You Should Do This: Band Pullaparts

The 4 exercises that, I think I program for literally every single client.

1) Cat Camel Stretch:

2) Quadruped Thoracic Rotations:

3) Glute Bridges:

4) Band PullAparts:

All 4 address “posture” deficiencies more than anything.

In an era of perpetual flexed forward, shoulders rounded forward, desk jockey syndrome we need some more upper back to help PULL and HOLD us up.

Besides, I was once told you can never have too much ass, abs and upper back.

Band PullAparts 101:

 Stand tall:

  • Good thoracic extension: Chest up, bottom rib on the abs
  • Scapula down
  • Hips “under” you/ neutral pelvis: glutes tight
  • Knees straight not locked, just straight…
  • Feet flat,  straight ahead, shoulder width apart.

Arms long:

  • Wrists straight
  • Elbows straight but soft,  NOT LOCKED, and no way in hell should the elbows be hyperextended.

Underhand or overhand grip doesn’t matter a ton.

Usually the underhand grip will get people “more into” their lower traps, but not always, and from that standpoint alone is probably more useful for most folks.

HOWEVER, most beginners and those with really poor scapula control tend to struggle mightily with the underhand grip. ie. aint nothing but some serious end range approximation going on.

Rule 1: Stay tight through the movement.

You shouldn’t be swaying in the wind, leaning back,  with every rep.


Do as Doc Holliday Says:

“You’re An Oak”



Get tight, Stay tight and ONLY the arms and scapula move.

Rule 2: Shoulders down

When you do this…

It’s no good.

We need the whole of the scapula to move, yep even the bottom portion.

The way to achieve this is to stay tall, apply rule 6 and don’t rush.

Running through a set of 20 with your shoulders at your ears is just training the upper traps to do more and for 99% of the people reading this, YOU DONT NEED ANY MORE UPPER TRAPS OVERPOWERING THE MID AND LOWER TRAPS.

Rule 3: Move THROUGH the shoulder and scapula (at end range)

Not the elbow.

Its a piss poor triceps exercise.

Rule 4: No Over-reaching

More isn’t better, better is better.

End range is end range.

Keep the humerus in the joint at the end range of motion.

Once the scaps are together OR you’d have “reach” the arm back more, that’s it, that’s your end range of motion.


For lots of folks end range is going to be BEFORE you’re scaps touch and others BEFORE your arms are in line with the body.

You’re end range is your end range.

Rule 5: Don’t allow the band to SNAP you back to the start. 

The eccentric is important, if you’re not controlling the band on the way back to the start position, what the hell man?

Rule 6: Appropriate Tension

If you’re really struggling to get sub 10, maybe slow your roll bro lighten it up.

But, if you’re getting 20+ and barely feeling anything, you gotta up that sh@t.

Just cause it’s usually a warmup/ filler exercise doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “feel” it.

Rule 6: FULL Range of Motion

I can’t tell you how many times I have to tell people to come, “all the way back to the start position”.

The band shouldn’t completely unload at the start position (see rule 5) but you should be moving through a full (or damn near close) range of motion.

What’s the best band to use?

For most beginners and smaller women: 

Micro Band

Larger guys and ladies that lift:

Mini Band

Kinda beastly (and you just don’t want to choke up on the mini too much):

Monster Mini

Freak Beast:

Light band

A good rule of thumb is 50 continuous reps at the same speed, the band never unloading and using a full range of motion.

Do that, move up if ya want.

I prefer the bands from Elitefts, but really any work.

Tubing kinda sucks IMO, but in a pinch is ok.

Multi layer bands, like the Jumpstretch/ Elite ones are best because even if they get a small nick that’s only a layer or two deep or one of the layers breaks, you’re still going to get some good use out of the band for a while.

If the band gets a deep, several layers deep, cut in it.


That bad boy is gonna be snap city on ya sooner rather than later.

Here’s a VERY good video from Joe Defranco on how not to screw em up.

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