Face pulls are great for working all of the tiny and often missed muscles in your upper back as well as your shoulders and your traps.
How to perform face pulls
You’ll need to head over to the cables for this exercise.
Adjust the height of the cable to around shoulder height (find the pin and simply pull it out to adjust to the correct height, release pin back into place). Attach the rope fitting and select the weight you’re comfortable starting with.
Face the machine and grip the ends of the rope firmly. Stand back, and lean back slightly so that you have enough space to pull the weight directly towards your face. As you pull the rope towards your face you should split it so that you end up with a hand either side of your face. Stop before the middle of the rope attachment reaches your face!
Your arms should be parallel with the ground throughout the exercise. Hold for a second when your back muscles are fully contracted. Then release back to start position through the same controlled movement. Go for reps.
Step further away from the machine if you don’t have enough space to safely pull back far enough.
Face pulls: Common mistakes to avoid
Note that sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. Performing your face pulls with incorrect form may recruit other muscle groups during the exercise. Equally this means you will poorly engage the intended muscle groups. Poorly engaged muscled seldom get good results.
Always keep the muscle you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise. This is the ideal way to ensure best results.
Avoid using momentum and taking your body with the weight, you should only be moving your arms only while maintaining good posture.
Reps and sets
As with all individual exercises, face pulls need to be worked into your overall bigger picture. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing is to get started, the rest will come with experience.
If you are a more advanced lifter, you should consider your current strength and goals. From there, build your plan.
Beyond face pulls...
More back exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of back exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.