Face Pull

Training Details Face Pull

  • Primary Muscle
    Rear Delt, Traps
  • Secondary Muscle
    Middle back, Biceps
  • Equipment
  • Level

Why Should you do Face Pull?

Face pull is an isolation exercise for the upper back between the shoulder blades and up to the neck. The back of your shoulders will also be exercised. In short, the exercise involves pulling your hands apart, towards and over your face so that they end up on opposite sides of your head.

Different Heights and Grips

Stand in front of a cable machine and use a long rope. You can set the starting height at different levels; some trainers suggest a lower one and others a higher one. Either you drive a height below the chin or drive a little higher up over your head. Try what suits you best; nothing is wrong but see which gives the best results for your body.

There are then also different ways to grip the rope. An easier one where we grip “over” the rope with the thumbs inwards towards each other and the palms down towards the floor. The second grip takes the rope “from below” so that the thumbs point upwards and the palms point inwards towards each other. The advantage of the latter grip is that we can rotate the whole movement more and thus contract the shoulder blades extra much. Test yourself on what suits you best.


Take a step back, lower your shoulders and lean back slightly. Sway slightly and tighten your stomach and buttocks to stabilize your core. If you cannot hold this position during the exercise, you should lower the resistance.

If you have grabbed the rope “from below,” it does not matter much what height you put the cable at. At all height levels, pull the rope towards your face and, at the same time, rotate your elbows so that the rope is pulled apart. The elbows should be below your hands in height, and you should have a slight 90-degree angle to the arms (as when you stretch your biceps). The advantage of this grip is that you can rotate your arms/elbows so that the shoulder blades are adequately compressed at the end of the movement. When the shoulder blades are entirely together, you can try to hold the position for a short while before rotating back. Remember that it is the shoulder blades that should work.

If you have the “over the rope” grip, the height level matters a little more. So is the height below your face so that you pull the rope diagonally upwards towards your face. Focus on keeping your shoulders above your hands throughout the movement.
If the starting height is instead higher than your face, the elbows can not be higher than your hands, but you should pull the rope diagonally downwards towards your nose so that each hand ends up on each side of your head.

Lower Traps

You can perform another movement that loads your lower Traps in this exercise. When you have pulled your hands back and pressed your shoulder blades together, you can lift your hands to the ceiling so that your arms are straight. Hold in this position for a few seconds, and then slowly lower your hands down to your ears again. When you get down, you go forward with your hands again as with a normal Facepull. This movement will strain your lower traps that hold back the shoulder blades.

Guide for Facepull

  • Lower your shoulders 
  • Tense your core
  • Do not swing the body during the exercise, it should be still
  • In the top position, squeeze out every last bit by pulling the shoulder blades together
  • Hold for a while in the top position at maximum load

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