What Is A Face Pull
Face pulls use a cable machine with a rope attachment to train the rear deltoids, the muscles in the back of the shoulders, with support from the traps, rhomboids and rotator cuff. Strengthening these muscles can help with poor posture, improve shoulder stability, and help with overall shoulder and back strength.
The most popular of shoulder movements typically include pressing and raise movements which mostly work the anterior and lateral delts and neglect the rear delts. Including rear delt exercises like the face pull is important for building strong, healthy shoulders. It also helps to prevent muscular imbalances between the front and back of your body, which can lead to poor posture like slumping.
Commonly Asked Questions On Face Pulls
Cable face pulls mainly work the rear deltoids, but the traps, rhomboids, and rotator cuff are also engaged as they work to stabilise the shoulder joint during this movement.
Face pulls are primarily a shoulder exercise as the rear deltoids are the main muscle being worked. However, the rear delts, along with the upper back muscles that support in face pulls, are involved in many pulling movements that target the back muscles, and strengthening the rear delts should help to improve many back exercises.
Face pulls help to strengthen the muscles supporting the shoulder joint, including the rotator cuff. It’s important to choose a manageable load and use correct form by pulling the cable towards your face, keeping the elbows pointed upwards and out to the side, to avoid injuring the rotator cuff in this movement.
Face Pull Tips
Opting for a neutral grip (palms facing each other) over a pronated grip (palms facing down) in face pulls can feel more comfortable on the wrist and provide a greater range of motion, making this exercise more challenging and beneficial to the rear delts.
Choosing a manageable weight is important to avoid momentum and ensure the exercise remains effective. Swinging back and forth to yank the load is likely to involve the lower back, exposing it to injury risk and reducing the tension placed on the rear delts. Try to engage the core and opt for a challenging yet controllable weight to get the most out of the face pull.
How to do Face Pulls
Set a cable machine to chest height and add a rope attachment.
Grip the rope using a neutral grip, so that the palms are facing each other.
Take a step backwards and adopt a shoulder width or staggered stance.
Begin the reps by pulling the rope towards your face, pulling the rope apart as you do so. Keep your elbows pointed upwards and to the side as you pull.
Squeeze your rear delts and take a short pause before returning the rope to the starting position with control.
If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.