Face Pulls: How To, Benefits, Tips

Face Pulls are an effective and fun accessory back and shoulder movement, designed to target the upper lats and posterior deltoids, by using the rope attachment on the cable pulley, for a full retraction of the scapula. Adding in face pulls to your back day training split is a great way to build more muscle and strength through an isolated movement.

What Are Face Pulls

Face pulls help target multiple muscle groups in the upper back, most notably the rear deltoids and latissimus dorsi. Face pulls are an amazing accessory workout, to help square the shoulders and pull them back, which helps develop a more natural posture. 

The delts are separated into three separate heads—the anterior, lateral (medial), and posterior. The anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid are often worked far more than the posterior, or "rear delts," because they're involved in pushing and pressing exercises., often used in exercises such as shoulder press, front raises, lateral raises, and bent over flys. Without working the rear delts sufficiently you can create muscular imbalances, resulting in injury and a forward arching posture. 

Face Pulls Benefits

Face pull provides unique benefits as opposed to other back exercise training movements. Face pulls target the upper lats and can contract the scapulae and activate the upper back muscles to a greater degree than many other strength movements. 

  • Increase Muscle Mass
  • Improve Strength
  • Optimizes Body Composition

How To Do Face Pulls

  1. Set up the cable pulley, so that the pulley system is positioned at the top above your head.
  2. Reach up and grasp the rope handles with both hands with your palms facing out. Step back until your arms are fully extended.
  3. Tighten and engage your core and lean back slightly at a 20-degree angle.
  4. Pull the rope toward you just enough to start lifting the weight from the stack, then engage your shoulders.
  5. Pull the handles of the rope toward your forehead. Retract your scapula (squeeze your shoulder blades together) and engage your rear delts and traps. Keep your palms facing in as your elbows flare outward toward the sides.
  6. Reverse the movement and slowly extend your arms without allowing your shoulders or chest to roll forward as you extend maintaining good posture throughout the exercise.

Face Pulls Tips & Tricks

  1. Make sure the load (weight) is light enough to maintain your balance and counter balance your weight when stepping back and positioning yourself. Find an optimal weight, that is felt when retracting during your concentric motion (lifting phase), yet not to heavy to neglect the full range of motion.
  2. The rear delts are a smaller muscle group, therefore, start light and work your way up.

Face Pulls: Takeaway

Face pulls are a great added accessory movement to your back day training split. Face pulls provide a very effective contraction of the upper lats and scapulae, which can increase lean muscle mass and strength. 


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