Face pulls are one of the best exercises you can do to build your rear delts, rhomboids, and external rotators. And getting a fuller range of motion, like in this variation from Jeff Cavaliere, C.S.C.S., a physical therapist and strength coach best known on social media for his Athlean-X training program, makes it that much more efficient.
The difference: Instead of setting up with a single cable, per usual, this variation uses two cables. Of course, this means that each arm works individually, which is great for identifying and addressing muscle imbalances.
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But, perhaps more importantly, by crossing the cables in front of your body, you get the benefit of what Cavaliere calls a “wrap around” position. At the start of each rep, the shoulder blades are fully protracted, and the rhomboids, infraspinatus, and teres minor get a nice stretch. This allows them to contract, work, and strengthen through a fuller, more impactful, range of motion.
Cavaliere uses a dual cable cross machine here, but you could also use two resistance bands. If you opt for bands, either at the gym or home, just make sure that you set up far enough away from the anchor point that, when your arms are fully extended, there is still tension in the band and in your muscles.
For the strongest upper back possible, perform the face pull from multiple angles—pulling down, straight to your face, and up—throughout your training cycle.
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What could possibly be better than a face pull? Two face pulls. Well, two separate hands participating to perform one! Actually, the main benefit here is the “wrap around” positioning of the arms at the beginning of each rep. This allows the shoulder blades to fully protract and get a full stretch on the rhomboids. Some will find that it creates a more natural recruitment pattern on the exercise itself. Whatever the case may be for you, I can say ANY face pull done correctly is a good thing to add to your daily training regimen. A little goes a long way here! Just be consistent!! P.S. Filter gave me gray hair and a tan even Haselhoff would be proud of! Shit! Mental note – don’t use this one again Jeff #facepulls #ftw #keepreppin #muscles #badfilter #elbowsup #trainsmart #teamathlean #jeffcavaliere #athleanx
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