The Face Pull: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Mistakes

Updated: 22 hours ago


The Face Pull: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Mistakes

The face pull is an underrated exercise that can do wonders for your physique. It targets the muscles of the upper back and can potentially improve your posture. In this article, we will describe the face pull exercise in detail. We will focus on the muscle-building aspects of the exercise and how to perform it correctly. Lastly, we will discuss some of the variations of the face pull and how to avoid making common mistakes.


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


What muscles does the face pull work?


The face pull primarily works the muscles of the upper back, including the rear deltoids, traps, and rotator cuff. It also hits the biceps to a certain extent.


One of the advantages of the face pull is that it is an isolation exercise. This means that it targets a specific muscle group, which makes it great for building muscle. Another advantage of the face pull is that it is relatively easy on your joints.


The face pull is a great exercise for people who want to build muscle and improve their posture. It is especially beneficial for people who spend a lot of time hunched over their computers or phones. The face pull can also be used as a warm-up exercise before heavier lifting.


Now that we've talked about the benefits of the face pull, let's move on to how to properly perform the exercise.


How to Do a Face Pull


There are two main ways to do a face pull: with a cable machine or with resistance bands.


Cable face pulls:

  • Attach a rope attachment to a cable machine and set it at shoulder height.

  • Grasp the rope with your palms facing each other and pull it towards your face, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Resistance band face pulls:

  • Anchor a resistance band to a sturdy object at about shoulder height.

  • Grasp the band with your palms facing each other and pull it towards your face, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Choosing cable face pulls versus resistance band face pulls depends on your level of fitness. If you are a beginner, we recommend starting with resistance bands. As you get stronger, you can move on to cable face pulls.



Common Mistakes


One of the most common mistakes people make when doing face pulls is using too much weight. It is important to use a light weight and focus on contracting your muscles.


Another common mistake is not squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. This can lead to poor form and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


Variations of the Face Pull


Once you have mastered the basic face pull, there are several variations you can try to keep things interesting.


Variation #1: Seated Face Pulls


The seated face pull is an excellent variation if you want to focus on your upper back muscles. It is also a great exercise for people with lower back pain or injuries.


To do seated face pulls:

  • Sit on a bench or chair with a cable machine behind you.

  • Attach a rope attachment to the cable machine and set it at shoulder height.

  • Grasp the rope with your palms facing each other and pull it towards your face, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Common Mistakes


One of the most common mistakes people make when doing seated face pulls is not sitting up straight. It is important to maintain good posture throughout the exercise.


Another common mistake is not keeping your elbows close to your sides. This can lead to poor form and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


Variation #2: Bodyweight Face Pulls


Bodyweight face pulls are a great way to make the exercise more challenging. They are also a good option if you don't have access to a cable machine or resistance bands.


To do bodyweight face pulls:

  • Find some gymnastics rings or a TRX system.

  • Adjust the height of the rings or TRX so that they are at about shoulder height.

  • Grasp the rings or TRX with your palms facing each other and pull them towards your face, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position and repeat.


To make the exercise more difficult, adjust the position of your feet. If you put your feet further away from your hands, you will have to pull your body weight further, making the exercise more challenging.


Common Mistakes


One of the most common mistakes people make when doing bodyweight face pulls is not using a full range of motion. It is important to pull the rings or TRX all the way to your face.


Another common mistake is not keeping your elbows close to your sides. This can lead to poor form and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


Variation #3: One-Arm Face Pulls


One-arm face pulls are a great way to focus on each side of your upper back individually.


To do one-arm face pulls:

  • Set the cable machine at shoulder height and attach a single handle.

  • Grasp the handle with your palm facing in and pull it towards your face, keeping your elbow close to your side.

  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder blade together. Return to the starting position and repeat.

  • Switch sides and repeat with the other arm.


Common Mistakes


One of the most common mistakes people make when doing one-arm face pulls is not using a full range of motion. It is important to pull the handle all the way to your face.


Another common mistake is not keeping your elbow close to your side. This can lead to poor form and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


Variation #4: Standing Cable Rows


Cable rows are a great exercise to do if you want to focus more on your medial back muscles.


To do cable rows:

  • Attach a rope attachment to the cable machine and set it at waist height.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and grasp the rope with your palms facing each other.

  • Pull the rope towards your waist, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat.



Common Mistakes


One of the most common mistakes people make when doing cable rows is not using a full range of motion. It is important to pull the rope all the way to your waist.


Another common mistake is not keeping your elbows close to your sides. This can lead to poor form and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


Summary


The face pull is a great exercise for building muscle in your upper back. It is important to maintain good form and use a full range of motion to get the most out of the exercise. There are also many variations of the face pull, so you can focus on different muscle groups or make the exercise more challenging. Just be sure to avoid common mistakes such as not using a full range of motion or not keeping your elbows close to your sides.


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


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