Face Pulls for Healthy Shoulders

When it comes to training, nothing can slow your roll faster than a set of beat up shoulders.

And while your standard pressing and pulling exercises might be able to help, one of my favorite shoulder friendly exercises is the face pull.

In this short video I’ll explain not only why I like the face pull, but give you a handful of variations to try next time you’re in the gym. Enjoy!

Now that you’ve watched the video, here are a few notes to improve your performance:

  • Reach LONG at the start/finish. One issues I see on rowing and face pull variations is constantly keeping the shoulder blades retracted. Instead, think about allowing the scapulae to full protract and the upper back to “open up” at the start/finish of every rep.
  • Squeeze the scap(s) back. On the flip side, our goal here is to pull the scapula(e) together when we perform a face pull. To do this you’ll need a blend of elbow flexion and scapular retraction to work through that full range of motion.
  • Keep the thumb up throughout. This was a big mistake I made in the past, but having the hand/elbow high at the hand pronated can definitely irritate the shoulder. To remedy this, think about using a more neutral grip where the thumb could point up throughout.

Face pulls aren’t going to make or break you in a physique competition, but they can go a long way to keep your shoulders healthy.

Give these variations a shot next time you’re in the gym – I think you’ll really enjoy them!

All the best,

Get 3 days of my best coaching materials — for free.


Notebook with pencil icon Write better programs
Trophy icon Learn how to motivate clients outside the gym
Meditation icon My most popular resets for instantly improving movement quality


Leave Comment

Leave a Reply

Back to All Posts