If there was one exercise that you should be doing every single workout, and even on off days, then this would be it. In this video, I’m going to show you the number one exercise that you should do every day that will help to improve your posture, fix common muscle imbalances, improve your performance on the big lifts, and increase your shoulder joint mobility.
The exercise you need to perform is the band pull apart. Now, before you think to yourself that you have done plenty of these and you haven’t seen the tremendous benefits that I’m promising you here, I want to be sure you take note of how I’m telling you to perform the exercise. There are key mistakes made when doing band pull aparts that I want to help you fix right now.
First is the grip applied to the band when doing the pull apart. Most people will take an overhand grip on the band and start pulling their hands away from midline out to their sides. Usually, this is done with the hands at shoulder level or slightly lower. The problem with this is that in order to get your arms turned over and the hands on top of the band you put your shoulders into a bit of internal rotation. When you raise your arms up, this can become an uncomfortable position for some and more problematically an overused position for almost everyone.
We simply do not get enough shoulder external rotation in our daily lives and exercise routines. We can fix that by quickly shifting the grip to an underhand position and performing the pull apart this way. As you move the hands backwards you want to try and lead with your thumbs so that you feel the shoulders rotating even more and the muscles of the rotator cuff firing up as well.
The next thing people do is they aim to perform high rep counts of these rather than high quality reps. When it comes to the band pull aparts, you likely aren’t going to fix any issues if all you are doing is racking up lots of low quality reps. Since this is an issue of poor muscle activation and not volume you would be doing yourself a favor by focusing on high quality contractions each time albeit at a lower total rep count.
Next, you want to change the plane in which you move the band. Too many people think that pull apart should occur parallel to the ground with a focus on the protraction and retraction of the scapulae to improve the strength of the rhomboids. That really should not be the focus of the move. Not when you consider that the upward and downward rotation of the shoulder blades is an often times much more overlooked element of normal movement.
Pull from a high to low position and you won’t only hit the rotary component of shoulder elevation but also you will still get the benefits of the mid scapular retraction that comes from doing the exercise as it is commonly done.
All in all, when you perform this exercise properly you start to retrain the muscles of the shoulder blades that were likely under activated and dormant. Your rounded shoulder posture will quickly start to go away, strength and muscular imbalances that came from years of bad training will start to dissipate, shoulder mobility will improve and the strength on the big lifts will increase even without changing anything else about your training.
The key to the effectiveness of all of these benefits is just making sure to consistently get this done. I’m not talking about having to carve out a lot of extra time to do this. As little as 20 to 30 reps each day (that should take you no longer than 1-2 minutes) is enough to start overcoming all of the negative side effects that have come from ignoring this exercise until now. No need to worry about overtraining with this since there is very little eccentric focus and the band is not enough to cause breakdown. The strength you see will be from neuromuscular reeducation.
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