What Is A Face Pull Exercise And What Muscles Does it Work?

Finding the will (and courage!) to start exercising can be one of the most difficult things to do. If you’ve already done that, congratulations! If you’re still gathering the strength to take that first step, we’re rooting for you!

Now, you can walk into a gym and just start exercising with any one of the machines they have, but fitness is so much more than just exercising and diet – you want to have a game plan. Out of all the different types of exercises out there, how do you know what’s right for you?

In this blog entry, we’ll be telling you about at least one of them – the face pull. So what is it, exactly? What muscles does it work? Uh, your face? Sit tight, we’ve got you covered.

What is a face pull exercise?

It’s when you use a cable pulley machine with a rope attachment to pull the weight straight toward your forehead. This exercises your rear deltoids and trapezius muscles, and helps improve your posture when lifting heavy objects – if heavy weightlifting is on the horizon, face pulls are a great way to prepare yourself – either way, it’s fantastic upper body strength training, and safer to perform than a lot of other back and shoulder exercises.

What muscles does it work out?

It works out your shoulders (particularly your deltoids), back (particularly your trapezius), and forearms

What equipment do you need?

A cable pulley machine with a rope attachment. If you don’t have access to one, you can use a long resistance band to perform this exercise. Loop it once around something sturdy at about chest level.

How do you do it?

Before we get to the steps, a few things you want to keep in mind to make sure you’re doing them correctly:

  • Try not to lean forward – keep your torso upright and back straight as much as possible
  • Keep elbows slightly lowered, hands at head level



  • Stand in front of the cable pulley machine and position the pulley system at around your chest level (though you may see others in the gym doing it at a level slightly above their head)
  • Grab each side of the rope attachment.
  • Step back from the machine until your arms are fully extended in front of you, with your feet slightly wider than your shoulder width
  • Bend your knees slightly.


  • Brace your core
  • Lift the weight from the stack and roll your shoulders
  • Pull the handles straight towards your face
  • Drive your elbows past your ears as far as possible – don’t hunch
  • Handles should be on either side of your face
  • Hold and squeeze your shoulder blades
  • Reverse the movement, slowly extending your arms

Settle for a weight that you can lift easily with just the movement of your arms, especially if you’re just starting out. You don’t want to compromise good form by lifting too heavy. Take it nice and easy, and make your muscles work for it. Just mind your form.

We suggest incorporating 2 sets of 20 reps into your back workout, or adjust it to the same number of sets and reps as your other exercises.

Consider using gloves or elbow sleeves for added safety and comfort.

And that’s it – good luck, our young Padawan!

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