Athlean-X strength coach Jeff Cavaliere explains how to maximize the benefits of his favorite back-building workout in a recent video.
Jeff Cavaliere, the founder of Athlean-X, believes the face pull is an excellent exercise for gaining upper-back strength and muscle, and he incorporates it into nearly all of his back exercises.
The face pull is an excellent exercise for building upper back, rhomboids, rear delts, and rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for external rotation of the shoulder. In fact, their sole movement role is to allow the shoulder to rotate externally. Ignoring their function can lead to long-term shoulder problems.
However, if you perform the face pull incorrectly, you won't obtain the best outcomes (as is true of every exercise). Cavaliere demonstrates the most common mistake individuals make when doing face pulls—and, more importantly, how to remedy it.
Take the effort to strengthen the muscles that keep the humerus centered within the glenoid in order to keep a shoulder functioning appropriately with proper biomechanics. If this is in place, you will keep your arm out of an impingement position as you elevate it overhead, limiting the inflammation and pain that can occur as a result.
If you're doing an overhead pressing workout or a barbell OHP, you'll want to be sure your shoulder can stay stable.
Make sure you start performing face pulls if you haven't already. If you are, make certain you are performing them correctly. When completing this exercise, far too many people will lead with their elbows. That is not the case. When you lead with your elbows, you're elevating your internal shoulder rotation. Over time, this can result in impingement. A useful workout can quickly deteriorate into one that isn't so beneficial.
Instead, think of it as a race between your hands and elbows to the back. You've completed the exercise correctly if your hands win the race. You've done it incorrectly if your elbows win the race. Maintain the ninety-degree angles between your elbows and shoulders as well, and you'll know you've completed this crucial exercise correctly.
You'll be able to reap the benefits of the face pull once you've made this transition and started moving more deliberately.
Bottom line: Make sure your hands beat your elbows when getting behind your body when doing face pulls.
To see his video, click here: