Face pulls are one of my favorite exercises for shoulder rehabilitation (trainer talk for fixing all the damage we do sitting at a desk, not stretching, and pressing heavy crap) that will help stabilize your shoulders and strengthen your lower lats and posterior delts.  Desk workers, powerlifters, and cyclists are all at risk for upper crossed syndrome which is basically a rounding of the shoulders.

What is happening is your scapulae (shoulder blades) are sliding up and out.  This position is referred to as abduction, or winging, giving you a Quasimodo like appearance.  The typical tight pectoralis major and minor along with weakened posterior shoulder muscles further complicate the problem.  This simple exercise will simultaneously train scapular depression and retraction which will aid to bring your shoulder blades back down.  It appears simple but no other exercise compares when attempting to correct this postural deficit among most people.  Stick with a lighter weight and higher reps in the 10-12 range.  Check out this video here from Cressey Performance and this article here for other shoulder saving strength exercises.  (p.s. when I get more views I will be adding my own videos *wink *wink)

How To Do It

  1. Attach a rope to the high pulley of a cable station and grab an end with each hand so your palms face each other, thumbs toward you.
  2. Back a few steps away from the weight stack until your arms are straight in front of you and you feel tension in the cable.
  3. Pull the rope toward your eyes so your hands end up just outside your ears. You should be positioned in the classic bodybuilder’s “double-biceps pose.”
  4. Allow your arms to straighten out slowly in front of you.

On a side note my current goal of dumbbell snatching 100lbs was met yesterday.  It was ugly, but I got it up and was extremely proud of myself and my accomplishment.  My next goal is to deadlift 500lbs by January which is realistic and real badass in my mind.  I am currently pulling a max of 365lbs. so I have a long way to go.  I have never been a power lifter so this will be a new challenge for me.

What are your goals and how do you plan to get there?


Written by Steve