The one group of muscles involved with all types of upper-body lifting is your shoulders. You must ensure to train your shoulder well enough. You should know that vertical raises and presses are not the only way for you to train your shoulders. To get optimal training, you also need to do workouts involving horizontal presses. Here are a few face-pull alternatives that you can do almost anywhere!
When you do face pulls, you are not only working to improve the overall health of your shoulders, but you are also working on getting your rhomboids, mid-traps, and rear delts a lot more developed. However, if you do not have the proper equipment to train yourself to do face pulls, we have some really good face pull alternatives for you to try out!
Muscles Worked During Face Pulls
Before we get into the alternative workouts you can try doing instead of face pulls, let us look at which of your muscles are working when you do face pulls.
Face pulls are a simple compound exercise that involves pulling. While a lot of people compare it to rowing exercise and tend to think that it is a watered-down version of it, they are wrong. Not only do face pulls help you with the health of your shoulders, but it is also a great exercise to do if you want to make sure you have a good posture.
Most people assume face pulls are similar to exercises such as seated rows or lat pulldowns, but face pulls do not have anything to do with your lats. The main target of face pulls is the muscles that work to retract your shoulder’s girdle. The specific muscles that face pulls work are:
- Middle fibers of trapezius
- Posterior deltoids
Best Face Pull Alternatives
Now that you have more of an idea of face pulls as an exercise and know that the muscles are getting worked, here is a list of alternate exercises to try to get similar results to face pulls.
1. Band Pull Aparts
Doing face pulls with bands works as an easy and effective alternative to doing actual face pulls. In this case, doing band pull parts are a very convenient way for you to train your rhomboids. You do not need anything more than a resistance band to do this.
You can either choose to do band pull-aparts to break up your long sitting periods or if you want, you can even do these in the middle of your pushups or bench press sets.
How do you do it?
- Get a resistance band that comes with an overhand grip
- Make sure that your arms are shoulder-width apart from each other, and raise them in front of you to roughly level them with your shoulders
- Your shoulder blades need to be retracted, and your spine needs to be in a neutral position
- All you need to do now is pull apart the bands until your arms are fully extended to your sides. You also need to squeeze your rear delts
- You should hold the position for at least 2 seconds
- Get back to the initial position slowly
- Try to do at least 12 to 15 reps of this
Not only does this exercise train your rear delts, but it is also a great way of increasing the scapula’s stability and the strength of your shoulders.
2. Cross Cable Laterals
Cross-cable laterals are mainly focused on training your rear delts as well. Your rhomboids and mid-traps get a good workout out of this because this exercise involves shoulder abduction.
How to do it?
- Start at the lowest height with the handles of the cable pulley station
- Stand right in front of the cable pulley station and cross your arms with a handle in your hands. Your right hand holds the left hand, and your left hand holds the right handle
- You need to keep leaning forward with your torso until you have it somewhat perpendicular to the ground. Have your knees slightly bent, and make sure your spine is in a neutral position
- Using an arcing motion, pull the cables up till you have your arms by your side. Make sure to keep your arms straight and squeeze your rhomboids, mid-traps, and rear delts for a second
- Now slowly lower the handles while going back to the initial position with your arms crossed
- Repeat this for however many reps and sets that you are comfortable with
Doing cross-cable laterals allow your rear delts to be trained in a range of motion that is a bit longer than face pulls. This makes it an amazing alternative workout.
3. Upright Row with Resistance Bands
This exercise is a compound exercise that helps target different muscles such as the trapezius, side delts, and rear delts. You can have the muscles you are targeting under a constant state of stress since this workout is performed with the help of resistance bands.
How to do it?
- Take a resistance band and stand on it, but make sure you’re in the middle while holding the grips in each of your hands
- Ensure your feet stay hip-width apart
- Pull your shoulder blades back and bring your arms in front of you while holding the resistance bands
- Now, pull the bands to your chin while having your elbows pointed out. Make sure that your elbows stay at a higher level than your hands
- At this very point, you need to squeeze your traps and rear delts
- Return to the initial position slowly
- Perform around 12 reps in each set
Face pull-ups are hard to beat if you are trying to get a better posture and more stable and healthier shoulders in general. However, if you do them without proper equipment or do them too often, they will lose their potency. This is why your upper body workouts need to be fresh. With the face pull alternatives listed above, we hope your upper body workouts are more fun now!
You can also check: Shopping for a Resistance Band Set Here’s how to pick the right one