Tip: Healthier Shoulders, Heavier Bench Press

Unlock your pressing strength and keep your shoulders feelin' good with this exercise.


Want to build big, healthy shoulders and a stronger bench press? Then you're probably doing face pulls. Now try this chest-supported variation. It's a more targeted movement that keeps your other muscles from helping.

The Chest-Supported Face Pull

Face pulls come in different forms and can be used for a variety of different purposes. You can't really go wrong with any of them. Their appeal is largely in their ability to train your shoulder external rotators without having to use a bunch of light-weight "rehab" exercises.

Poor rotator cuff strength, and balance between your internal and external rotators, can limit your pressing strength. Your body doesn't want to get stronger if it means compromising your joint stability through strengthening your "mirror muscles" without also strengthening the muscles you don't see.

Depending on the variation you use and the angle of your pull, face pulls target your rear delts, rhomboids, and different portions of your traps, alongside your neglected external rotators.

The Face Pull-Apart

The Kettlebell Face Pull

Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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