Shoulder injuries suck. Bad posture sucks too. Today we’re going to cover one exercise that is easy to learn, long forgotten, and incredibly useful not only for balancing out your shoulders and fixing your posture but for preventing a rotator cuff catastrophe. Time to befriend the face pull.
As you read, just remember that this is not only an exercise to build muscle. The face pull will help you to fix your posture in a very direct way. Performing them routinely will help you to stand up straight like there’s a plank strapped to your back – without even thinking about it. You’ll bulletproof those fragile RC muscles and be able to train for the long haul.
FYI the “rotator cuff” so to say is actually a collection of small muscles. The face pull will target one of them in particular, called the infraspinatus. You’ll want to mix in some other movements to hit the rest of the muscles. Check out this post for more on that.
Why Perform the Face Pull Over Other Rear Delt Exercises?
It’s hard for me not to say “well, give em’ a try and you’ll see.” If you stopped reading now and did, you’d see what I mean. You’ll feel the interesting sensation of a collection of postural muscles awakening from slumber. Your rear shoulders will get a good workout from the face pull, but a gaggle of other small muscles of the upper back will get activated as well. No worries though, the showier trapezius and rhomboid muscles will be worked – so rest easy knowing you’re still building a good amount of muscle with this move.
I’ve from countless people their struggles in getting the proper activation of the rear shoulder with rear delt flyes. I’ve tri ed everything personally, from changing weight and rep schemes to protracting my shoulder blades while performing the exercise. Whatever I do pales in comparison the beautiful burn I get from well executed face pulls!
No Gym Needed
You can use the cable pully and rope attachments at your gym, if you have one or you can build an impressive back and set of shoulders at home with some simple, inexpensive equipment. I’ve suggested this on plenty of occasions, but (if you don’t already own some) I’d recommend getting yourself a set of resistance bands. I linked to these specifically because I like the system for adjusting them – just clip whatever band you want onto the handles. They come in many varieties though, so don’t feel like you have to get these in particular.
How to Perform the Face Pull
Here’s a quick video demonstrating the movement. Remember to pull from the elbows, treating it like a high row. At the end of the movement, pretend you’re competing on stage as a chiseled bodybuilder holding a double biceps pose. Sounds goofy, but it’ll help you remember the position.
Notice he makes a point of packing his shoulder blades back before each pull. You can purposefully NOT do this to hit the rear delt more, but save that for when your rotator cuff on each side is nice and strong.
Give this exercise a fair shot and you’ll love it. KEEP THE WEIGHT LIGHT or you may do more harm than good. Shoot for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
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