How to Do Shoulder Face Pulls Properly

The shoulder face pulls, also known as the face pull, is one exercise that most people often underrate and don’t often perform.

You should consider adding it to your regular workout routine since it is easy, versatile, and an excellent warm-up drill for your shoulders.

The shoulder face pull targets the rear deltoids that are often unworked by other shoulder drills. Working the rear delts helps alleviate muscle imbalances and improves shoulder strength. When you use the correct form to execute, you realize this exercise isn’t hard to pull at all. You can use this exercise as an upper-body hypertrophy regimen.

Also known as Face Pulls

Targeted Muscles: Scapular Stabilizers, Rear Delts

Required Equipment: Cable pulley

Exercise Type: Body Building

Exercise Mechanics: Isolation

Difficulty Level: Intermediate


  • Loop a rope attachment with two handles to a rotating cable pulley. Set the rope at a height slightly above your head.
  • Choose the right amount of resistance in the weight stack. Remember this is not a hypertrophy workout. Choose a lighter load and concentrate on executing the workout using the proper form.
  • Assume a hip-width stance facing the cable machine.
  • Reach and grab the rope handles with both your hands. Keep a neutral posture and ensure your palms are facing inwards.
  • Take some steps backward until you feel the resistance in the band. Ensure you extend your arms fully and your knees are slightly bent. Raise your chest and roll back your shoulders. Brace your core.
  • Pull the handles in the direction of your forehead such that your hands are in front of your shoulders. Pinch your shoulder blades together and maintain the position for a few seconds.
  • Gently stretch your arms to resume the starting position and repeat. Ensure the weight doesn’t rest on the stack until you are done with the set.


  • Remember to pinch your shoulder blades together. This is the best hack when performing shoulder face pulls.
  • Choose a lighter load. The targeted muscles in this workout-the rear deltoids are a small muscle group. If you use heavier loads, the chances of recruiting the bigger and stronger muscles are higher. This will consequently defeat the goal of the workout. Let your rear shoulders do the lifting.
  • Focus on the correct form of pulling the workout. The success of this workout heavily depends on your capability to maintain a good posture. This is another reason why you should only load the appropriate weight. Using the right weight will prevent you from falling forward and minimizes the back strain.


The shoulder face pulls target a specific muscle group, which are mostly small in size and are responsible for a variety of functions that allow for shoulder mobility.


The scapular stabilizers-including the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and the rhomboids are the main muscles that control your shoulders as you do overhead, pulling, and pressing movements.

Shoulder face pulls are excellent for strengthening and reinforcing stability that’s essential for upper body lifts.


The rear delts are the primary muscles recruited as you perform shoulder face pulls. The rear delts are responsible for retracting the shoulder and rotating as you pull the resistance band.



Proper posture is vital for your overall health. Emphasis on posture has grown over time, considering factors such as desk work for long hours that make you assume a slouching posture for long hours. This workout builds strength in the muscles of the upper back, which later improves your posture.


A strong musculature translates to a less injury-prone body. You can do hard tasks with ease without having worries about sustaining any injuries in the process. This exercise is important especially for the lower and upper back since those muscles are more prone to injuries.


As you work out, you may often train your chest and leave your upper back and shoulders, not because of ill intentions though. This can result in muscle imbalances and can cause you problems. A big chest supported by a weak back is a lot for the body to handle. Therefore, include this exercise in your normal workout regimen to prevent issues arising from muscle imbalances.



Requirements: Cable Machine, V-bar

Level: Beginner.


  • Begin with a standard position. Hold the bar with a wide grasp.
  • Exhale and lower the bar down until it is approximately leveled with your chin. Even though twisting a little backward is okay, ensure your upper torso isn’t moving. Keep your feet on the floor and remember to engage your abs as you pull. Be sure to halt the motion when you can’t move your elbows down anymore without tilting backward.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades to maintain square shoulders.
  • With the bar parallel to your chin, return the bar gently to the starting point and control its gradual climb. Ensure the bar doesn’t crash on the weight plates.
  • Repeat until you complete the desired set of reps. Have short intervals of rest then complete the sets.



Positioning of the pulley may not seem to matter as much, but it is actually very key. Setting the resistance band too high may expose your deltoids to injury risks. Positioning the pulley way too low will make you not target the muscles intended thereby defying the workout goal. Ensure you set the bands correctly and focus on executing the workout with the proper form.


Always remember to train your shoulders. Shoulder health is very important for regular exercising and translates even in our everyday activities. There are several alternative methods you can use to train your shoulders if you cannot access resistance bands or a cable machine. Incorporate shoulder workouts into your routine and remember the importance of doing shoulder workouts.


If you’re looking to work your upper body, then shoulder face pulls are ideal for you. The upper body is never complete without a properly worked shoulder musculature. This workout is pretty easy to execute, just ensure you focus on the correct technique to execute it. Without properly developed shoulders, attaining your overall fitness goals might be a hassle.

Consider including this shoulder exercise in your regular workout routine. If you feel any pain while working out, terminate the exercise immediately. Check on your form and consult a certified trainer.