Banded pull aparts are a great minimal equipment exercise to help strengthen your upper back. They’re incredibly important and belong in every upper body day routine, whether that be as a warm up, superset with a compound movement or a burnout at the end of your session.
If you want to improve your heavier compound movements, start by introducing banded pull aparts into your split.
How to do a Banded Pull Apart
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart to create a stable base.
- Holding the band horizontally, raise your arms to shoulder height, keeping your palms facing down, have your arms so they are slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Depending on the strength of your band you may wish to have it pulled tight or slightly slack.
- Keeping your shoulders down and chest up slowly start to pull the band apart, pulling from the shoulders not arms. A great trick is to focus on pushing your shoulder blades together rather than pulling the band apart.
- Pull until the resistance becomes too much or you are standing with your arms in a T position.
- Repeat this movement for the required reps. As part of a warm up or burn out you want to high a high rep range, but as a superset aim for around 15 reps.
Primary muscles used
Rear deltoids, rhomboids and trapezius. As well as the stabilizer muscles in your shoulders known as the rotator cuffs.
Strengthening these muscles will improve your posture and increase your bench press, back squat and deadlift. This is the muscle group that creates the shelf for your barbell back squat and it will also help prevent your back squat from becoming a good morning.
Commonly asked questions about Banded Pull Aparts
What if my band is too heavy?
If you are struggling with the band you have there are a few options.
- Buy another band. Obviously it’s not ideal to have to purchase more equipment but they are widely available and can be extremely affordable.
- Change your grip. You don’t have to start with the band already tight you can have it so there is a large dip in the middle, that way rather than pulling the resistance you’ll just be straightening the band out.
My band hurts my hand too much?
One downside with rubber bands is they aren’t the most comfortable things to hold, again there are a few ways around this.
- Buy a fabric resistance band. Again these are widely available online and are a lot softer than a rubber resistance band so won’t hurt your hands.
- Alternatively you could get some lifting gloves which would protect your hands.
- But, the more you keep repeating the movement your hands will get used to the feeling and it will stop hurting, so if you don’t want to invest in new pieces the best thing you can do is keep going.