T Nation

Face Pulls: Heavy or Light Weight?

What’s the deal with these? I understand they will help scapular retraction and generally help me with shoulder health (I can use the help) but if I load up enough weight to make it a challenge I end up pulling myself over.

I’m kinda wedging myself behind a bench at the knees now, just so I can do them and stay upright. Is this supposed to be a real light weight exercise and “feel the muscle” kind of thing or what?

You can do them on the seated cable rows. Will help with not pulling yourself off balance.

Are you at least using a split stance? Should help matters. You could also set a bench at a high incline in front of a cable station and do it like any other chest-supported row.

guys, is it not ok to use a high-ish pulley and lean back enough to get the ‘correct’ line of pull (if that description makes sense)? Did that yesterday, and it felt ok.

I used to do them in the cable crossover stand while sitting on a bench that I ‘secured’ with 45s, but my new gym is a little too crowded for that. Think I might try them on the seated cable row.

The amount of external rotation performed makes a huge difference to the weight that can be used.

If doing them as in the I,BB video where there is a lot of external rotation, I’d think that no matter how strong one is, being pulled off balance won’t be an issue.

If done the forearms staying about perpendicular to the body, then regardless of the pull being to the face the amount of weight that can be used can be quite substantial.

A while back I was doing them lying down on a bench with a plate on my chest, as I was using more than bodyweight on the stack.

That is not a testimony to my having any great strength, as unfortunately that is not the case, but rather an example that it’s possible, when using a style that has little external rotation, to use more weight than what would be possible in a standing position.

In this case, a technique allowing more weight doesn’t necessary mean a superior technique. Rather it is a differing exercise according to amount of external rotation.

[quote]Carl_ wrote:
guys, is it not ok to use a high-ish pulley and lean back enough to get the ‘correct’ line of pull (if that description makes sense)? Did that yesterday, and it felt ok.
[/quote]

Yea that’s somewhat worked for me. Yet another idea–one that takes less balance and that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to topple over backwards–is to do perform them like you would an inverted row. Get under a bar with your legs extended out in front of you, hands in a narrow grip on the bar overhead. Then, adjust yourself so that when you contract your arms your forehead meets your two hands holding the bar. Going this route seems to let me maintain better form than when I use a high pulley. On the high pulley you’ll end-up moving other body parts or kinking at the waist just to maintain balance.

Uhhh so how bout that cable row stack? If you’re seated you can do either horizontal high-weight face pull or lighter weight vertical forearm face pulls without any issues or body movement. It really is more of a high rep/get-a-sick-pump lift for pre/re hab. There are better items for growing the upper back.

-chris

Thanx yall, some pretty good suggestions here that I just hadn’t thought of.