T Nation

Face Pulls & Nailing Form to Correct Scapular Issues


This thread looks like it has a bunch of good info, I just want to add (at a glance I didn’t see anything on these):

  1. HANG for 30 seconds. do this 3-5 times a day, try to work up to 60 sec hangs.

  2. Sleep WITHOUT a pillow. Try this for a week and see how you feel. You can alternate going back and forth with/without a pillow. This will help to bring your head back which is correct posture for the neck. This will help with your thoracic issues.


Do you have any tips on the hanging? ie overhand or underhand? what to do with scaps etc?

i tried the sleeping without a pillow but am more of a side sleeper, so feel like i need a pillow. the times i tried without a pillow i would fall asleep around 3am & wake up at 6 on my side

i was reading an Eric Cressey article & found these tables, some really good perspective on how most programs are so imbalanced , even though conventional wisdom would tell us they are balanced…


Overhand hang, just try to relax and let your forearms be the only muscles your body is using. Think of your lower traps, this (i think) is one of the few ways to stretch them. You may hear your back go CLUNK once or twice, thats traction and its good, letting some fluid back in between your vertebrae.

I fall asleep on my back, and i too end of on my side. When i get up to piss, i lay down on my side. It is awkward without a pillow, but it works for me. In your scenario, grab a pillow at 6am if you need. At least you got 3hrs in without a pillow. I’ve done the same thing where i grab a pillow later. It a little uncomfortable at first, but one you feel your neck improve during your waking day you’ll be motivated. My neck was feeling off the other day, last 2 nights ive gone without a pillow and it feels better. Like the front side is getting stretched and my head slides back. I find it’s and on and off thing, i use a pillow for 5 weeks then I go without a pillow for a few nights and repeat.

Another thing is lifting weights with your neck could help. Start with 5lbsx50 reps, lay down on a bench and hold the weight on the back of your head. My neck always feels good when im in the neck lifting routine. Again, this is more neck related stuff but it’s related to your thoracic spine, so it should help that a bit too.


Haven’t read all of the responses above so feel free to ignore this if it has already been covered.

I have had issues with my shoulder and, particularly, depressing my shoulder for years. I have been seeing a therapist and after trialling a number of different cues, we have seemingly hit on one that works. Now, every day, I do this primer and my shoulder health is gradually, but consistently improving.

In effect, place a resistance band over two points on a power rack and then stand perpendicular around one arm’s length away. Grab the band with an overhand grip and then seek to rotate your upper arm (thumb to up) as far as you can. I find that this light resistance (and it doesn’t have to be a heavy resistance band) helps me focus on engaging the right muscles so that my traps don’t dominate. Now that I am able to identify the “correct” muscles for the movement, I can do the primer without the need to set up in a power rack (you can regularly catch me at my desk going through the move).
It is important to not compromise your chest position or go into an anterior tilt and don’t just twist at the wrist or lower arm - it has to be driven from your upper arm.
Hope that this is helpful.


Appreciate the reply, any chance you have a video or picture of it? am finding it hard to visualise it.

are you talking about an external rotation of the humorous?


I don’t have a video to hand, but I’ll try and get one done.


THIS has cured all of my shoulder issues I have ever ran into. I usually end up with impingements because of how I sleep. Hanging has literally changed the game for me.

I thought you were only suppose to hang for 30 seconds at a time, up to 2 minutes a day. @carbiduis


I tried that band twisting move last night and it is THE TRUTH!

First I set the band at shoulder height, arms length away from my side. Then I put my Fat Gripz handle over the band so I had an awesome hand hold, almost like a dumbbell. In this “basic” position I could really crank on the external rotators, rotate my upper arm and elbow, extend my tricep, all the good stuff.

Then I lowered the band to just above waist height, and stood with my arm at like 45 degrees and practiced my serratus activation and externally rotation. This was the perfect “primer” for side delt raises. With that tightness and good position ingrained, Delt raises were almost pain free.

