Whenever I mention the Face Pull exercise for the first time, training clients think I’m making it up—I promise it really is a legitimate exercise 🙂 It’s commonly performed by powerlifters.
Face Pull Benefits
Whilst it has one of the most bizarre names, it’s a great exercise for overall shoulder and scapula mobility, plus it also works the lower part of the trapezius muscle and the rhomboids (the bit between your shoulder blades).
Face Pulls can help with posture, to improve that hunched forward look—often experienced by office workers. You’ll probably feel quite a pump in your shoulders as well.
The movement is more important than using a heavy load, so you’ll only need a fairly low-load resistance band, or you can use a cable machine in the gym.
If you’re using a Pull Up Band, then most women will use an orange 0-15 lbs band, and men a red 20-35 lbs band.
How to do Face Pulls
Secure the end of the band to a post, door handle, tree, or anything else that is strong enough and stable. Ideally it should be attached level with your upper chest—lower than this is okay, but if it’s higher then you don’t benefit so much from the shoulder rotation part of the exercise.
- Hold your arms outstretched in front of you, gripping the band with an overhand-grip (like pushing a shopping cart). You’ll need to experiment on how far apart to hold your hands, depending on your strength level for the band you’re using.
- Brace your core, and either assume a split stance with your legs, or bend both knees a little, to stop you from falling forward when you begin the exercise.
- Keeping your whole body tight, and your chest up, pull your hands towards your forehead, whilst you simultaneously pull apart the band. Feel your shoulder blades squeeze together.
- Aim to rotate your arms back as far as you can (without pain of course). If you know what a bodybuilding ‘double-biceps pose’ is, then your finish position will look similar to that.
- Keep your head neutral, or slightly tucked in—don’t move your head to the band. Hold the contracted position for 2 seconds, then move your arms back to the outstretched position in front of you.
- Repeat for 8-12 reps.
I’d love to hear from you, so please drop me a comment in the box below, to let me know how your back and shoulders feel after this workout.
George D. Choy
Personal Trainer & Calisthenics Instructor
Gymnacity in Oxted, Surrey, United Kingdom
Some of the links or adverts in the post above are affiliate links—so if you click on the links and purchase an item, I may receive affiliate commission. All opinions I expressed in this post are entirely my own. Please refer to my DISCLOSURE page on the ABOUT tab. Let me know how your shoulders have improved from the Face pull exercise.