The Resistance Band Pull Apart is a fantastic exercise I love to use frequently. It’s proven very useful to me as a prehab exercise to warm up my upper back and Posterior Deltoids before performing Squats or Bench Presses as well as reinforce neuromuscular efficiency in those areas. I also rely on pull aparts to reinforce proper posture both in myself and in my clients. They’ve very much come a long way since the Westside Barbell crew introduced them to the states decades ago!
But as always, too much of one thing is never good. While traditional pull aparts primarily target your Posterior Deltoids, they do indirectly hit your Anterior Deltoids, thanks to your hands being in a pronated (hands down) position. If you’re like me and many other lifters, you’re probably either using pull aparts to warm up with set sets or your supersetting pull aparts with your bench and squat sets. Benching indirectly hits your anterior delts and, if you squat in the low bar position as I do, those anterior delts are most certainly being stretched out. Needless to say, your anteriors are taking quite the beating when being worked through three exercises!
The Supinated Band Pull Apart
There is, however a way to reduce the stress and pain your anterior delts are receiving, and all it takes is one small adjustment with your pull aparts. There’s a reason why powerlifters tend to bench with their arms in a 75 degree angle: the angle takes the stimulus placed on the anterior deltoid and transfers it to their triceps. In that same manner, you can simply change your hand positioning as follows:
- Brings your arms out in front you and shoulder width
- Make sure your palms are facing up, your thumbs pointing outward
- Without moving your arms, retract your scapula until the band touches your chest
With your palms now in the supinated position (palms up), the stimulus is removed from the anterior delts and, in turn, the posterior delts are activated more. And if you’d like to increase your scapular mobility, you can using one more simple hack.
- With your palms still in a supinated position, bring your resistance band a few inches above eye level.
- From here, begin to retract your scapula, while pulling down toward your bottom chest.
My biggest recommendation is that, if you’re new to this, go ahead and start of with just a single layer of a mini resistance band. Make sure you can consistently hit 15 reps before using both layers of the band. After you’ve consistently hit fifteen reps using both layers you may then use a light band and aim for up to ten reps consistently. After you can do so you can then try using a heavier band for an even lower rep range if you wish. I increase the band sizes and decreases the rep ranges when I superset Supinated Band Pull Aparts with either Bench Press or Squats.
This will not only help you to save your shoulders, but it will also increases your scapular mobility, which is so crucial, especially when you have a heavy bar on your back!