What is the Face Pull Exercise? Tips, Technique, Correct Form and Benefits

Guide to the face pull exercise. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Scott Webb)
Guide to the face pull exercise. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Scott Webb)
Shuvangi Sen Chaudhury

Sometimes, your shoulder routine will not work on the posterior deltoids; this is where the face pull exercise helps. This exercise can be done on the cable machine, but variations of it using the dumbbell are also there.

The idea of the face pull exercise is to focus on the rear deltoids and the middle portion of the upper back. Before you understand how the exercise benefits you, you should know how the face pull exercise is done.

How to do the face pull exercise?

Set up the cable machine with the pulley positioned slightly above your forehead, and attach the rope grip to the pulley.

Stand facing the cable machine, and extend your hands forward to hold the two ends of the rope grip. Start pulling the rope towards your forehead, and engage your shoulders. Roll them back for better posture. and pinch your shoulder blades together.

Bring the rope all the way to your forehead. and keep your elbows flared, which engages the rear delta. Hold for two seconds before slowly returning to the neutral position.


You can do this exercise for three sets of ten to 12 reps.

Tips to do the face pull exercise better

Now that you know how the exercise works, you must know a few tips that will help you do the workout better.

Don’t try with a heavy weight: This exercise potentially works a smaller portion of the shoulders and back. Starting with a heavy weight could injure you. Therefore, it’s ideal to begin this exercise with a light weight and move up as you improve your posture and strength.

Keep your core engaged: The face pull exercise requires significant balance and stability. To achieve that, you should engage your core. The abdominal muscles will provide you with the balance and stability needed, becoming stronger in the process.


Focus on the negative: Maintain focus when you’re returning to the neutral position. Do not return to the neutral position quickly. Take your time, and control the weight while moving to the position. The more you control the negative, the more your muscles get worked.

Benefits of the face pull exercise

After knowing how to do the exercise, it’s time to know the benefits of the same:

Provides better shape to the shoulders

Almost all the shoulder exercises done on the lateral and anterior deltoids. However, the rear delts are one of the three heads of the shoulders. It’s important to work on them as well to avoid a hunching posture.

Helps with strength training

While your workout routine involves resistance training, it undoubtedly involves a significant number of push and pull exercises. A strong set of rear deltoids helps with these compound exercises, as they’re the powerhouse of the shoulders.

The rear delts engage themselves during shoulder press, bench press, bent over barbell row and several other compound movements.


Prevents injuries

If you’re only training the anterior and lateral deltoids, you’re susceptible to injuries from muscular imbalance. The face pull exercise works on your rear deltoids, which ultimately helps in preventing any such unwanted injury by providing a balance.

Common mistakes

When you’re working out or starting a new exercise like the face pull, it might take you some time before you perfect it. It will take time to improve your form and push to the next level. However, being aware of some of the most common mistakes while doing the face pull is important:

Incorrect form

The form is of extreme importance in this exercise. While you’ll need time to perfect it, remember that this exercise focuses on the rear delts. Hence, you must focus on pinching the shoulder blades and keeping your elbows flared to feel the pressure at the correct point. Otherwise, you could end up with pressure on your biceps if your elbows point downwards, or palms don’t face inwards.


Using heavy weights

While it’s okay to try heavy weights, it’s not ideal. You need to choose a weight that the smaller muscle group can support. If you use a heavy weight, other muscles will join in to support it, but you want to avoid that.

Additionally, it’ll become difficult for you to control the momentum if you use a heavier weight than what is necessary.

Edited by Bhargav


Fetching more content...