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Banded Pull Aparts : Keys To A Healthy Posture And Strong Back

A lot of us focus too much on the front portion of the body that we can see in the mirror.

Thats why we always see pec flyes performed at the gym but rarely do people do the equal and opposite exercise.

This under-utilized exercise called the reverse flyes or pull-aparts are probably more important to generaly health and strength.

Pull Apart Muscles Worked

Band pull-aparts work your rhomboids, rotator cuffs, rear deltoids, and trapezius muscles. Your rotator cuffs are incredibly important for any kind of shoulder movement.

Why Banded Pull Apart are the Best Pull Apart

There are many ways to load the pull aparts such as with dumbells weightedplates and cables, but we believe the best version is the banded pull-apart which uses resistance bands

The banded pull apart is the best variation of the pull apart.

Here are 3 reasons why they are superior:

1) Band Pull Aparts Require Minimal Equipment

Dumbells, weightplates and cable machines are expensive and heavy, which mean syou can only perform them at the gym or at home if you are lucly enough to have a home gym.

However resistance band is extemely light and cheap and because of that anyone can have one in their backpack to perform even on the go.

This is a very nice feature, since pull aparts can and should be performed with high frequency.

2) You can micro-adjust the load

Dumbells, and weightplates only come in certain increments. The load for cable machines come in even larger increments.

Lets use Weightplates as an example: They come in 1.25kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10kg, and 20kg plates

For an exercise like the pull apart that requires very little load, lets assume you want to ideally use 3.5kg.

Unfortunately tou are stuck with either 2.5kg or 5kg. Although the difference in absolute terms is only a 1kg or so, in relative terms these weightplates also over 30% too light or too heavy from the ideal weight!

The benefit of resistance bands are that you can adjust the load by just grabbing more or less of the band. You can get the ideal load this way.

3) Strength Curve Matches the Resistance Curve

In a given range of motion of the joint, we are strongest in the middle, and weaker when our muscles are in a more contreacted or elongated positon.

This is essentially calle dthe strength curve. We want the resistance of an exercise to best match the strength curve for optimal gains.

The issue with dumbbell, and weight plate pull apart is that they are too easy in the elongated position and too hard in the contracted position of the pull apart.

The cable machine has the opposite issue where it's too hard in the the elongated position and too easy in the contracted position of the pull apart.

The resistant bands have the force curve that best matched the strength curve of the pull apart. At the elongated positon the resistance bands is not stretched and their is not much tension.

At the contracted position the resistance bands is stretched but the tension from the bands is not in perpendicular to the joint angle so their is not much tension on the joint either.

Only in the middle of the movment where the joint angle has maximum force do we feel the maximum resistance from the bands.

How To Do Band Pull Aparts

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Grab a shoulder width length of resistance bands while bringing your arms out in front of you with palms facing down.
  3. Pull the band apart by bringing your arms to the side until you are in a T-Position.

Resistance Band Pull Apart Tips

Here are a few tips to optimize your resistance band pull aparts:

Tip 1: Don't use momentum! Control the movement as best as possible on both the concentric and eccentric.

Tip 2: Don't shrug : Avoid using your trap muscles to compensate. Its better to lower the intensity if the load is too much.

How Often Should I Do Band Pull Aparts?

This exercise can be performed everyday since the muscles trained are very small and recover quickly!

And because they can be performed anywhere as long as you have a resistance bands we really recommend to do these daily!

We recommend them after a long desk session or after your chest days.

Try 3 sets for 15-20 repetitions each session.

Pull Apart Benefits

There are two main benefits from performing the band pull aparts.

Improves Posture

Many of us have terrible postures do to staring at our phones or sitting at our desks all day. This can lead to shoulder, lower back and neck strain.

The band pull aparts reverses the effects of the bad posture, by strengthening the muscles that help keep us upright.

Prevent Injuries

Band pull apart leads to healthier posture and strengthens the stabiliziers that control the shoulder joint.

As we know, bad posture and weak stabilziiers often lead to injuries.

You can imagine that the opposite will reduce and prevent injuries.

Increase Pulling Strength

When performing pulling movements, the rear delts are being used. However they never truly get trained to failure since its not the primary focus of most pulling exercises. Therefore is never gets trained to its full capacity.

A small muscle lke the rear delts really needs high frequency and training to failure to grow optimally. Pull Aparts encourage more hypertrophy.

Given two identical people, except that one has more developed rear delts, who do you think will be better at pullups and rows?

It may not be a big difference but it's most likely noticable that the one with better rear delts will pull better.

Band Pull Apart Variations

Upward Palm Band Pull Aparts

This Variation helps you get better scapula depression helps you get a peak contraction

Furthermore, this variation really opens up the shoulders and is great for those that have muscular imbalances from bad posture or training too much chest and not enough their back muscles.

Grab the resistance bands but with your palms facing up.

Overhead Band Pull Aparts

This Variation not only helps with the retraction and depression but Aso with rotation of the scapula! In this exercise you can work all 6 scapula movements as shown in the diagram above.

Start with the hands 45 digress above horizontal and pull to the T-position like in the traditional band pull aparts.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.