If you’ve tried training with elastic bands you probably know it has rapidly become the method of choice for developing explosive power and speed in the gym. Most people, however, only consider using elastic bands in conjunction with multijoint lifts like the bench press and squat. In reality, elastic bands can be used for just about anything in the weight room, and to illustrate this, we’d like to introduce you to the banded pull-apart.

To perform pull-aparts, start with one of the lighter bands in your set – a single green band should suffice. Hold the band at its ends, in a supinated grip, in front of you with your arms extended at shoulder height. From here, simply pull the band apart, keeping your arms fully extended, until your arms are directly to your sides and parallel to the ground. At the finish, your palms should still be facing the floor.

The first time you try pull-aparts, keep your hands at the very ends of the band, even if the tension seems too light. With each successive set, move your hands a few inches closer together until you find the width that presents a challenge. Progress in this fashion to perfect the proper movement pattern, and make sure you hold the band at full extension for a second or so at the end of each rep.

Pull-aparts are a high-rep exercise that can be performed several times each week. You can introduce them as part of your upper body warm-up, to rehabilitate sore shoulders or as a viable substitute for just about any rear deltoid exercise. Start with multiple sets of 20, and adjust the band tension based on your goals for each particular workout.

Pre-Exhaust Delt Workout

1. Band Pull-Aparts: 3-5 Sets, 20 Reps, 45 sec. rest

2. Dumbbell Front Raise: 3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, –

-Superset with-

3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 1 min. rest

4. Dumbbell Overhead Press: 3 Sets, 8-10 Reps, 1-2 min. rest