3 Way Pull Apart

3-way pull apart

The 3-way pull apart is a versatile upper body exercise designed to strengthen the shoulders, upper back, and core while enhancing shoulder stability and mobility. By using a resistance band, this exercise targets the rear deltoids, traps, and rhomboids through three different pulling angles: horizontal, diagonal, and vertical. This multi-angle approach ensures a comprehensive workout that helps athletes and fitness enthusiasts build a stronger, more stable shoulder girdle.

Ideal for sports that rely heavily on shoulder health and upper back strength, such as swimming, baseball, and weightlifting, the 3-way pull apart also promotes better posture and counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting. It’s especially beneficial for individuals who spend long hours at a desk or frequently engage in pushing exercises like bench pressing, as it reinforces proper scapular movement patterns.

Adjustable for all fitness levels by varying the resistance band’s tension, the 3-way pull apart is a valuable addition to any upper body training routine. Incorporating this exercise regularly will enhance shoulder mobility, reduce injury risks, and improve functional movement patterns for better athletic performance and overall shoulder health.

Equipment Needed

Light resistance band

Instructions for the 3-way pull apart:

  1. Sit or stand and hold the band in front of you with arms straight and either a palm up or palm down grip
  2. Pull the band apart with arms at shoulder height, making a ‘T’
  3. Return to the starting position, switch one grip so that one hand is palm-up and the other is down
  4. Pull the band apart again with the palm up hand elevating overhead and the other moving toward your hip
  5. Return to the starting position, switch your hands and repeat on the opposite side

Common Errors

  • Make sure to initiate the pull apart by engaging your shoulder blades and pinching them together
  • It is important for the palm-up hand to be the one moving overhead. Doing so with the palm down hand could lead to shoulder pain.

3-way pull apart Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • Lessen the resistance by gripping the band further apart, or by using a lighter band

If you want more of a challenge:

  • Increase resistance with a more difficult band or by gripping the band closer together


You can perform all the reps in one pattern first before moving to the others. This will save time from switching grips between each rep.

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