too tough for you and you need to take a lighter band.

pull apart shoulder position⓷ Back Position – don’t let your shoulders be static all the time. You will roll them in forward at the beginning and the end and roll them back when you actually pull apart – the objective of this exercise is to give you shoulder that full motion and when you “fix” your shoulders by squeezing your shoulder blades together all the time you won’t get that.

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Alternative Ways To Pull Apart With Resistance Bands

There are two variations that I really like when doing pull parts, depending on for what reason you do this exercise.

Turning Thumbs Up – if you do turn your thumbs upwards during the pulling movement you will get more contraction and emphasize the rotator cuff muscular a lot more.

Pull Apart hand positionThis external rotation is really beneficial for those of you who want to use the pull apart to balance that pinchy ache during pressing movement out. If you know that feeling in your shoulders when doing bench pressing or any other pressing movement, you really should use this variation here to strengthen your rotator cuff.

Bent-Over Pull Apart – this is a great variation to use for your warm up and you will bend over like you would with an upright row. From here you do the pull apart in the direction of your belly button, your chest and your upper chest after each other. This will give your rotator cuff the full movement range that you need to warm up.

Pull Apart bentover
Get The Right Resistance

Pull Apart hand wrapA common problem is getting the right resistance when you do the pull apart with a resistance band.

You will grab the band shoulder-width apart but normally you have the problem that the band will “slip” a little bit so you find yourself with less resistance after several reps.

I really like to wrap the band around my hand one time, this lets me focus less on grabbing the band and I can focus more on the pulling movement altogether.

Full Back Workout

Simply doing pull aparts is not a full back workout as there are multiple muscles working in your back and pull aparts is rather a warm up exercise – we have here a full back workout with different exercises that will give you the strongest pump you can ever think of – check it out here.

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