November 07, 2021 9 min read
Looking to build some big shoulders? Well, look no further because we’ve got the exercise that’ll take your shoulder routine to the next level.
Barbell face pulls are one of the best exercises that you can do to help develop some boulder shoulders.
In this article, we’ll show you how to do them and tell you all about the amazing benefits of this exercise.
You may have heard of this exercise before but never actually looked into it. It’s possible you’ve heard about how this exercise is great for a shoulder routine. While that is definitely true, it’s not the whole truth.
A face pull is not just a shoulder exercise, but a back exercise as well. They come with a lot of benefits and can be a great part of any back or shoulder day!
A barbell face pull will primarily work the upper posterior chain, or the upper back muscles, along with shoulder muscles. Specifically, this exercise will work your rear delts, trapezius, and rhomboids.
Just by looking at the muscle groups that are worked in this video, it’s easy to see why this exercise is recommended for people looking to grow their shoulders.
Despite this being one of the best exercises for your shoulders, there’s a lot of mistakes you can make while doing it.
Here are some things that you should avoid when doing your face pulls!
Now we’ve mentioned that this exercise is an excellent way to develop your shoulders.
If that in and of itself wasn’t enough to entice you to try it out, here are some added benefits:
As we just said, there are plenty of alternatives to the barbell face pull. These alternatives require minimal requirements and can even be done at home. Here, we’ll show you just what we mean, that way you’ll never have an excuse not to do them!
This type of face pull is generally the type you’ll see people performing most often. It hits your rear deltoids, just like the barbell variant. What many people like about this variant is that you don’t have to bend over to do it. This makes it easier on the back and there’s no way that you can cause injury unless you’re overloading. Here’s how to do the exercise:
This variation is for people who are looking to get a better range of motion out of their face pulls. Not only that, you can actually use more weight on this variation. That being said, make sure that you’re still doing your best to maintain proper form. Also, don’t overload as you don’t want to cause an injury.
As you probably already guessed, you can do this exercise using dumbbells. For this variation, all you really need to do is grab some dumbbells and perform the same motion that you would with a barbell.
This variation is easier on beginners since you won’t be lifting as much weight. We highly recommend this variation if you’re just starting with the exercise and are looking to really nail down your form.
This is the perfect variation for our lifters who work out from home. For this face pull exercise, make sure that the space you’re using is open enough to accommodate. Also, some gyms will have areas dedicated to the use of Face Bands that you can use instead.
Here are some other exercises that you should look into if you can't do face pulls or are looking for something to supplement it. All of these alternatives will work your rear delts and back but won't isolate it as much as a face pull.
Barbell rows are a great exercise. They're one of the best upper body exercises for hypertrophy and building muscle and perfect for putting mass on your back, especially when combined with proper nutrition and sufficient protein.
This is an excellent exercise in terms of strength training. Many people struggle to do more than a few reps with this exercise because you have to use your own body weight. If they're too difficult for you, many gyms provide assisted pull-up machines
This is a surprisingly good alternative to the face pull. Pretty much everyone knows how to do this exercise and it also happens to work your delts, alongside your chest and triceps. It can be a great warmup and there are plenty of variations to go with it.
Now that we’ve talked all about face pulls, it’s time to answer some common questions surrounding the exercise.
While face pulls are certainly an excellent exercise that you should incorporate into your routine, you shouldn’t commit a full workout to them. Doing this could end up causing an injury due to overworking your rear deltoids.
Therefore, you should include a range of different exercises to work alongside the face pulls, depending on the other muscle groups you’re working with.
Generally speaking, you should include face pulls when you are doing any sort of routine that involves your shoulders or upper back muscles. For instance, if you’re doing chest day, chances are you’re going to be doing a lot of pressing motions.
By doing face pulls alongside these other exercises, you’ll ensure your shoulder muscles don’t become imbalanced. The same goes for back days too, though you won’t have to do as much since many back exercises work for similar muscle groups.
Generally speaking, the face pull is one of the safer exercises that you can incorporate into your routine. You’re not taking the risk of having a large amount of weight falling on top of you, like on a squat or bench press. Also, you don’t have to worry about hurting your back somehow due to a large amount of weight like in a deadlift. That being said, there are some complications that can happen with face pulls.
As they say, “too much of a good thing can be bad,” and face pulls are no different. Excessive use of this exercise, especially when using a heavyweight and poor form, can lead to shoulder impingement.
This can usually be corrected with physical therapy or even a chiropractor. Also, with variations like resistance band face pulls, you do run the risk of the bands snapping and hurting you.
Yes! The face pull does work on your side delts. However, it’s not as effective as other exercises and mainly focuses on your rear delts and upper back muscles. If you’re looking to make some aesthetically pleasing, big shoulders, you need to incorporate other exercises that work all of the points of your shoulder. So, don’t neglect doing exercises like lateral raises and shoulder presses to really make your shoulders pop.
The barbell face pull is one of the best exercises that you can incorporate into upper body routines. It is amazing for developing your rear delts as it does an awesome job at isolating the muscle group.
Not only that, but it has plenty of benefits as well. It will make sure there aren’t imbalances in your shoulder muscles and also keep them healthy and improve scapular stability.
If you aren’t already doing this exercise, you should start including it in your upper body days immediately.