The cable face pull is a very effective and popular exercise for building muscle and strength in the rear deltoids. But since they rhomboids (Upper back) and trapezius muscle act as secondary movers, they also get worked during the exercise. Now, there is a safety concern with the face pull since the shoulders are involved, so you want to make sure you are never internally rotating your shoulder which can cause impingement issues.
So, to ensure safe and effective training, always keep your shoulders low and hands in a higher position. Start with a very lightweight if you’re a beginner and work on your technique before progressing to heavier resistance loads.
The face pull is a great rear deltoid developer so make sure to never leave it out of your shoulder routine!
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Group: Posterior Deltoid, Upper Back Muscles
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Cable machine
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Attach a rope handle to the highest point on the cable machine.
- Then, stand facing the cable machine with a hip-width stance and grab the rope with both hands so that your thumbs are closest to you.
- Now, pull the rope towards your head but pull the handles outward to give you more range of motion. Keep your shoulders low and pull your arms back just enough to feel a contraction in the rear delts. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
- Slowly straighten your arms and extend them back towards the machine. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
Variations & Tips:
- You can also do the bent-over face pull using dumbbells as an alternative (See the second video).
- Always make your hands are above your shoulders to prevent internal shoulder rotation.
- Pull the rope handles outward which also allows for a better shoulder contraction and also gives you more range of motion.
- The cable face pull works the rear deltoids but the rhomboids and traps receive stimulation as secondary movers during the exercise.