Then I set the band over my head, and stood “facing” it. With my arm out to the front and above my head, I could twist and crank on serratus/external rotators in an arm position similar to the middle of a skullcrusher. This was the perfect “primer” for PJR Pullovers, a laying tricep extension move. I was able to hit PR numbers in this exercise after the band twists.

From there, I put a bench under the band, and sat on the bench. Reaching up, I was in a position similar to the “top” of a dumbbell press. Twisting the handle allowed my to really feel great serratus/external rotation, plus really tight set up and overall “tightness” for the press. I just used the press machine, but I was able to get some smooth, painless overhead presses in after practicing with the overhead band twists.

Long story short, that band twisting move is really, really good.

I’m going to set the band at hip height in front of me and twist it before deadlifts, shrugs and rows. To really get proper position on these lifts.

I’m going to lay down on a bench underneath the band and practice laying serratus activation and external rotation with complete triceps extension before i bench press. I’m going to m8be the band up and incline the bench and practice before incline pressing.

I’m going to set the band at shoulder height in front of me and figure out serratus activation and external rotation in the setup or “bottom” of the overhead press.

Every lift, position, and angle!


Sounds pretty awesome & am glad you felt good with it :slight_smile:

i can’t visualise what you are doing though haha i think it’s my dumb brain, without photo or video i can’t put it all together. it’s sounds like you are getting into positions to have tension against external rotation ?

I did some chest supported rows last night & i had no pain & today i feel soreness in good places. i definitely think the stable scaps is a better all round approach than the retract pre pull

also found this cool video on lateral raises & external rotation


I suppose it says to work up to 30s hangs…but it was also written (I think) for older people. What happens at 31seconds that damages shoulders? I can’t imagine much. Too much of anything isn’t good, sure. But I have gone up to 1.5min when I started and it felt great. Maybe no more than 2 min? YMMV


I don’t know, I was just following what I read. I regularly do 30 seconds hangs, 2 mins a day, and its great. Maybe that was just for maintenance.


@steigs @FlatsFarmer are you talking something like this?

He shows a move that is like a pull apart but more of a rotation, this is what I pictured when I read the description.

If this is not it then this move is great any way!


That is a good video.

The move I’m talking about is more like this.

Horizontal Band, Horizontal Handle.

With handle at shoulder height, at arms length out to your side, overhand grip. (description and pics don’t match.)

Then turn the thumb up/engage serratus, just like in the mercy for a gladiator motion.

Really, really focus on a straight arm, rotation of the upper arm and good scap tilt as you twist.

Clockin' A Grip


already replied to other thread, i guess it was your journal? (am replying in email)


That’s it.


When this guy does a face pull you can see his shoulders shrug up, and the traps dominate the movement. The negative or eccentric is uncontrolled, and there is no tension on the scap stabilising muscles. The wrists never get above the elbows, so he’s not getting much external rotation in his shoulder. You can see him arch hard at the lower back and stick out his ribs to cheat. And still not get a full ROM.

Now check out the way the Master Blaster does it.

Clockin' A Grip

Was the first video done poorly on purpose? That was some deliberate retraction at the start.


The poor dude has such poor pelvic tilt and posture, poor scap control and trap dominance that he probably doesn’t even know he’s doing it. It looks like no big deal, but imagine what that kid will look like under barbells.

Retraction then depression is (incorrectly) cued Constantly. In face pulls, rows and everything else. It shows up as excessive trap shrug and heaving in rows. Making it 2 moves always messes it up. Proper scap tilt and posture from the start is what is important. Everything works together after that. Could you imagine if you pressed in that strange, 2 motion way?


the first guy was basically me till FlatsFarmer intervened!!

On the second vid, surely the bending of the wrists to that extreme is not good?? also didn’t realise poliquin was dead.


ps… when you do the thumbs up move, do you just point up till you pointing thumb to ceiling? i’ve found that i can rotate a little further & get my serratus to feel like it’s cramping, helps with me getting my mind connected. That combination of pelvis neutral, core locked & serratus turned on has changed my life, seriously.