July 26, 2022 6 min read
The deltoids are the biggest muscle in your shoulder, and they are responsible for moving the arm and stabilizing the rotator cuff. These shoulder muscles are made up of three heads: the anterior, lateral, and posterior.
Moves like the overhead press, lateral raise, and front raise are all exercises that help target the heads of this muscle group.
Out of the three heads of the deltoid, the posterior or rear deltoid is often the most neglected one.
Unlike bicep or triceps muscles, you can’t necessarily isolate this part of the muscle, but you can do exercises that put a greater emphasis on it.
Face pulls work the rear deltoid as it’s the primary muscle worked in this exercise, with the help from some of the muscles in your upper back.
This exercise can be accessible depending on the equipment you choose and can be simple enough for beginners to help build a balanced and solid foundation.
Pulling exercises like face pulls can be beneficial for the muscles on the back of your body that help contribute to deadlifts, pull-ups, and normal function outside the gym.
Face pulls are an isolation exercise, meaning they primarily target only one muscle group, but that doesn’t mean other muscles don’t help in stabilization or movement.
The primary muscle worked in the face pull is the posterior deltoid, also referred to as your rear delts.
Many lifters do exercises that can emphasize the anterior and lateral head of the deltoid, but without strengthening the rear delts, it can lead to imbalances in the shoulder and upper body.
For your posture especially, the rear delts can be important. Along with other scapula retractors, the rear delts assist in keeping your shoulders from rounding forward. If you have poor posture, it can lead to lower back pain, lessened core strength, and injury.
By implementing face pulls, you can also help build a balanced and overall stronger upper body.
Whenever you retract your shoulder blades, your rhomboids are recruited. Keeping this muscle strong can also help contribute to better posture, and greater shoulder stability and movement.
Along with better normal function, stronger rhomboids can help make your pulling exercises even stronger, meaning you can lift more while maintaining proper form.
The rhomboids contribute to the movement of face pulls since your shoulder blades retract and can be strengthened through regular strength training.
Your upper back muscles are important for posture, scapular stability, and overall movement, and the traps help contribute to all of this.
This muscle is responsible for helping move and stabilize the scapula, so they can be recruited during the face pull.
Keeping this muscle group strong can help create a stronger and bigger upper body and can be important in other pulling exercises.
The external rotators are the infraspinatus and the trees minor, which are responsible for abducting and externally rotating your shoulder.
Face pulls help to strengthen these muscles for better pulling strength, but also for better pushing strength.
Exercises like the bench press and push-ups can benefit from stronger external rotators as they can provide better movement and more stability to the rotator cuff.
Having a bigger, stronger body is just one of the reasons people may choose to implement face pulls. Daily function, better posture, and more stability can also come from this exercise.
It’s important to develop a training regimen with an equal amount of pushing and pulling because you can then focus on the muscles on the anterior and posterior of your body.
Face pulls can help build the muscles on the back of your body that help contribute to better pulling strength, which can mean bigger and better deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups.
All of the muscles recruited during the face pull all contribute to your posture.
Poor posture can not only look bad, but it can also lead to low back pain and potential injury.
By strengthening the important muscles that help good posture, you can reduce your risk of pain or injury, and by paying more attention to your posture, you can help increase your physical performance.
While a solid workout routine can be the start to healthier shoulders, knowing which exercises to perform can be important for shoulder strength and health.
Making sure to target the rear delts can not only help make your shoulders stronger, but it can also help make your upper body look better and more balanced.
Since face pulls mainly target the rear deltoids, you can use this exercise to help build muscle in your shoulders and your upper body.
To help further your muscle building journey, check out Whey-PRO for muscle building and strength gains without the unnecessary carbs.
Although it’s not too complicated of an exercise, it’s still important to understand how to do face pulls properly. This exercise is most commonly done on a cable machine using a pulley system with a rope attachment, but you can use other equipment if needed.
How to Do Face Pulls:
Cable machines are pretty popular in the gym, so often they can be all taken during peak gym hours. Or maybe your gym doesn’t even have one. Even though the face pull is commonly done on a cable machine, it’s not required.
You can do this variation anywhere, as long as you have a resistance band and a secure bar to wrap the band around.
Barbells and dumbbells may be seen as superior to resistance bands, but they can be just as effective at promoting strength.
How to Do Resistance Band Face Pulls:
This variation resembles an inverted row, but instead of grabbing the bar with your hands, you’ll use a rope attachment like you would on a pulley machine. This can be a great exercise if all the cable machines are taken.
How to Do Bodyweight Face Pulls:
Targeting all the muscles in your upper body can help you build a bigger, stronger, and more balanced body overall. You can help reduce imbalances in your shoulders by implementing face pulls in with your shoulder presses and lateral raises.
Making the time for regular exercise is the first step to being healthy, but knowing which exercises to use and why can make all the difference in the specific goals you set.